As doctors, we are trained to give advice, answer questions and offer treatment, yet sometimes that’s not all patients need. Sometimes they need a friend — someone to listen, someone to remind them that cancer doesn’t define who they are.”
Why do you practice oncology?
Oncology allows me to spend one-on-one time with patients while incorporating innovative research into what I’m doing each day. I have the privilege of standing by my patient's side, being their advocate as they navigate a difficult diagnosis. At the same time, I have the opportunity to explore my research interests and use these finding to improve care firsthand. There aren’t many areas of medicine where those two facets are so closely intertwined. I chose to specialize in treating lymphoma because I was inspired by the strides my mentors were making in this field. Lymphoma is a disease that in many cases can be cured, and there is a lot of satisfaction in being able to work toward that goal with my patients.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a hematologist-oncologist who specializes in the treatment of lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). My approach to care is based on candid, clear communication and teamwork. In addition to providing care, I am also an active clinical researcher. My research interests include testing new drug combinations to improve effectiveness and decrease toxicity. I also investigate risk factors that lead to lymphoma and complications that survivors of lymphoma can experience, such as secondary cancers. My aim is to improve their long-term quality of life.
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had a significant impact on you.
During my medical training, I met a patient with leukemia who was admitted to the hospital. He lived several hours away, and his family didn’t have the means to visit him. Over the course of a month, I saw him every day; we bonded as he went through treatment. At one point, he took a turn for the worse and ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU). Although he was under the care of a different team, I would still try to drop by and see him a few days a week. During those visits, he asked me if I could just sit, hold his hand and talk about anything not related to his cancer. So that’s what we did, and it had a profound effect on us both. As doctors, we are trained to give advice, answer questions and offer treatment, yet sometimes that’s not all patients need. Sometimes they need a friend — someone to listen, someone to remind them that cancer doesn’t define who they are. My patient in the ICU taught me that, and it’s made me a better doctor.
University of Rochester
Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Loma Linda University Health, Internal Medicine
University of California, Davis, Hematology-Oncology
Hematology, 2020; Oncology, 2020; Internal Medicine, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine