St. John Earns Specialized STAR Program Certification for Cancer Survivorship Care


Tulsa, Okla., September 10, 2013 – St. John Health System announced today that it is the first health system in Oklahoma to earn STAR Program® certification from Massachusetts-based Oncology Rehab Partners.

STAR Program certification uniquely qualifies St. John to offer premium oncology rehabilitation and survivorship services to survivors who suffer from the debilitating side effects caused by treatments. More than 40 St. John healthcare specialists from 16 service areas received certification as STAR Program providers.

Physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and nurses will work together with patients on personalized rehabilitation plans to increase strength and energy, alleviate pain, and improve daily function and quality of life.  Additional program components include nutrition counseling, customized exercise programs, counseling and coordinated social services.

“St. John Health System pursued STAR Program certification because we recognized a critical need for comprehensive, post-acute cancer services throughout the state,” said David Pynn, St. John Health System president and chief executive officer. “Our certified team works together to address many of the functional limitations that might occur from cancer treatment.  Often, these limitations are initially overlooked or perceived by survivors’ as their ‘new normal.’ Through the STAR Program, we can address many of these limitations with a multidisciplinary, evidence-based and patient-centered approach.”

More than 13.6 million cancer survivors exist in the United States, according to the American Association for Cancer Research, and cancer treatment has dramatically increased the overall survival rate. However, the treatments can be very toxic and may cause significant pain, fatigue, forgetfulness, disability and reduction of quality of life for survivors.  Approximately 65-90 percent of the survivors patients would benefit from cancer rehabilitation but fewer than 30 percent receive it.1

STAR Program certification provides St. John with the tools needed to quickly and effectively implement an exceptional survivorship care plan, uniting specialists and the care needed to best serve cancer patients in a rehabilitative setting. These survivorship rehabilitation services are often covered by most health insurance providers.

“By becoming STAR Program-certified, St. John Health System has shown its commitment to helping survivors function at a higher level through cancer rehabilitation,” said Oncology Rehab Partners co-founder Julie Silver, MD, Harvard Medical School associate professor and cancer survivor.

For more information about the St. John STAR Program, certified providers and service locations, call 918-744-2476, e-mail or visit

About St. John Health System

The St. John Health System is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare system founded in 1926. The Health System owns or manages eight hospitals in northeastern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The system also includes primary care and multi-specialty physician group practices, and urgent care, kidney dialysis and senior living centers. St. John is sponsored by Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system. 

About the STAR Program

The STAR Program is a best practices multidisciplinary cancer rehabilitation service-line model that improves patient care. STAR Program certification provides healthcare facilities and clinicians with the tools (education,  training, evaluation and treatment protocols, and outcomes support) to develop and deliver state-of-the-art cancer rehabilitation services to survivors who suffer the side effects and after effects of treatments, whether they are in remission, living with cancer or cured. Learn more at

1Cheville AL, et al.  Prevalence and treatment patterns of physical impairments in patients with metastatic breast cancer.  J Clin Onc 2008.





Hear a recent interview with STAR Program founder Dr. Julie Silver on Tulsa's NPR radio by clicking HERE




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