The Vision of Jorge A. Garcia, MD
August 24, 2020
In this newly created position, Dr. Garcia will develop clinical programs and recruit and develop faculty for genitourinary, gastroenterology, breast, lung, head/neck, and melanoma/sarcoma cancer. He will manage clinical trials and mentor junior faculty in developing winning research proposals and organizing and executing efforts for solid tumor oncology research. As an internationally recognized clinician-scientist and leader in urologic cancers, Dr. Garcia possesses outstanding leadership skills to work collaboratively with our multi-disciplinary care teams. He will represent UH Seidman Cancer Center efforts both locally and nationally to lead the solid tumor oncology program to new heights.
What attracted you to join UH Seidman Cancer Center?
I see a significant potential for UH Seidman Cancer Center to become a nationally recognized cancer center through research and education while providing outstanding clinical and compassionate cancer care to our patients. I appreciate the opportunity to help on current transformational changes to enhance cancer programming across the enterprise.
What do you see as strengths of UH Seidman Cancer Center?
There are many strengths here but primarily:
- Our existing leadership and their clear vision for what we want to accomplish in the next several years. We have an amazing and talented group of physicians who are committed to providing the best well-rounded cancer care in the region. Their dedication, passion and commitment to our patients and our cancer programs are at the core of what we do in oncology.
- Our entire ancillary and supportive staff, who always think “patient first” and deliver equally outstanding care to these in need.
- We have one of the best cancer clinical trial units (CTU) in the country. Our Phase I research program is quite impressive and having the opportunity to make it even bigger and better will undoubtedly place UH Seidman Cancer Center as one of the best in the nation.
Why did you become an oncologist?
I was training to become a surgical oncologist, however during part of my late training I was exposed to cancer immunology research, and that got me hooked on cancer research. I recognized then that focusing on clinical cancer research was the best way to help those afflicted by this devastating disease. I want to offer the best and most compassionate care through research, discovery, innovation and education where patients are treated in a bio-psycho-social way.
How did you choose this specialty within oncology?
My experience in cancer immunology helped delineate areas in oncology where I could expand my translational and clinical research. Genitourinary medical oncology is fascinating from the perspective of the biology and new research opportunities. It also allowed me to see multiple tumors within the urinary tract system, including prostate, kidney, bladder and testicular cancers.
How has cancer treatment changed in your time in oncology?
We have become more focused in the biological aspects of the disease. We now have recognized that all tumors/patients are not the same and that one treatment does not fit all. Genomics have become routine and are now commonly used in the developmental therapeutics space. The revolution of immune check-point inhibitors and the ability to harness the immune system has also drastically changed the field of oncology.
From the clinical perspective, palliative and supportive care is now integrated with medical oncology, not at the end of one’s cancer journey but rather at the very beginning. Compelling evidence exists demonstrating significant improvement in physical, emotional and social quality of life for our patient population.
What are the most significant advancements you’ve witnessed in the treatment of solid tumors?
As above, genomics, precision oncology and immunotherapy has drastically revolutionized our field.
What do you say to patients who come to you with a cancer diagnosis? And what do you find they most need to hear?
All patients need to feel that we care about them and their families. They want to be listened to, they need to be educated and they need to be supported. They are afraid and most of the time still in shock after learning they have cancer.
Most patients don’t really want to hear statistics or data, while it may be relevant. They want to know that we are 100 percent committed to providing the best care possible. They want to have access to us and they want to know we are there for them.
Why should patients trust UH Seidman Cancer Center for their cancer care?
Patients should feel reassured that UH Seidman Cancer Center has local/regional/national/internationally recognized key opinion leaders in their field. Our approach includes multiple team members across different specialties – Multidisciplinary care and their commitment to provide outstanding clinical and compassionate care through research, education and innovation through clinical trials.
At UH Seidman Cancer Center, patients will have access to the latest technologies and available therapies in the field including genomics, precision oncology and immunotherapy.
What can physicians expect from you as Division Chief, Solid Tumor Oncology?
Integrity, respect, honesty and commitment. I will provide clarity, setting expectations for my division, involving faculty and providing opportunities for growth.
My overall interest and goal for the division is to maximize clinical and operational efficiency by adopting a disease-specific team approach, enhancing our clinical and translation research programs and to support and position our entire faculty to become nationally recognized leaders in their respective fields.