H. Joachim Deeg, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Bone marrow transplantation, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN)
Kindness, candor and openness: These qualities are the bedrock of our partnership.”
What do you enjoy about working for SCCA and its partner organizations?
I came to the United States in 1976 after medical school, and I thought I’d stay a year or two and then return to Germany. But life intervened, or as David Whyte, one of my favorite poets, says, “Ten years ago, I turned my face for a moment, and it became my life.” This has been a great place to work because I can combine my three loves: researching, mentoring and providing care. Two months out of the year, I see patients on the transplant service at SCCA, which sparks me to find even better approaches to treating disease. It’s a privilege to be here, and with that comes an obligation to strive for the best.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified oncologist with more than 40 years of experience treating patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other blood disorders. MDS and MPNs are characterized by abnormal production of blood-forming cells. Much of my research has focused on improving the understanding of these diseases and the treatment options. Some of my successes have included establishing bone marrow transplantation as a successful treatment for MDS and MPN as well as developing new therapies for acute graft-versus-host disease, a potentially life-threatening condition that can develop post-transplant. I also created the MDS/MPN clinical trial group at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to continue driving innovation and improving health outcomes for these diseases.
One of my subspecialties is the diagnosis and treatment of aplastic anemia, a rare, non-malignant condition where the bone marrow stops producing enough blood cells. My research has focused on fine-tuning various treatments for this condition, such as bone marrow and stem-cell transplantation, as well as immunosuppressive therapy. In addition to being a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, I also serve on the medical advisory board of the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation.
What do you want patients to know about working with you?
It’s all about teamwork. The treatment of cancer and bone marrow diseases is complicated. It requires close collaboration among providers from multiple disciplines — and you, the patient. We bring the most up-to-date information and our clinical expertise, but the decisions about treatment are ultimately yours to make. What I think you might appreciate most about me is my honesty. I never sugarcoat — I don’t think most people want that, anyway — but I do believe in being gentle, polite and receptive to your priorities.
University of Bonn School of Medicine
University of Rochester Genesee Hospital, Internal Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Oncology
Medical Oncology, 1979; Internal Medicine, 1976, American Board of Internal Medicine