Nandita Khera, M.D., M.P.H.

Consultant, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology

Associate Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

While I was in high school, our neighbor, a very cute 5-year-old girl, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. Helping her and her family through a long and hard journey of surgical and chemotherapy treatments and seeing firsthand how the treating physicians helped my neighbors navigate the emotional roller coaster was the major influence on my becoming an oncologist.

And, there was the ambition to be the first doctor in my family!

What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?

My Master of Public Health broadened my perspective of medicine and made me reflect on the role of health care delivery systems in overcoming challenges to providing patient-centered care. I envisioned that the Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars Program would help me build upon my past and current work and provide critical resources such as mentorship, access to collaborators and didactics to pursue research in the field.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

Financial hardship has emerged as an important psychosocial challenge for patients with cancer. This is my focus for projects as a Kern Scholar. My work involves examining multistakeholder perspectives about integration of discussions about familial financial distress due to cancer treatment into routine clinical workflows.

Tell us about your mentoring team.

My mentorship team comprises Joan M. Griffin, Ph.D., and Jeff A. Sloan, Ph.D., from Mayo Clinic and two external consultants, Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Syed Yousuf Zafar, M.D., at Duke University School of Medicine. All of my mentors provide me with critical feedback about my ideas and projects to help set priorities and refine my research agenda.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

I hope that my research will help improve understanding of different stakeholders' perspectives on best practices for assessing and managing financial burden arising from cancer treatment. Information from my projects will set the stage for feasible, empirically informed, tailored interventions to address challenges around this difficult issue.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

I chose Mayo because I was impressed by the commitment to the three shields: practice, research and education. Also, the opportunity to grow and develop my niche in a blood and marrow transplant program that was growing exponentially at the time was a major incentive to join.