What factors influenced your decision to choose a career in hematology/oncology?
I have always enjoyed solving problems and thinking through situations where the answers are not evident right away. Hematology — particularly nonmalignant hematology — is a big diagnostic challenge that requires good detective work. The management of patients is difficult, due to the variety of diseases and the lack of guidelines.
You see patients of all ages, with both acute and chronic conditions, some of which can be cured and some only palliated. This makes for a good balance between the long-term relationships you establish with patients and the "quick" consult that is solved with one visit.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for your hematology/oncology fellowship training?
- The solid and well-rounded clinical focus, which balances the exposure to hematology (including benign hematology) and oncology very well
- The strong clinical lab that includes one of the best coagulation laboratories in the country
- The ability to work with internationally recognized specialists
- Availability of various research options
- Excellent mentorship
Having access to a variety of opportunities to develop skills as researchers, clinicians and teachers — all of which are supported and facilitated by the fellowship — are significant to the success of this program.
What aspects of Mayo Clinic's Hematology/Oncology Fellowship do you feel are unique?
As fellows, we have a lot of autonomy, while constantly feeling supported and guided by the staff who are experts in the field. This is key to the learning process and very important for developing the skills and confidence to practice independently.
The communications between providers who work together as a true multidisciplinary team, along with the ability to perform tests, and to access treatments and consultations promptly make for a very effective and unique patient-care experience. Mayo offers a strong platform to practice cutting-edge medicine of the highest quality.
What are your research interests, and what are some examples of the work you've done during fellowship?
I have studied and reported on the following topics, which were presented at the American Society of Hematology and are now awaiting publication:
- The patterns of practice for platelet function testing orders
- The value of adding platelet esoteric testing (platelet electron microscopy and flow cytometry) to increase the diagnostic sensitivity in patients with inherited platelet disorders
Work on the correlation between genotype and platelet functional and ultrastructural phenotype in the emerging field of familial platelet disorders with increased myeloid malignancy has been published in Blood Cancer Journal and in Platelets.
I have also presented studies on:
- Von Willebrand disease 1/2N compound heterozygotes at the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society meeting, which was also published in the British Journal of Haematology
- Laboratory-centered strategies to improve testing of factor IX mutations at the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Summit of North America
- Factor V Leiden at the Mayo Clinic Quality Conference
What is it like living in Rochester, Minnesota?
It's a small and well-organized town where you won't need to spend time stuck in traffic when running errands. This is important when you really don't have much time to begin with. People are friendly and there's a strong sense of community.
What are your plans after fellowship, and how do you envision your future?
I will be pursuing an academic career in benign hematology with a clinical focus in platelet disorders, which includes clinical research and clinical laboratory research in hemostasis.
Beyond developing this unique expertise, I would like to continue being involved in teaching and mentoring of medical students, residents and fellows.
Oct. 10, 2016