My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a teenager. Her doctors treated her like a number, and she felt so helpless as her cancer spread. I’ve always wondered if her situation would have turned out differently if she had received more personalized care. During her treatment, my mother painted a picture that hangs in my office today; in it, beneath swirling colors, the word “HELP” appears. I strive to answer that plea by developing more personalized ways for physicians to approach decision-making around treatment.
I recognize that your illness experience is unique. My goal is to provide care that is both evidence-based and highly tailored to your values, goals and preferences. In our interactions, I emphasize honest, open communication. I also take the time to explain the disease process and your treatment options in a straightforward way, so that you feel equipped to navigate your illness and share in the decision-making. Sometimes there is gold-standard data available (from randomized clinical trials) about which treatment to choose and when — and, more often, there is not. Choosing the right option is a complex process where we discuss the risks and potential benefits as well as the time and logistical issues involved.
Area of clinical practice
Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation
I specialize in providing blood and bone marrow transplants (BMTs) for patients with blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia and lymphoma. My research focuses on two main areas. The first is developing safer, more effective cellular immunotherapies to treat patients whose cancer has relapsed after BMT. For example, in one trial we use donor T cells (immune cells) that have been genetically modified with receptors to target leukemia. My second area of focus is developing what I call algorithm-informed treatment — using machine-learning methods to help guide decision-making. Many patients with cancer are treated with multiple therapies over long periods of time, but the optimal sequence of these therapies is often unclear. I’m exploring how to use data to devise highly personalized recommendations for treating blood cancers. In 2017, the American Journal of Epidemiology recognized a paper my colleagues and I wrote about algorithm-informed treatment as one of the year’s best in the field.
McGill Univesity School of Medicine
Duke University Medical Center, Internal Medicine
McMaster University, Hematology; University of Montreal, Hematopoietic cell transplantation
Hematology, 2009, 2019; Internal Medicine, 2006, 2016, American Board of Internal Medicine
MSc, McGill University School of Medicine
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.
The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.
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