600 Somerset Avenue
Windber PA, 15963 Breast Care
University of Michigan Medical School
Lenox Hill Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital
American Board of Surgery
1. What is your specialty?
I am a breast specialist. I began my career as a general surgeon in 1988 in Michigan. I worked at teaching hospitals for 20 years. There were no breast specialists or breast centers in those days, but as a general surgeon I did a lot of breast surgery and eventually my practice became 90% breast. I was the only female faculty at my teaching hospital and was the point person in my department for everything related to breast disease. I first started doing sentinel node biopsies in the 1990s, started the first multidisciplinary breast conference, helped to design and build a breast center in my hospital, and began doing breast ultrasounds in the office early on.
In 2003, I took a job at Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA in order to help them create their breast center. I’ve worked at a number of breast centers in Pennsylvania in the past. Since 2014, I’ve been at Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center. This has been my dream job and I am so glad I work here. Getting to work in a breast center like this with cutting edge equipment, wonderful staff, and strong community support is unparalleled.
2. Why did you want to become a physician?
I got into program where I obtained my Bachelor’s degree and my Doctor of Medicine (MD) in six years right out of high school. Originally, I thought I might be an internist or a missionary, but I ended up loving general surgery. I think my vocation is to be a healer, a physician. I love the anatomy of the human body and as a surgeon I enjoy going fixing my patients’ issues.
3. What is one aspect of the job that you find rewarding?
Breast disease is endlessly fascinating because the patients are all different. The type of cancer and particular situation is always unique. I enjoy building relationships with my patients, that often last years, and helping them through a breast cancer diagnosis.
4. In your opinion, what’s the future of your field?
Our job is to surgically clear out all the cancer or disease from the breast. Eventually, there may come a time when it’s no longer necessary to do breast surgery. However, there will still be procedures involved in diagnosing and treating breast cancer that we, as specialists, will likely continue to perform. I think working very closely with radiologists doing breast imaging and needle biopsies of abnormalities will continue to be important for many years to come.
Additionally, the incidence of breast cancer is rising and the number of people turning 50 or 60 every day in this country is going up exponentially as the baby boomers age. If anything, we are going to see a great increase in the number of cases of breast cancer in the next 20 years or so. Unfortunately we will not be out of a job anytime soon… unless we find a cure for breast cancer, which is always the hope.
5. What do you do to achieve work/life balance?
My family is quite small, just my mom and my son. I enjoy getting outside, gardening, music, and going to cultural events. I am very active in my church and with the Windber Business & Professional Women’s Club.
Selection of a health care provider is a personal choice. Most or all of the health care providers performing services in this Hospital are independent contractors who have privileges to practice at the Hospital but they are not Hospital employees, representatives or agents. This includes but is not limited to radiologists, pathologists, emergency physicians, anesthesiologists, hospitalists, surgeons and others. Independent contractors are responsible for their own actions and the Hospital is not liable for the acts or omissions of any such independent contractors.
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