“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” Sir William Osler, FRS, FRCP, known as the Father of Modern Medicine
Over a hundred years later, Osler’s famous quote still rings true. Your physician can be your lifeline to necessary care, family history, medical knowledge, and data-driven insights for your future.
We are proud to announce that Sema4’s Chief Medical Science Officer William K. Oh, M.D., who also practices part-time at Mount Sinai, has been named to New York Magazine’s “Top Doctor” list for 2021. For more than 20 years, New York Magazine has published the “Top Doctor” listing, a select subset of the Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. “Top Doctors” series. Castle Connolly, a research and information firm, surveys medical professional peers to identify exceptional providers in the area.
Dr. Oh, an internationally recognized medical oncologist, has over 25 years of clinical and translational research experience with a long history at major National Cancer Institute-designated centers. See his biography here. We sat down with Dr. Oh to talk about his current work, renowned career, and “Top Doctor” recognition:
Q: What does the recognition of “Top Doctor” mean to you?
Dr. Oh: It is very gratifying to be acknowledged by your peers as someone who is respected for their knowledge and quality of care. This recognition is validation not only for me but my team for the level of care we provide.
Q: Why did you become a doctor?
Dr. Oh: I became a doctor to heal and alleviate suffering. My focus turned to oncology early in my career and, as an oncologist, one is constantly learning new science and treatments and taking care of patients in a fast-paced environment. The ability to integrate knowledge, breakthrough science, and patient history is a big challenge. I look back on the “old days” of being a doctor when one would carry a little bag, go to someone’s house and comfort them with minimal offerings. Medicine is completely different now. Your doctor needs to be cutting-edge with new knowledge at their fingertips. Working at Sema4 allows me to be a part of an organization with a goal to deliver such information to providers at the point of care and integrate information to bring the highest level of personalized care to patients. I don’t want to lose sight of the humanistic doctors of the past, but we must combine humanity with new pioneering treatments for patients who are most vulnerable.
Q: What are some of the most memorable highlights of your career?
In terms of clinical prostate cancer care, several insights and specific treatments I have worked on are being utilized around the country and world. This accomplishment aligns with my goal to improve care not just in my practice but across the globe. I am also proud of building the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, where we achieved National Cancer Institute designation (a prestigious distinction based on scientific excellence, robust clinical research, and beneficial community impact).
Q: Are you currently working on any research you would like to share?
At Sema4, we are very research-driven. Research helps us create next generation algorithms for genomic and clinical data, ultimately giving providers better information and helping them to improve outcomes for their patients. I am currently involved in a 500-patient study to investigate how next generation genetic testing of both the tumor and inherited (or germline) will allow for the most comprehensive assessment of “what makes cancers tick.” We are doing this in a particularly vulnerable population of racial and ethnic minorities who are usually undertested with such precision oncology tests and correlating the results to their clinical data. In this study, we are taking next generation tools out of research and bringing those tools to practices where the patients are.
Q: As healthcare moves to data utilization for better outcomes, do you have any advice to offer to patients?
Dr. Oh: Patients are engaged and advocate for themselves more than ever. As an oncologist, I recommend asking a lot of questions, as well as getting a second opinion. Cancer can be an overwhelming diagnosis. Your doctor is your trusted, educated partner and should provide clear communication, compassion, and expertise. A patient should also expect a data-driven approach to their care, which is what we are partnering with Health Systems to deliver to oncologists to optimize cancer care.
Q: What advice would you give to a “Top Doctor” of the future?
Being a doctor has been a great honor and privilege for me. I chose oncology because it allows me to be a whole-person provider. When I started in the field, there were so few treatments, and I recognized it as a good space to challenge myself intellectually. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go in treating and curing advanced cancers. It is a great time to make substantial impacts in genomic research and bring together complex data to accelerate the pace of discovery.
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Sema4’s advanced analytics also drive our comprehensive precision oncology solutions. Learn more here. If you would like additional information about these solutions or our oncology research, please fill out the contact form below.