Get to Know: Two UVA Community Oncologists Now Accepting New Patients

With three community oncology clinic locations, UVA Cancer Center offers advanced medical oncology and hematology care throughout the Commonwealth. Patients in and around Augusta, Charlottesville and Culpeper have easy access to highly skilled providers and the latest research-based treatment options close to home, not to mention the technology, clinical trials and more advanced capabilities of an academic medical center when needed.

Get to know two recently hired UVA Cancer Center community oncologists in the profiles below:

Johann Hsu, MD

Title: Hematologist/Oncologist
Clinic Location: UVA Cancer Center Pantops
Fellowships: Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Adult Hematology/Oncology, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Residency: Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Master’s of Public Health: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Medical Degree: Ross University

 

 

How long have you been practicing at UVA Cancer Center Pantops?

I’ve been at UVA for one year.

Why did you choose to specialize in oncology?

I find it to be a field that has the most rewarding patient-doctor relationship that you can have. I have personal experience with cancer in my family, so I think I have the ability to understand what patients and families are going through.

You participated in a T32 fellowship program during your time at UNC Chapel Hill. Can you discuss what you learned from that experience and how it has influenced your practice?

The T32 fellowship focuses on the use of complementary and alternative medicine, specifically studying how complementary alternatives can be incorporated into the care of oncology patients. We took a closer look at the alternatives patients want to try versus what is truly effective based on the evidence. The fellowship allowed me to become a better clinician overall and to seek out more evidence to support alternative therapies.

In my practice, I feel like I am open to what my patients are interested in trying. Often patients don’t share this with their doctors, but I make sure to ask what alternative things they are doing. We discuss the reasons why they are using an alternative therapy and I provide them with a better understanding of the science behind it to help them determine the best options for them.

What is your clinical focus?

I care for all blood disorders and cancer-related diagnoses in adults, but I have a specific interest in sarcoma, leukemia and lymphoma. I am also very interested in cancer survivorship and the transition of care for young adults. Young adults are under-represented typically, but I have experience caring for these patients, even beyond the cancer. They have lots of difficulties managing the after effects of cancer treatment. All cancer survivors want to be free from their diagnosis, but follow-up care is important to manage the social, mental and physical impacts of cancer treatment. So I make sure they’re coping and have appropriate medical follow-up.

What is unique about the UVA Cancer Center Pantops location?

One of the best parts of this community program is the outreach aspect. Our staff gets to know the patients, so the clinic has a family feel. The location is easily accessible – parking and check-in are simple. And all of this is bolstered by the fact that patients have access to all UVA has to offer, including expert opinions, clinical trials and cutting-edge care.

What is the best way for referring providers to collaborate with you?

I am very open to collaboration, whether a referring provider needs a second opinion or would like me to take over the care of complex patients. They can communicate with me by phone or email.

 

 

Cherif Abdelmalek, MD

Title: Hematologist/Oncologist
Clinic Location: UVA Cancer Center Augusta
Fellowship: Hematology/Oncology, Brookdale Hospital, Brooklyn, NY
Residency: Internal Medicine, Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
Medical School: University of Alexandria, Egypt

Your father and grandfather were both physicians. What did you learn from them that you have incorporated into your own practice?

One of the most important things I learned was that you have to treat the patient as a human being and not as a client. I work hard to build strong personal relationships with all of my patients. As the field of oncology grows and advances, there are now more options for treatment so we can cure more patients, extend their survival, improve the quality of their lives, help patients better deal with pain and other side effects and give them more hope.

What are some of the challenges of caring for this patient population?

It can be a challenge helping patients understand the nature of malignancies, to ensure they understand the status of their cancer and the goals of treatment. If it is a terminal cancer and the patient is not aware of the terminal diagnosis, that can be tough to deal with. It takes a skilled physician to deliver that kind of information and it requires a close relationship with the patient.

What is your clinical focus?

I see benign hematology patients and treat all solid cancers, including GI, GYN and genitourinary cancers.

What are the benefits of a community oncology practice like UVA Cancer Center Augusta?

We are part of the broader community and the outreach aspect of the care we provide is important. We care for patients from as far away as West Virginia. We have the benefit of engaging with primary care providers in our area to formulate a comprehensive care plan for our patients. And we have the full support of the University, which allows us to offer our patients access to the latest clinical trials and advanced treatments.

We focus on a patient-centered approach to care. The Augusta team is very friendly and our facility is very convenient for patients.

What tips can you share with providers who wish to refer a patient to your clinic?

We can usually see patients within 7 to 10 days, but if you have an urgent case, we are more than happy to speak over the phone to determine whether the patient should be seen in our clinic or referred to the University for inpatient care. Referring providers can reach us by phone or email, however phone is best for an urgent consult. Our direct number is 540.213.2220.

 

To refer a patient to UVA Cancer Center Pantops or UVA Cancer Center Augusta, call UVA Physician Direct at 800.552.3723.