During my residency training, I had a mentor, Dr. Jerome Posner, who initially inspired my interest in neuro-oncology. Considered to be the father of this field, he saw a need for a specialty that combined the skills of a neurologist and an oncologist. It’s still a relatively small area of medicine, with only about 250 board-certified neuro-oncologists in the U.S. While my mentor’s dynamic personality and curiosity drew me to this specialty, it’s the patients and families that have kept me intrigued all these years. Diseases that impact the brain strike at the heart of who a person is as an individual. I focus on demystifying the brain and giving you and your loved ones the tools that you need to cope with your illness.
I bring a holistic perspective to care, taking into account who you are as a person as well as your relationships to your family and community. One of the most important things I can do is help you clarify your personal goals, because whatever treatments we pursue should be in service of those goals. I like to have in-depth discussions about what matters to you, both in the short and long term: for example, is it spending time with family at home during the holidays, getting to see a child graduate from high school or taking a planned trip abroad? I also spend a lot of time on education, showing you how to read a brain MRI scan and interpret a neurologic exam. Sharing this knowledge puts you in a better position to understand your symptoms and develop workarounds to improve your quality of life.
Brain and spinal cord cancers, neurologic complications of cancer, palliative care
Providing expert, compassionate neuro-oncology care has been the focus of my career for more than 30 years. I specialize in treating patients with primary brain tumors as well as cancers that have spread to the brain and spinal cord from other parts of the body. Triple-board certified in neurology, neuro-oncology and palliative care, I serve as the co-director of UW Medical Center’s Alvord Brain Tumor Center. SCCA and the Alvord Brain Tumor Center frequently collaborate on care, particularly for patients with primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma and those with cancers that have spread to the brain or spinal fluid.
In addition to working with patients, I am also an active researcher. My interests include clinical trials for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer), recurrent glioblastoma and primary (CNS) lymphoma.
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.
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.