2014 Distinguished Alumni Award: Howard M. Sandler

Howard M. Sandler is Ronald H. Bloom Family Chair in Cancer Therapeutics and Professor and Chairman of Radiation Oncology at the Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He grew up in Willimantic, Conn., started attending UConn basketball games in the mid-1960s, attended Windham High School, and eventually received his undergraduate Honors degree (1978), master’s degree in physics (1991), and medical degree (1985) from the University of Connecticut.

After a one year medical internship at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Sandler completed specialty Radiation Oncology training in 1989 at the University of Pennsylvania. He was then recruited to the University of Michigan’s Department of Radiation Oncology, within the University of Michigan Medical School, where he rose through the academic ranks and ultimately served as Newman Family Professor of Radiation Oncology. He was also a member of the University of Michigan’s National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2008, after nearly twenty years at Ann Arbor, Dr. Sandler was recruited by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to the position of Chairman for the Department of Radiation Oncology. His mission was to transform the department into a leading academic radiation oncology organization.

Dr. Sandler’s research interests include prostate and other genitourinary tumors, as well as a broad range of subjects related to radiation oncology. He has received a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health and other major agencies to conduct research in these areas, and is a leader in developing technology that allows radiation beams to target prostate cancer tumors with greater accuracy and fewer side effects. As Chairman of the NCI-funded Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Genitourinary Cancer Committee since 1997, he has led or shaped a number of practice-changing national clinical trials. He has also written more than 230 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on prostate cancer and radiation therapy.

Dr. Sandler and his wife, Lili, live in Beverly Hills, Calif., and have two grown children and one young grandchild.