Dr. Gardner is a dermatologist who treats patients with skin cancer.
I love being a dermatologist. It brings me great joy to help my patients with their skin issues. I believe it’s important to listen carefully to my patients to best understand their goals for skin health and from there, work together to come up with a treatment plan that sets them up for success. In addition to treating skin problems, I also focus on maintaining skin health with an eye on prevention, especially when it comes to skin cancer.
Melanoma, talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) for the treatment of recurrent melanoma, skin problems associated with immunotherapies or other cancer therapies, non-melanoma skin cancer, skin cancer prevention
- Assistant Professor, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- BS: Duke University
- MD: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
- Residency: Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania
- Fellowship: Cutaneous Oncology, University of Pennsylvania
Jennifer M. Gardner, MD, gravitated towards a career in medicine because it combined her love of science with her goals to help others improve their lives. During medical school, she became drawn to caring for cancer patients. She did basic science research in melanoma genetics and then opted to do a fellowship in cutaneous oncology at the University of Pennsylvania as part of her training in dermatology. She learned about treating cancers with immunotherapy and worked in the Pigmented Lesion Clinic at Penn. During her fellowship, she also solidified her interest in caring for patients and their families as they battled bravely against cancers that either originated in or affected their skin.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to work at the University of Washington and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where the resources for treating skin cancer are truly at the cutting edge of science and medicine," Dr. Gardner says. "I enjoy working as part of an interdisciplinary team to help patients get the best treatments for their skin cancer, should we need to cross that bridge together. The options for treating skin cancers have never been so promising – it’s a very hopeful and exciting time to help patients who are battling skin cancer, and I remain ever optimistic. I love doing my part, as a dermatologist."
Dr. Gardner has several hopes and expectations for the future related to skin cancer prevention and treatment. One is the banning of tanning beds for minors in all 50 states -- or even the banning of tanning beds altogether, as they have been shown to be carcinogenic and promote skin cancer, including melanoma. She's also hopeful that there will be a significant decrease in the number of melanoma cases over time due to increased prevention efforts starting in early childhood.
"I expect in the near future, we'll have better tools to diagnose melanoma and better predict prognosis by looking at the molecular level of an individual's skin cancer. I expect to see continued growth in the number of new therapies to treat advanced melanoma, especially with regard to immunotherapies. I also expect to see more commercially available assays that can help us understand which therapy would best treat an individual's melanoma. It is an exciting and hopeful time in the field of melanoma treatment, and with more work still to be done, I'm optimistic that options will continue to increase and improve for patients. I am an eternal optimist, but I hope to finally see the survival curves rise significantly, indicating more and more patients are winning the battle against melanoma."
Outside of the clinic, Dr. Gardner enjoys running, yoga, drawing, painting, photography, wandering around art museums, enjoying good food with good friends and trying to keep up with her kids and terrier. She also enjoys figuring out new ways to work smarter, not harder.