Melissa (Kah Poh) Loh
Medical School: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin
Residency: Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine
Why Did You Choose Your Field
What drew me into medicine was my fascination with the intricacy of the human body and the multifaceted art of prescribing the precise medicine for a given disease. Oncology is an amalgamation of art and science; the interplay between oncologists and patients is delicate, and an oncologist must combine skilled communication with a mastery of constantly advancing science. Oncology is also unique in the way it encompasses all organ systems and stages of diseases; this range and complexity of pathology is intriguing.
My ultimate passion is geriatric oncology as I realized during residency that geriatrics and oncology are closely related and that most cancer patients are over the age of 65. Assessing and caring for older patients with cancer has enlightened me both professionally and personally.
I came to the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) because of the ability for me to pursue training in hematology, oncology, and geriatrics. URMC has been one of the pioneers in geriatric oncology, evidently from the large expertise present in both Divisions, spanning all spectrums of clinical medicine, scientific research and medical education. The program is incredibly flexible in accommodating the fellows’ career goals. It is tailored to your needs.
There is no perfect fellowship program in the country. If you’re looking for a program that is flexible, with a balance of clinical training and research, URMC is the place to be. There is great camaraderie among the fellows and attendings. Fellow education is very important to the program, and the leadership is constantly looking for ways to improve the program.
My first year is primarily focusing on learning hematology and oncology. Given my strong research interest, my following two years are focused on doing research and going to classes (Master’s in Clinical Investigation).
Living In Rochester
Rochester may not be a big city, but it has everything you need. It is a great place to raise a family. Everything is very affordable. I do also love the weather!
My current research interests include three areas: 1) mobile health behavioral interventions (including exercise) for older patients with cancer, 2) decision-making process in older adults with acute myeloid leukemia, and 3) geriatric assessment (GA) and GA-driven interventions in hematologic malignancies. I am also interested in other areas of geriatric oncology such as barriers to transplant, polypharmacy, and communication.
My goal is to develop an academic clinical and research career in geriatric oncology with a focus in older patients with hematologic malignancies (specifically acute myeloid leukemia).
How Has This Program Prepared You For Your Future
I have very strong mentorships at URMC. I feel very prepared and confident going forward in terms of establishing my geriatric hematology practice and continuing my research in this population.