During medical training, I long debated about whether to go into oncology or infectious disease. Both presented the chance to improve global health, to develop meaningful long-term relationships with patients and to see families through a really challenging time. I am grateful to have carved out a niche where I can have an impact on both specialties. There are many tools currently available to help patients with cancer prevent and overcome infection, but there are also huge opportunities to improve treatment. We as a field are still writing that story, and it’s wonderful to be a part of that progress.
When it comes to dealing with infections in cancer care, there is often a lot of uncertainty. For example, there may be little data available on how best to treat a particular infection, or it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing a symptom like a fever. But even in the face of uncertainty, I don’t give up. I’m committed to walking through this experience with you every step of the way and adapting our approach to care as the situation evolves. I also understand that it can be difficult to process what’s happening in the moment when health complications occur. Sometimes questions pop up after our visit is over, so I encourage patients and families to reach out anytime to discuss a concern. I don’t treat sets of numbers or conditions — I treat people. I want every patient to understand what’s happening and to feel that they’re part of the decision-making process.
Infections in patients with cancer, HIV-associated malignancies
I am an infectious-disease specialist who focuses on treating people with cancer or other conditions that weaken the immune system. At Fred Hutch, I work with the bone marrow transplant team, helping to prevent, diagnose and manage infections for patients undergoing this form of treatment.
In addition to providing care, I serve as the medical director of the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI)/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Kampala, Uganda. The UCI-Fred Hutch collaboration aims to improve the prevention and treatment of cancers caused by infectious disease. My research is centered on HIV-associated malignancies such as Kaposi sarcoma, which is a leading cause of cancer death in Uganda. Another area of interest is better understanding the role of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria — germs that evade antibiotic medication — as a cause of infection in patients with cancer.
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.