An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
By Lisa O'Neill Hill | June 19, 2020
Ravi Salgia, M.D., Ph.D., a clinician scientist for more than 30 years, is an internationally renowned lung and thoracic cancer expert who serves as the Arthur & Rosie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology at City of Hope. He also leads the physician team at City of Hope ǀ Newport Beach.
 
Salgia’s patients describe him as a brilliant and innovative physician who exemplifies City of Hope’s hallmark compassionate care. He cares for his patients as if they were family.
 
“His ability to listen, to offer advice and to simply care has been testified by countless patients, and my sisters and I have experienced all of those same attributes in our father-child relationship,” said Nick Salgia, 23, Salgia’s son.
 
With Father’s Day approaching, Nick and his sisters, Sabrina, 28, and Meghan, 25, explained how their dad’s love of people, science and medicine has inspired them to follow his path. All three are pursuing careers in medicine — and all are working or have worked at City of Hope, where their mother Deborah also works. 
 
For the Salgia children, their father is an ideal mentor — not only as a world-renowned clinical and translational scientist, but more importantly as a model of ideal clinician-patient interactions.
 
“My dad’s patients and his work is so meaningful to him — it’s truly his passion,” said Sabrina Salgia, who just moved back home from Oakland, California, as she applies to medical school. “I look up to my dad in every sense, and he is my ultimate role model. I fell in love with medicine from an early age. I always say that I would be scared to be his medical student, and he laughs because he agrees. He expects excellence, compassion, dedication and growth with everything, academically or not.”
 
Sabrina completed her master’s degree in occupational therapy several years ago and worked at City of Hope in Duarte as an inpatient occupational therapist. She’ll start working at City of Hope again this month in a new role.
 
Professor and chair of the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, Salgia is always there for his family. When Sabrina was away at school and needed him, he would book the next ticket to support her, no matter where he was in the world.
 
For the Salgia family, helping people is in their DNA. Deborah Salgia met her husband when she was working as an occupational therapist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she specialized in helping people with AIDS and with cancer. Debbie is a patient navigator at City of Hope ǀ Newport Beach, and has been employed at City of Hope in Duarte for the last few years as a bereavement support navigator. She also volunteers in clinics and is a certified health and wellness coach interested in survivorship.  
 
Meghan, who is in her first year of medical school at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, spent two years completing research at City of Hope after college graduation. She moved back home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is continuing her education virtually while volunteering with her sister to help patients and staff at City of Hope.
 
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, she and her siblings witnessed their father’s dedication to his clinics and research. He’d leave for work at 6 a.m., and when he returned after a long day, he would always be sure to spend quality time with the family. Even when he was traveling for work, he would call multiple times a day to check on his family.
 
“Seeing the positive impact he made on his patients due to his kindness, compassion and love for science is what ultimately made me land on the career of a physician,” Meghan said. “I wanted to integrate my passion for science and medicine with the goal of helping others. My dad has had a profound impact on me, and I know his intelligence, hard work, passion, kindness and other wonderful traits have influenced not only me but the rest of our family, friends, patients and colleagues. He is truly a wonderful father and doctor.”
 
Added Sabrina: “My dad is a brilliant man, a compassionate doctor, a lovable and loving father, a dedicated husband and my best friend. It’s a beautiful thing that my whole family has or is working at City of Hope. Every day, I feel thankful and beyond blessed that I have such loving parents who give their everything to us and our community.”
 
Nick, who works at City of Hope as a clinical research assistant, will start medical school in August. Although he has not yet decided which medical specialty to pursue, he knows the kind of physician he wants to be.
 
“My goals as a physician are based on what I’ve learned from Dad — the pursuit of academic medicine and clinical research with the intention of bettering patient lives,” Nick said. “As he’s told us countless times, ‘Everything we do as doctors is for the patient.’ Whether that be the research or the clinical care, his lessons will carry with me throughout my career and throughout my life.”

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