When asked about City of Hope's strengths in treating ovarian cancer, Dr. Mark Wakabayashi mentions skilled surgeons, advanced chemotherapy and a commitment to patients' quality of life.
Dr. Wakabayashi understands "quality of life." Before coming to City of Hope in 2006, he was on staff at the Kapi'olani Medical Center in Honolulu and an award-winning instructor at the University of Hawai'i medical school. So why exchange trade winds and surf for Santa Anas and smog?
|Dr. Mark Wakabayashi was a doctor and award-winning professor in Hawai'i. But given the chance to come to City of Hope, he traded Honolulu for L.A. and has notlooked back.|
"I was never going to leave," he says with a laugh. "I was not looking to go anywhere."
Dr. Wakabayashi knew many doctors in Hawai'i who had trained at City of Hope. "They all spoke very highly of it," he says. "I wanted to see how this place works. What makes it so special."
When we were looking for a new head of gynecologic oncology, Dr. Wakabayashi jumped at the chance to see City of Hope up close. "I interviewed with 21 people," he says. "At the end, I realized I would love to work with every one of them.
"When they offered me the job, my wife and I knew we had a problem," he laughs.
Today, his family makes it back to Hawai'i every now and then, but Dr. Wakabayashi knows he is home. "It is absolutely great here," he says. "There is a real need for what we are doing. Our work is making a difference."