Please describe a few of the key roles and responsibilities of your position.
As National Director of Gynecologic Oncology, I work to help ensure that Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) delivers cutting-edge, innovative care in the field of gynecologic oncology and maintains high quality in all of our work in the field. This effort sees me taking part in national quality-assurance activities, taking weekly calls to discuss best practices at all CTCA® hospitals, participating in weekly tumor board meetings and reviewing current research in journals. I also teach a college course, Introduction to Clinical Research, at Morehouse School of Medicine and am course director and teacher of several continuing medical education offerings for providers.
In addition, I am involved in recruiting new physicians to join our medical team at CTCA and with community presentations, and I often meet with media and our internal marketing team to make sure we are able to inform the public about innovations in gynecologic oncology.
I am also always actively researching topics in gynecologic oncology and writing on innovations in the field for publication and presentation at conferences and annual meetings. I have submitted nearly 20 abstracts to the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in the past year.
Are there some specific advances in gynecologic oncology that you feel are particularly exciting at this time?
I am engaged in several research projects that I’m excited about. Our sentinel node procedure is a patent-pending innovation that may improve the detection of uterine cancer metastases, a potentially significant advance.
In addition, I am involved in a first-in-human trial of an ovarian cancer screening protocol, testing a method to detect precancerous ovarian changes. If changes are found at this early stage, they could be treated with a simple outpatient surgery.
Finally, we are starting a randomized clinical trial to study the impact of cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
What brought you to Cancer Treatment Centers of America?
I temporarily took care of a CTCA patient who needed admission to her local emergency room (my former hospital). Through her eyes and my interactions with CTCA, I saw firsthand the difference CTCA can make. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet Maurie Markman, MD [President of Medicine and Science at CTCA], and I was impressed with his approach and his commitment to CTCA. From those two early interactions, I continued to learn more about CTCA and felt it would be a place I could really make a difference for patients.
What does a “typical” day look like for you at CTCA?
My days generally start at the hospital at 7 a.m., and any given day may include a variety of meetings, calls, writing, research, teaching and time with patients. My day doesn’t end until everyone else gets home and every patient is cared for.
What is most inspiring to you as you work with patients?
I am truly inspired by my patients’ bravery, the love they share with their families, the urgency of their need for care and the faith and trust they put in us—their care providers—and even more that I can’t begin to adequately describe.