Just last week, the new Parkview Cancer Institute welcomed its first patient.
Along with the Institute’s architecture and thoughtful design, it also represents a new era of cancer care in northeast Indiana—the kind of care that wraps its arms around the patient, eases fear, and offers hope using the most advanced procedures.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s the kind of care that attracts the nation’s best and brightest physicians.
Dr. Saurabh Gupta is one of those physicians.
From a mountainous region in northern India, Gupta joined Parkview Physicians Group –Gastroenterology in 2016 as an attending physician.
In 2017, he was so impressed by what he was seeing that he became Parkview’s first Advanced Interventional Endoscopy and Endoscopic Oncology Fellow.
Gupta, right, learns from Sharma, left.
While a fellow may seem like a simple addition to the staff roster, the qualifications are vast and specific, with most opportunities falling to academic medical centers. Requirements from the American Society for Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy include a minimum volume for certain procedures, institution-initiated published research, experience with sophisticated equipment, and more.
The society is as thorough and meticulous in its criteria as the young physicians sending in their fellowship applications for opportunities across the country, of which, there are only about 50.
So among fellows serving at institutions like Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and Brigham & Women’s, Gupta is serving a rising need right here in northeast Indiana.
“It was the sheer volume and advanced procedures being done here,” he says. “(Dr.) Neil (Sharma, president of the Parkview Cancer Institute,) has started so many things, and we are super busy. We do interventional inpatient as well as surgery, so the pace is pretty quick. It’s intense, but I like it. The more volume you do, the better you get.”
Observation is an important part of the training process.
Gupta often works side-by-side with Sharma. In a typical day, he observes with captive eyes, performs advanced procedures–on his own and in partnership with his mentor–and capitalizes on learning opportunities.
By working closely with Sharma, Gupta has gained experience through general GI procedures, inpatient services, ambulatory clinics, and research, in addition to garnering a first-hand education on all of Sharma’s advanced surgical techniques, like endoscopic suturing.
This is a technique where the procedure is done entirely through a scope, with no incision on the patient. While it minimizes discomfort for the person receiving care, it also requires maximum concentration and skill from the surgeon.
“The demand is growing, so I need to teach these advanced procedures,” Sharma says. “We get cases where people are preventing cancer, they have cancer, or they’ve had cancer. Gupta has a GI background, and he’s learning surgical endoscopy, so when we reach critical mass, the fact that I can hand off some of those cases, and we can work together on the more invasive procedures, is great. I feel like it’s important to pass that knowledge on. It’s good for our community.”
Gupta is proud to learn from Sharma, too.
“The best learn from the best, right?” he says. “Neil leads by example, which is easy to say and really hard to do. He does these high-risk procedures, and he’s just so good. He always has a plan; he’s always one step ahead.”
Gupta, left back, learns from the team at Parkview Physicians Group – Oncology.
Gupta’s fellowship will officially end next month when he’ll join Parkview as a full-time practicing physician with Parkview Physicians Group – Oncology.
When it comes to cancer care, our region is in good hands.
Full Disclosure: This article was written by Input Fort Wayne's sponsor Parkview Health.