The Physician Spotlight series highlights members of the Doximity network. This week we interviewed Dr. Chandler Park, hematologist and oncologist in Louisville Kentucky. He is also a clinical professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a medical oncologist on the 'Continuing Medical Education' Faculty at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Dr. Park treats breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophagus cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and skin cancers. He is also one of the few physicians in Kentucky that is also board certified in Hematology. He treats patients with anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and lymphadenopathy. Most importantly, he believes it is a privilege and honor to help patients and loves taking care of them.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine, specifically hematology and oncology?
A: Well, it takes me back. I used to be a very frugal college student, and I remember when I was at the University of Illinois. I was talking to my parents and they pretty much told me, “you need to be financially responsible and start earning your keep.” So I went to the student center and looked for the different jobs that are available. The highest-paying job at the time was a certified nursing assistant. From there, I worked as a CNA and developed my love for patient care. I absolutely love taking care of people, and having this experience is what drove me to go to medical school to pursue a career in medicine.
After I became a physician, I had an internal medicine residency. During that period, I had the chance to work with many different kinds of patients, and that’s when I realized that my passion was for helping cancer patients; providing treatment, holding their hands, and building that emotional connection to truly care for them and their families. That’s what I love the most.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face day-to-day as an oncologist?
A: Great question. One of the toughest things I face every day as an oncologist is that every patient is so different. Whenever I treat a patient, it’s not just the patients I’m helping, but typically their whole family. So getting to know the patient, getting to know the family, their dynamics, their socioeconomic status, etc to learn everything about the patient and then provide a customizable treatment plan. I think that’s the toughest part of my job.
Specifically in oncology, there is so much new information. Last year alone, we had over 60 new FDA-approved cancer drugs. This means that these medications have never been used in the past, unless there was a clinical trial. With my patients, I have to be comfortable treating them with new medications and taking caution to potential side effects.
Side effect management is probably the toughest part of being a cancer doctor. You have to make sure to look over everything. Overall, I think it’s a great field because you have a lot of time to spend with each patient.
Q: How did you originally find out about Doximity, and why did you decide to sign up as a member?
A: I heard about Doximity through my colleagues. During my training, I had a chance to try out the app. I saw the benefits of using its features like Doximity Dialer and the medical newsfeed. So, I decided to download the software and use it myself.
Q: How does Doximity fit into your life day-to- day?
A: Well, I use Doximity every day. I probably use the Dialer feature the most. Doximity’s Dialer is a feature that allows me to communicate with my patients in a secure fashion, one-on-one, using my cellphone. It’s very important to me to communicate with my patients, whether it’s to go over their new test results, discuss their treatment plan, or to simply check in with them and see how they are doing. Communicating frequently with my patients helps build their trust and confidence in me as their doctor.
Q: What other features do you use?
A: I often use the “Find a Specialist” feature. Doximity is like a rolodex of physicians, which I can narrow down by location, specialty, etc. A recent example is when we had this new treatment called CAR-T cells. CAR-T cells is a treatment that’s used for a lot of our blood cancer patients, however not all physicians in the area provide this service. By logging onto my Doximity app, I can look up the physicians, look over their information on their Doximity profile, and do some more research to see if they can treat patients with CAR-T cells. Doximity makes physician referrals much easier and I can be confident in the doctors that I send my patients to.
Q: I read that you’ve done some research and presented at the leading cancer society meetings. Can you share you a little bit more about your studies?
A: Absolutely. I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of research in radiology and oncology. Some of the ways I let other physicians know about my studies is through Doximity. For example, I did a study on using PET scans for cancer patients with depression. We have found that a lot of patients with cancer have depression, which may not be that surprising. However, by using PET scans, we have found that certain areas of the brain light up differently on imaging studies that is more likely to be depression versus something called “chemo” brain.
My research was published on Doximity’s newsfeed, helping spread the word about the findings to other specialists across the country. Many physicians engaged with the post, asking me questions and discussing the findings. This has raised even more questions and driven me to do more clinical studies.Back to Blog