Janis L. Abkowitz, MD
Intrigued by science and medicine connection and how patients benefit most
Dr. Janis Abkowitz run the Hematology Clinic since 1989—the perfect job for a person interested in the linking of science and medicine. Running a double life essentially as physician and medical researcher, Dr. Janis Abkowitz recalls her career starting in mathematics and basic science giving her the necessary background to handle the complex diagnostic dilemmas that come to the clinic. “A student from the 1960s and 70s, I am interested in science, anthropology, and politics,” says Abkowitz. “We’re very interactive to help define and solve patients’ problems.”
The Hematology Clinic sees people who have blood cancers and other blood-related problems. Some of the people Abkowitz sees have been her patients for 20 years.
“I’m pretty well liked by my patients, I think,” she says, smiling. “I’m attentive to who my patients are as people. I enjoy teaching them about their diseases so they become partners in their health-care decisions.”
Communication is key
Cancer knows no racial, ethnic, and economic boundaries, she says. Abkowitz has worked abroad and travels extensively, an experience she says that lends itself to providing high quality, appropriate care to people from different backgrounds and who can have different views of illness as well as a different perspective on life and death.
Abkowitz sees patients with a wide spectrum of hematologic problems, including leukemia, myelodysplasia, myeloproliferative disorders, myeloma, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and bleeding and clotting abnormalities. As a physician, Abkowitz enjoys solving difficult diagnostic problems, getting to know her patients and their families, and designing appropriate treatment strategies.
“It’s rewarding to work with people and their doctors,” she says. It is quite common for her to see patients from throughout the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) region.
The root of her motivation lies closest to the link between science and the practice of medicine, however – understanding how things work and the mechanisms of disease. Her laboratory research interests concern hematopoietic stem cells, understanding how they grow, and understanding how their differentiation fails in aplastic anemia and myelodysplasia. She also studies the molecular processes that control red cell development.
When she isn’t wearing the many hats her career demands, Abkowitz can be found playing basketball, backpacking in the western United States, or traveling with her family all over the world, often to developing countries. Her most recent excursion was five weeks in Madagascar, camping and trekking across the country. Before that, it was traveling over land from Kyrgyzstan, through western China, Tibet, and Nepal, to India and Sri Lanka.
Janis L. Abkowitz, MDDr. Abkowitz treats patients with multiple myeloma and other blood cancers.
Patient Care Philosophy:
I enjoy solving difficult diagnostic problems, getting to know my patients and their families, and designing appropriate treatment strategies.
- Hematology-Oncology Specialist
- Professor, Hematology Division, University of Washington School of Medicine
Red cell aplasia, Aplastic anemia and other marrow failure syndromes, MDS, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Polycythemia vera, Platelet disorders, Hemolysis, Myeloproliferative disorders
Education And Training
- Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 1972
- MD: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 1977
- Residency: Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 1977-1980
- Fellowship: Hematology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 1980-1983
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Abkowitz's journal articles.