What brought you to the field of survivorship?
I was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months after graduating medical school and starting my career as a physician. This dual lens of being a doctor and a patient became the bedrock of the way I approached my own practice with individual patients, and also the way I began to perceive the health care system as a whole.
I was fortunate enough to be treated at one of the top lymphoma centers by an oncology team that invented the standard of care for my disease. Treatment was grueling, but it was mostly straightforward and seamless.
Despite being a doctor at the hospital where I got care, I was at a loss when it came to predicting and accessing some of the things I would need in survivorship like mental health, nutrition, and exercise/physical rehabilitation. As a patient - I knew I was struggling, and as a doctor, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a more robust system in place. I decided to make survivorship a part of my professional career and spend my life designing a world class approach to fostering the health and well-being of survivors.
What excites you most about the future of survivorship?
I think the interdisciplinary approach that survivorship requires has formed this exciting and creative landscape. I am always learning so much from my colleagues in other fields and I am thrilled that there are so many different types of professionals working together to tackle the issues facing survivors - from athletic trainers to psycho-oncologists, nutritionists, musicians, artists, writers, physicians, and patient advocates. It’s such a cool space where people are learning from one another and rallying around this huge need.
What’s the best part of being part of the VivorCare team?
For me, the best thing about being a part of VivorCare is the opportunity to work with people I respect and adore while dreaming up interventions we really believe will help survivors progress in whatever stage of life they find themselves.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was a total nature/animal loving person growing up and always wanted to be a veterinarian. When I was about ten I realized this meant I would have to memorize the anatomy and physiology of nearly every kind of animal so I figured I should start studying. I made it through the optic system of birds before becoming overwhelmed. Becoming a human doctor felt like the next best thing.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?
Waking up early (yes - I am weird), drinking a latte and making breakfast with my husband while trying to prevent our toddler from writing on the walls or smushing our dog, Fig. Followed by a hike with that cast of characters in one of the beautiful local spots in the Bay Area - Half Moon Bay is my all time favorite.