Each year the AYA Program invites future medical providers to join our team for the summer. This year Owen Bennion, who recently completed his first year at Tufts University School of Medicine, will join the AYA care team in clinic and participate in AYA-related research. We look forward to furthering Owen’s knowledge of age-appropriate survivorship care and watching him take that information with him into his clinical career.
In Owen’s own words, he shared why he was interested in joining the AYA team:
I first learned about the AYA program from Haylee Rosenblatt, a 2017 AYA summer scholar. When she described, in extremely enthusiastic terms, the distinctive, patient-centered approach of the AYA program, I immediately knew it was an opportunity I had to take. Working with Dr. Parsons and her team is a chance to see compassionate medicine at work, and to understand the impact that it can have in the life of a patient.
I am particularly interested in medicine that facilitates long-term relationships between the clinician and patient. Adolescent and young adult survivors of cancer are in a unique situation, having overcome one disease only to be confronted with other health challenges brought on by the very life-saving treatment they received. The longitudinal care that these survivors require can be complex and difficult to coordinate. The trusting relationship required to help a patient to successfully navigate these ongoing challenges is critical, and I think the AYA program illustrates this model splendidly.
Perhaps more than any other disease, I think cancer exemplifies the need for clinicians to treat not only a symptom or disease, but the patient as a whole. As a rapidly developing field, it highlights the importance of continued research into more effective, less destructive treatments. It also shows how healthcare is often an ongoing need, and not just a short-term fix for a simple problem. The combination of complex, developing medicine and profound humanity makes oncology an excellent area to develop skills and attitudes that will be essential during my career in medicine.
This summer, I hope to learn from the examples set by the amazing team members at the AYA program. I look forward to learning from the previous and current experiences of the survivors in the AYA clinic. I am also excited to help drive research into better understanding the effects of cancer treatment. I feel lucky to work with such wonderful, passionate people, and look forward to applying the lessons I learn to my future practice.
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