Mark A. O’Rourke, M.D.Clinical Assistant Professor
Medical Director, Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship
Who is Dr. O’Rourke?
Dr. O’Rourke is a medical oncology cancer specialist with the Prisma Health Upstate Cancer Institute. He
grew up in Santa Barbara, California and completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University. He
served in the U.S. Navy as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power School. He completed medical school
at UCLA and residency training at the Duke University Medical Center, where he went on to complete
fellowships in medical oncology and geriatrics. He has been a member of the medical staff at Greenville
Health System, now Prisma Health, since 1990.
Dr. O’Rourke’s practice is blood and cancer illnesses that affect adults. He cares for people living with the
full spectrum of cancers. He also participates in the Prisma Gastrointestinal Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic,
in which a multi-specialty team of physicians and nurses provide specialty evaluation and care for cancers
of the stomach, pancreas, bile ducts, liver, colon and rectum. He serves on the SWOG Cancer Research
Network Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee and participates in the development and conduct of national
and international research in gastrointestinal cancer.
Dr. O’Rourke is active in cancer clinical research and offers participation in National Cancer Institute (NCI)
clinical trials in the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) at the Prisma Health Upstate
Cancer Institute. He is also an investigator in the Institute for Translation Oncology (ITOR) clinical trials at
the Prisma HealthCancer Institute, where precision medicine, new drugs and immunotherapy are
developed. At a national level, he is an active investigator in the NCI research base, called the SWOG
Cancer Research Network, where he is a founding co-chair of the Palliative and End-of-Life Care
Committee. He also serves on the NCI Steering committee which reviews and recommends research
studies that address Symptom Control and Quality of Life.
Dr. O’Rourke is a national expert in the newly evolving field of cancer survivorship care, devoted to helping
cancer survivors regain their full physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health after cancer treatment.
He is also a practitioner of integrative oncology, which addresses the full range of a person’s experience
with cancer, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, mind-body therapies, social support, and mental and
spiritual health. His teams’ research at Prisma has shown benefits for cancer survivors of acupuncture,
mindfulness meditation and heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback.
Dr. O’Rourke has a particular interest in medical ethics and has served on the ethics committees of the
South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has taken
additional training and become board certified in palliative care medicine, which is a new specialty that
addresses symptom control, pain relief, communication, and coordination of care for seriously ill persons.
He worked with the SCMA to improve physician/patient communication, which led to legislation creating
the South Carolina Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) in 2019.
Dr. O’Rourke is a clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University School
of Health Research, and the UofSC School of Medicine Grenville and has been teaching medical students
and physicians in training for over three decades. In June 2020, Dr. O’Rourke received the UofSC School of
Medicine Greenville’s Outstanding Service Award. The award “recognizes individuals for their meaningful
service contributions to the advancement of their professions, the mission of the medical school and the
communities we serve.”
For more information, see his Curriculum Vitae.
How Dr. O’Rourke’s research is transforming health care
Dr. O’Rourke has worked with the South Carolina Medical Association Bioethics Committee to improve physician/patient communication, which led to legislation creating the South Carolina Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) in 2019. His teams’ research at Prisma has shown benefits for cancer survivors of acupuncture, mindfulness meditation and heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback. Dr. O’Rourke conducts research in measuring clinical work intensity of medical providers and correlating that clinical work intensity to clinician burnout, distress, hope, empath, communication and performance. At a national level, he is an active investigator in the NCI research base, called the SWOG Cancer Research Network, where since 2018, he has been a founding co-chair of the Palliative and End-of-Life Care Committee. This committee is developing clinical trials to improve delivery of palliative care to persons with advanced cancer, improve oncology provider/patient communication regarding serious illness and advance care planning.
Key Health Research Interest Areas
Integrative oncology and mind-body therapies; National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials in the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP); palliative care and quality of life cancer research; cancer care delivery research