We’ve asked Caroline Hastings, M.D. to reflect on the 20+ years she has served patients in the Reno area.  For those of you who may not be aware, earlier this year Cure 4 The Kids Foundation opened a new location in Reno, housing both a Children’s Specialty Center and a Hemophilia Treatment Center!  (See photos from our opening on our flickr site here)

We could not have done it without our partnership alongside physicians such as Caroline Hastings and other members of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology practice, based at one of the Nation’s premier children’s hospitals–Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland.

Caroline Hastings, M.D. alongside Garrett Allen, his brother and mother during the Hemophilia Treatment Center open house in Reno.

You’ll typically find Dr. Hastings in our Reno office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Robert Raphael, M.D. and Joseph Torkildson, M.D., MBA, also based at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, see patients on Mondays. In addition, Dr. Hastings is conducting joint clinics focused on bleeding disorders with Dr. Bernstein on Fridays every two months or so. For information on the clinics, or to schedule an appointment with our Board Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology doctors in Reno call 775-657-8981.

And now, Dr Hastings …

Summer 1992. I took a new and exciting faculty position at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland (CHRCO) as a Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist and embarked on an amazing journey into the heart of the Reno community.  I remember clearly that my job description was handed to me on a piece of paper with 3 directives:

1.     Develop an expertise in acute leukemia and integrate into the national cooperative study group (then the Children’s Cancer Study Group, which evolved into the current Children’s Oncology Group);

2.     Become the Assistant Program Director for the Fellowship program, training Pediatricians in our specialty;

3.     and, establish an outreach clinic in Reno.

Summer 2012. Has it really been 20 years?  Here is a partial summary of how things have grown and prospered during that time. I was hired as the sixth faculty person in the division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology at CHRCO and it has now grown to 18 specialists! I am particularly pleased to have helped develop a state of the art Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant program while serving as the Medical Director of the Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant unit  at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. This program continues to serve patients in California and Nevada today.

This has helped me develop a specific interest and expertise in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) which led to another milestone–I wrote a book to assist physicians and nurses in training and treatment of these patients.  I’m also proud to say my experience has led me to become a leader in the specialty’s society, American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology (ASPHO) with a focus on education and professional development for fellows and junior faculty.  Treating the patients that I do, I can’t help but get involved in volunteering with organizations such as St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society as the Chair of a college scholarships for survivors of childhood cancer.

It’s been a busy time…and along the way my practice in Reno grew exponentially!  (not to mention my own family with 3 daughters…any of whom could have been born on a plane as I traveled until delivery!)

From one half day clinic a month (I would drive in and out the same day) to 3-4 full days a week seeing patients, performing procedures, and providing education.  Southwest Airlines has become family to me.  I am just as comfortable driving around Reno as I am in Oakland and many of my dear friends are local Northern Nevadans.  In 1992, there were only 12-14 physicians locally who served as a referral base, providing most of the primary care to children in Northern Nevada, this has grown to over 50 as the young population blossomed.  Originally embedded in a local Pediatric practice (Primary Pediatrics…a great group of physicians and nurses and staff!) I moved my practice to be hospital based until March 2012.

I was afforded an amazing opportunity to become part of a major organization, The Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, under the Cure 4 the Kids Foundation, who share a similar philosophy of care with me and my group at CHRCO.  They were a unique and successful business model in Las Vegas, bringing Pediatric sub-specialty physicians from major medical centers to an under-served area.   I just wanted to be as good a doctor I could be, give kids and their families the kind of treatment that would get if they traveled to a major medical center specializing in chronic and severe disease in children, and not have to be concerned about how to pay for it.  It couldn’t be more perfect!  I have finally found my home and from what I hear the patients and families have as well!

Thank you to all of you who have provided so much support and have graciously helped provide amazing care and support for many deserving children.  We have so much more to do and at least 20 more years to do it in!

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Shortly after the partnership with Cure 4 The Kids began, we sat down and talked to Dr. Hastings. You can see thatinterview here.