Ernest U. Conrad, MD, FACS
Dr. Chappie Conrad is one of the most accomplished physicians in his field. He is doing exactly what he’s always wanted to do – and that’s taking care of people.
“I started working as a scrub nurse in high school and college in Richmond, Virginia,” Conrad says. “I had a passion for medicine, and as an athlete in school, I knew I wanted to go into orthopedic surgery.”
After completing medical school at University of Virginia, Conrad went to New York City for his orthopedic training at the Hospital for Special Surgery and went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where chemotherapy was being used for the first time to treat sarcoma patients. He then served as a fellow in orthopedic oncology for Dr. William Enneking at the University of Florida, and also as a fellow in pediatric orthopedics for Dr. Mercer Rang at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, where he learned about multidisciplinary care.
“I found that I liked working with adults and children,” Conrad says. Specializing in sarcoma treatment gave Conrad the opportunity to work with both. He moved out to Seattle and University of Washington Medicine because, back then, using chemotherapy for sarcoma treatment was a new idea that he believed was important and wanted to explore more thoroughly.
In the years he has been with UW Medicine, he set the standards for the world in assessing risk and response in sarcoma patients using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and set the standards in the world for limb salvage surgery (skeletal bone in adults and children). Today he is “desperate to find new drugs for sarcoma therapy,” he says.
“We are seeing more patients with sarcoma now—greater than what we original estimated,” Conrad says. “It’s more difficult to see patients in the earliest stages because referrals are bogged down by insurance and finance issues. So, we end up seeing patients with more advanced, and more difficult to treat diseases.”
Sarcomas have 10 to 15 subtypes and some are harder than others to treat. They can occur anywhere in the body, from the leg, the ear, or the belly. Children account for only ten percent of all sarcoma cases and “in general do better than adults,” Conrad says. Children can tolerate the medications better, rebound quicker, and have less drug resistance. We want to find out why.”
Although sarcomas represent only 20,000 – 30,000 cases per year, there is great need for more research about these cancers, Conrad says. “Cancer research means better care, not the opposite. It’s the best care you can get, not the reverse.”
Conrad sees sarcoma patients on Tuesdays at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. When he isn’t working he devotes his time to his family.
Ernest U. Conrad, MD, FACSDr. Conrad is a nationally renown sarcoma expert. He believes a patient's positive outlook, along with family and community support, greatly affects how quickly a patient recovers and handles the challenges of cancer.
Patient Care Philosophy:
Aggressive care for aggressive tumors.
- Professor, Orthopedic & Sports Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Chairman of Pediatric Orthopedics, Seattle Children's
- Director, Sarcoma Service, UW Medical Center
- Director, Pediatric Bone Tumor Clinic, Seattle Children's
- Medical Director, Northwest Tissue Center
Sarcomas for adults and children
Education And Training
- University of Virginia Medical School, 1979
- Residencies: Roosevelt Hospital Internship and Residency, 7/79 - 6/81, the Hospital for Special Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, 7/81 - 6/84
- Fellowships: University of Florida College of Medicine, Orthopedic Oncology, 7/84 - 6/85, Hospitals for Sick Children, (Toronto) Pediatric Orthopedics, 7/85 - 6/86