What are your current research interests and/or what is a project you are currently working on?
I am in interested in how economic disparities influence cancer outcomes from early detection to affording treatment. I am currently working with Dr. Ramzi Salloum and others on a clinical trial pilot to explore how financial counselors in cooperative extension may be able to to help reduce the level of financial toxicity experienced by patients.
How did you end up going into medicine and/or why did you decide on your specialty?
I was inspired by this because of my grandfather who had both prostate and bone cancer. The treatment he needed had a cost of $1,200 per month which exceeded his monthly pension income at the time, they had little else to their name. I had been taking him to clinic appointments while working on my dissertation. When the new treatment was chosen, we all tried to help him pay for it, but after a month or so, it was not sustainable. He stopped taking it and died a few months later.
Who or what has inspired you to pursue this career?
It is my hope that we are able to provide support and solutions for families where their economic situation and stress inhibits their treatment and progress a step toward health equity. There are many reasons why families are in their financial situations, and I hope that we can make sure that we understand, diagnose, and treat financial toxicity for patients in the future.
We are among the first in the country to utilize cooperative extension financial counselors, and the area is of growing concern. I have met others around the country who are doing this work, we all have a shared passion for why this work matters.
What do you like to do outside of work?
To relax and unwind, I enjoy playing the guitar and scuba diving with my son to explore wrecks.