While vacationing with her parents in another country when she was 10 years old, Eva Chalas, MD, developed a severe case of pyelonephritis, a type of urinary tract infection that affects the kidneys. Her hospital experience and interactions with pediatricians and nurses, along with a later stint volunteering at a hospital as a teenager, inspired Dr. Chalas to pursue a career in medicine.
Dr. Chalas, physician director at Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Winthrop Hospital, was recently named president-elect of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—the specialty’s leading professional organization dedicated to the improvement of women’s health.
Since 2017, Dr. Chalas has served as physician director at the cancer center at NYU Winthrop Hospital, where she leads a multidisciplinary team in enhancing services in the areas of cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. In all components of cancer care, including patient outcomes and cancer care delivery, Dr. Chalas works with chairs of clinical departments to implement multidisciplinary best-practice strategies.
With the completion of the full-asset merger of NYU Langone Health with NYU Winthrop Hospital, Dr. Chalas is working with leadership at both locations to ensure a seamless transition for both staff and patients.
“The physicians, staff, and patients here are very excited about the merger,” Dr. Chalas says. “We have already seen a lot of positive changes as well as increased intellectual exchanges with our colleagues and access to research trials, which only a National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center can provide.”
After receiving her medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine in 1981, Dr. Chalas completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at its medical center and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she also was an American Cancer Society fellow. She returned to Stony Brook in 1987 to join the faculty of the gynecologic oncology division, and served as director of the Carol Baldwin Breast Center from 1994 to 1997.
Dr. Chalas joined NYU Winthrop in 1998 as director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and professor of obstetrics and gynecology. In 2009, she became director of NYU Winthrop’s Clinical Cancer Service, where she was involved in overseeing the growth of the hospital’s cancer service to more than double its original clinical volume, helping with recruitment of other cancer specialists and working with administration on development of strategy for growth, and enhancing infrastructure to assist with care of patients.
Dr. Chalas specializes in treating women who have gynecologic cancer and complex gynecologic conditions and has been actively involved in clinical trials. She is currently principal investigator of a phase 2 trial investigating an immunotherapy vaccine called DPX-Survivac in combination with low-dose cyclophosphamide and pembrolizumab in people with selected advanced and recurrent solid tumors.
“I feel very strongly that you cannot deliver the best of care without participating in clinical research,” Dr. Chalas says.
Treating women who have gynecologic cancer provides Dr. Chalas with daily challenges, but she says she thrives on change. “I have a tremendous amount of satisfaction from my work. Anytime change occurs, I look for an opportunity to do something better or to have a better outcome,” Dr. Chalas says.