Meet Barry Hamp: Leading Beebe's Cancer Care into the Next Generation
Learn more about Barry Hamp, his perspective on the significance of the expansion of the Tunnell Cancer Center, the thought and inspiration behind it, and what it means for its patients and the community.
We turn our attention to Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center and its oncology service line. We are excited for the anticipated greater accessibility to care for cancer patients in the south coastal region, as we embark upon designing and building an additional full-service Tunnell Cancer Center in Millville to meet the current needs. During this exciting time period, Barry Hamp, BS, MBA, serves at the helm of Tunnell Cancer Center is its new Executive Director. Mr. Hamp has gained the respect of the staff and patients as a thoughtful, compassionate, and forward-thinking leader with an authentic dedication to those he serves.
Q1: You were involved in other healthcare expansion projects. Briefly, what were they and what did you learn from these? How are these experiences helping with Tunnell Cancer Center’s expansion goals?
The two largest and most significant projects were both stand-alone specialty hospital builds. One was cardiac (The Indiana Heart Hospital) and one was cancer (Cancer Treatment Centers of America – Western Regional Medical Center). If I had to narrow the many lessons down to a couple of major lessons, I would say this: 1) Ask the patients what they value and 2) When you think you have it just the way you think it should be, walk away and come back later for another look. One of Murphy’s Laws states that when you think that everything is going your way, you have obviously overlooked something. So, back to Rule #1: Ask the patients.
The value of these major lessons is that during the design phase you will be surrounded by architects, engineers and all manner of building experts. While it is clear that they will have both invaluable experience and input, typically they are not patients or medical by training or practice. Not being patients, they will not be the people to tell me about positive and negative experiences in hospitals and other medical facilities. On our design team for Tunnell Cancer Center, we have patients from the Patient Advisory Council. Their input is every bit as valuable as that from the construction side.
Q2: What are the strengths of Tunnell Cancer Center?
What makes Tunnell Cancer Center what it is are the people who work here. Great entrances and beautiful lobbies are a great place to start. But, if there isn’t someone with a smile and a heart full of compassion, then it’s just another building. Anyone can do that. In the short time that I have been here, I have met more people here, patients and staff, who know where my little ole hometown in PA is than in the entirely of the rest of a long career. Talk about feeling like family! And, we try to do that for everyone. Not just anyone can do that. The people who I work with were the determining factor in my decision to apply for the permanent position; I can’t say that for every place I have worked. By the way, have you ever heard of Quarryville, PA?
Q3: Why would you encourage a cancer patient to seek treatment locally here at Tunnell Cancer Center, rather than traveling to a bigger metropolitan city for care?
The single biggest concern is support. All kinds of support: Family, friends, and community; your church or temple and all that they bring to a person’s support structure; your favorite bakery and the familiar faces of the people at the dry cleaners. All of this adds up to supporting the patient through the tough days. I guess the short version would be defined by a sense of family. There are places far away that provide good care just like we do here at Tunnell Cancer Center. All things being equal, would you rather face cancer in the middle of your home, or in an unknown city or somewhere far from home.
Q4: What inspires you? What do you enjoy the most of your role as Executive Director of Tunnell Cancer Center?
What inspires me is simple. Everything we do should follow one simple rule: “It is Always and Only about the patient”. Let’s face it, there is nothing about a cancer center that is ever on anyone’s bucket list. So when we talk about enhancing the patients’ experience, the list of ways to do this are virtually endless. We have to build these things into their experience, every opportunity, every day. While I enjoy the challenge of building programs, buildings, and teams to deliver care you would want for your mother or other family member, the thing I like most is visiting with patients. I believe that cancer patients are unique in their ability to inspire others, other patients, staff and people like me. I have often said that short of a company of Marines there is no other group of people with more courage than a group of cancer patients. Cancer patients inspire me and quite frankly, they are a big part of why I am no longer retired. I owe them for that.