From a cruise to cancer care: Following my passion to Fort Worth


I recently moved from Tulsa, Okla., to Fort Worth, Texas, to become the medical director of the soon-to-be-opened UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, located at the Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth. My passion for cancer care was sparked years ago by a chance encounter...on my honeymoon.

My wife and I married during my third year of medical school, and we took a South Caribbean cruise to celebrate. I took out student loans to get her a ring! We were assigned to eat at a certain table with other guests, so we found our seats and settled in for our first meal.

Then this bald couple came in and sat next to us – a bald man and a bald woman. The woman said she was in the middle of chemotherapy, but she was unable to get her treatment because her blood counts were too low. So, she and her husband decided to go on a cruise. My wife and I sat and talked with them that whole week, and we became good friends. I really enjoyed that time. I wanted to be their friend, to get to know them.

That was when I realized cancer care was my passion. It just clicked. We took the cruise around the same time I started seeing cancer patients, and during my residency I realized then that I wanted to focus on cancer care going forward. Now I’m excited to bring my passion to help patients in Fort Worth.

Specialized care in Fort Worth

Before I moved here, I thought Dallas-Fort Worth was one big city. Now that I’ve driven back and forth in the traffic, I realize how far apart they are. One of the many purposes of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth is that it allows patients to receive exactly the same care they would get in Dallas, without the trip.

Here at Moncrief Cancer Institute, we can present our patients’ cases to a large team of doctors who specialize in treating specific cancers. Our team consists of specialists in breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation oncology. Our physicians can talk to specialists here who see hundreds of cases every year, not just a few in a year, or even a lifetime. You can feel confident you’re getting the medical expertise you need.

The new facility will bring cancer research and clinical trials from UT Southwestern in Dallas to Fort Worth. New medications will be available to our patients that aren’t available to the general community. We provide an exercise area where chemotherapy patients can receive conditioning during and after their treatment. In addition, we have experts in nutrition, social work, psychology, and genetics, to name a few. We will continue to advocate for survivorship education and training for patients as they resume their daily routines after they complete therapy. This has been a strength of the Moncrief Cancer Institute for years.

Commitment to our community

When I decided to join the team at Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth, I gave up a big, important part of my life to move here and make a difference for somebody else.

My youngest daughter is a junior in high school, so she and my wife stayed behind in Tulsa so she could finish her senior year. I didn’t want to be “that dad” by disrupting her life to follow my passion. It was a huge sacrifice for me, my wife, and my daughter to give up that time together, but this is where I’m meant to be, and I am dedicated to this community.

More than a treatment facility

Moncrief Cancer Institute is equipped with a psychology and sociology team to host support groups. Our team delights in developing rapport with patients and their families and helping them navigate crisis situations.

I also want to establish community events in the building. A cancer center should not be just a sterile facility where patients are treated. It’s also the people our patients bond with, including their doctors and other patients. There is a tremendous amount of energy here, and I am very excited to care for cancer patients right here in Fort Worth.