• Cancer Care
  • Philanthropy

Dr. Max Coppes to Lead William N. Pennington Institute

August 03, 2022

doctor max coppes with pediatric patient

Max Coppes, M.D., Ph.D., MBA who has served as Nell J. Redfield Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNR Med) and pediatrician-in-chief at Renown Children’s Hospital for the last six years has announced he is stepping down to lead Renown’s Pennington Cancer Institute on a full-time basis. Dr. Coppes will continue to serve as Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at UNR Med.

“Our goal is to improve the health of Nevadans and reduce the burden of cancer,” said Thomas Graf, CEO of Renown Health. “Having Dr. Coppes as our clinical leader for the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute on a full-time basis reflects Renown and UNR Med’s commitment to increase access to cancer care, foster a deeper partnership with UNR Med on clinical trials, collaborate on cancer research opportunities, and enhance medical education and post-graduate training. We are thrilled to have Dr. Max leading this important effort.”

Today’s announcement comes two weeks after the William N. Pennington Foundation announced a $15.5 million gift to the Renown Health Foundation to help establish the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown.

Dr. Coppes, a pediatric oncologist by training, has experience in leading large-scale, nationally recognized academic cancer center teams in both the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Coppes came to Reno in 2014 from the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, where he served as president with responsibility for six regional cancer centers and two cancer research centers. He was an attending physician at BC Children's Hospital and a professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. During his career, Coppes served as senior vice president at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and held positions at several prestigious facilities in the U.S. and Canada including The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Georgetown University, The National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic.

Since 2016, Dr. Coppes has served in the joint leadership role as the Nell J. Redfield Chair of Pediatrics at UNR Med and pediatrician-in-chief at Renown Children's Hospital, a position made possible through generous philanthropic support from the Nell J. Redfield Foundation along with investments by Renown Health and the School of Medicine. In 2016, the Pennington Foundation recognized the need for enhanced care and expertise for pediatrics and donated $7.5 million to Renown Children’s Hospital to establish the William N. Pennington Fund for Advanced Pediatric Care.

“As the Nell J. Redfield Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at Renown Children's Hospital, Dr. Coppes blazed the trail for the integration of academic and clinical missions at UNR Med and Renown. He demonstrated visionary leadership and undoubtedly will bring the same energy and vision as the clinical leader for the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute,” said Melissa Piasecki, Acting Dean of UNR Med and Chief Academic Officer for Renown Health.

“Dr. Max Coppes is an extraordinary leader. In the last six years he has done much to elevate the standard of pediatric care available in our community,” said Sy Johnson, President and Chief of Staff of Renown. “Thanks to Dr. Coppes’ leadership, the generosity of the Pennington gift and other donors, 100,000 area children now have access to pediatric specialists and contemporary healthcare services at the region’s only children’s hospital. Now, less than 3% of all pediatric patients and their families need to leave the area for specialty care. That is an incredible accomplishment.” Significant achievements made under Dr. Coppes leadership include:

  • Advancing Renown Children’s Hospital, the only dedicated children’s hospital in northern Nevada, offering programs and services for families from a 100,000 square mile area, from Sacramento, CA to Salt Lake City, Utah. Renown Children’s provides the area’s only Children’s Emergency Room, Pediatric ICU (PICU), children’s imaging center and the largest neonatal ICU (NICU), a level III intensive care unit. Under his leadership, the following service lines were established; adolescent medicine, pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric nephrology, pediatric infectious diseases, pediatric ophthalmology, pediatric orthopedic surgery, pediatric cleft and craniofacial surgery, pediatric urology, pediatric dentistry, and pediatric emergency medicine.
  • Hiring and supporting a team of over 40 pediatric physician specialists. These clinicians provide 30,000 patient visits annually, offering an exceptional level of care to help families. As a testimony to the community’s confidence in the care provided, market share for pediatric services at Renown Health is now close to 90%.
  • Renown’s membership in the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which gives local pediatric cancer patients access to the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood cancer and most leading-edge treatments.
  • Application to establish a 3-year accredited (by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) pediatric residency program in Reno. If approved in September 2022, Renown Health and UNR Med will start training four new pediatricians each year starting in July 2023.
  • Successful application to the Nevada Governor's Office of Science, Innovation & Technology to receive financial support to fund a new Graduate Medical Education program. Renown Children’s Hospital was awarded $ 870,433 for the new pediatric residency program.
  • New construction of an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with increased capacity to 49 bassinets, an expanded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with increased capacity to 16 private patient and family rooms, and a new Renown Children's Hospital in-patient floor with increased capacity for 38 private patient and family rooms for a total capacity of 58 pediatric beds on Level 4 of Renown Regional Medical Center.

In 2021, Dr. Coppes was named the Healthcare Hero Community Partner by Northern Nevada Business Magazine.