VCOM 2022 Annual Report

Bringing Cancer Care Closer to Home

A ndrew Fintel, DO, a hematologist oncologist and 2010 VCOM graduate, is making a difference throughout rural southwest Virginia. He works at Blue Ridge Cancer Center, delivering a personal

professors, and there is a wonderful sense of community at VCOM. The facilities are first-class and state-of-the art, and the College provides outstanding core hospital and educational clinical opportunities for students to preform rotations."

touch and compassionate care to patients and their families, thus enabling them to be treated closer to their homes. Dr. Fintel grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, with a physician father, so he was introduced to the patient-physician relationship at a very young age, and that ultimately inspired his passion for medicine. “When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, probably from the age of five years old," he said. His father often took him along on weekends during rotations. "I enjoyed witnessing the care and compassion he had with his patients, and at age 16, I began working in the emergency room of a local hospital,” remembered Dr. Fintel.

One of the things Dr. Fintel enjoys most about being an oncologist is the personal relationships he has with his patients. “With cancer, you help guide your patients throughout their journey," he said. "Often you are treating patients making life and death decisions. I feel that it is an honor, and it should be carried out with respect, care and compassion. As an oncologist, I am able to get to truly know my patients and help them through a time that is likely one of the most difficult and vulnerable in their lives." Dr. Fintel said that he was inspired to return to and practice in the region because he grew up in Roanoke and knew it was a wonderful place to raise a family. In addition

Dr. Fintel was in the fourth class of physicians to graduate from the VCOM-Virginia campus. “There is no question VCOM prepared me well to become a physician specializing in oncology," he said, when asked about his experience. "I had excellent In 2019, 64% of U.S. counties had no oncology care providers whose primary practice site was within that county, and 12% had no oncologists in the adjacent counties, according to an analysis in Journal of Oncology Practice.

to being a beautiful place to live, he said that it also offered great educational opportunities for his children. "In terms of my practice, I was very familiar with and have high respect for my colleagues at the Cancer Center,” Dr. Fintel said. He also pointed out that his career enabled him to work closely with and train current medical students pursing their medical degrees. In addition to a wonderful educational experience at VCOM, Dr. Fintel met his wife, Amy Vizcarra, DO, during their first year of medical school. Dr. Vizcarra is a hospitalist who has practiced in the Roanoke Valley.


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