Cancer and Organ Transplant
The decision to undergo a stem cell transplant is a big one. For many patients, it’s one of the most intense medical treatments they will ever experience, and it may be their only chance of survival. I respect the time, thought and emotional energy that goes into choosing a transplant and then seeing the process through. One of the reasons I love going to work each morning is that I have the opportunity to live out my mantra: Make a positive difference in at least one person’s life every day. Sometimes that difference is big, like being able to tell a patient that their treatment has been successful, and sometimes it’s small — relieving someone’s headache or nausea or even just sharing serious news in a sensitive, caring way.
Cancer care isn’t just about finding the right medication or therapy; it’s equally important to consider how that medication or therapy will affect your life. I put a lot of thought into plotting the best course of treatment for each person, which depends on a variety of factors, such as your type of cancer, your goals for treatment, the state of your health and your level of support. I’m very honest and open in my communication with you. I try to use a story-like approach to explain what’s happening because it makes it easier to retain information and participate in decisions about your care.
Area of Clinical practice
Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Hematologic Malignancies
I specialize in treating patients who have hematological malignancies, such as leukemia, with blood stem cell transplantation. My expertise includes providing post-transplant care for patients with very complex transplant-related complications. At Fred Hutch, I serve as the medical director of apheresis and cellular therapy. In this role, I oversee the safe collection and processing of stem cells as well as other cellular therapy products. I’m also directly involved in procuring bone marrow donations. In addition to working with patients, I study how to improve the donor experience during stem cell collection. I’m also investigating how extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) — a form of light therapy — can be used to treat patients with graft-versus-host disease, a potentially life-threatening condition that can develop after a stem cell transplant. I serve as the chair of the ECP subcommittee for the American Society of Apheresis.
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, United Kingdom, Internal Medicine
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, United Kingdom, Hematology; Nottingham University Hospital, United Kingdom, Hematology; Lincoln County Hospital, Hematology
Internship, Colchester General Hospital, General Internal Medicine; Internship, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, Surgery
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Ali Al-Johani Award
Dr. Connelly-Smith received the 2019 Ali Al-Johani Award, which recognizes excellence in clinical patient care.
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dieticians, 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.