On what she does:
“I’m a breast surgical oncologist. To prepare for this field, I completed five years as a general surgery resident and then specialized in breast cancer care during my fellowship here in Pittsburgh. That experience trained me to care for all forms of breast cancer. I treat patients with benign breast disease as well as those with high-risk conditions, such as genetic mutations or strong family histories of breast cancer.”
In her spare time:
“I have three kids, so generally what they’re doing, I’m doing! I also like to go running, spend time with friends, and I’m an avid college football fan.”
On what made her want to become a surgeon:
“Growing up I liked math and science, and I was fairly detail oriented. I knew I wanted to work with people and do something with my hands. In college, I majored in psychology and minored in women’s studies. I thought I would focus on women’s health in medical school, but not necessarily surgery. Then I began working with a breast surgeon who ultimately became my mentor. I discovered that I loved his work — from the operating room to the clinic — and most of all, I admired the relationships he developed with his patients.”
On what she loves most about her job:
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“First and foremost, I love helping my patients. I feel honored and privileged to be able to help them through this difficult time in their life. Breast cancer is a challenging field, and new research is constantly being done on every aspect of cancer care. We want to do the best for our patients. We want to give them the best medicines, perform the best surgery, and do all that we can for them.
“Breast cancer receives a great deal of attention, which makes reading journal articles every week really important for me. I continue to learn every day.”
On what she wants her patients to know:
“I treat my patients like family members. I try to put myself in their position and ask, ‘How would I want to receive this information?’
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“If I have a result and I know my patient is at home waiting, I tell them as soon as possible, because that’s how I’d like to be treated. And I’ll often pick up the phone for a quick call to ask, ‘How is everything going? Do you have any questions? Are you confused by anything?’
“I would say communication is my strong suit and the aspect of care that I pride myself in most, because I try to put myself in the patient’s shoes.”
A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.