Shyamali Singhal, MD, PhD, is a cancer surgeon and the founder/director of the Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital. Among all the many talented physicians at El Camino Hospital, Singhal is arguably one of the most admired and respected. If it were not for the efforts of Singhal, the Cancer Center would not be what it is today.
After completing her fellowship in surgical oncology in 2005, Singhal was recruited by El Camino Hospital to start a cancer program with a unique focus on integrated care.
Singhal’s vision and her leadership has helped create an easy-to-navigate cancer center, where patients are treated a lot more like a family member than a medical record number. In this environment, all doctors, nurses and staff work hard to collaborate, coordinate and provide excellent care.
One aspect of the Center that is quite remarkable is its rigorous Tumor Board program, which Singhal created. Instead of having just one doctor’s opinion on complex cancer cases, Singhal has forged collaborations with the best academic cancer centers in the U.S., including UCSF, Stanford, the City of Hope National Medical Center and the University of Washington. With the establishment of a telemedicine high-definition system, expert oncologists can view medical data and tumor images online and discuss cases in real time. So patients don’t just get a second opinion, they get a third, and a fourth, and so on. It’s medical care at its best.
Since the Center’s opening, Singhal has brought everything offered at an academic medical center – access to clinical trials, the latest medical equipment and a network of specialists and sub-specialists – to the comforting environment of a local, community hospital. Patients at the Cancer Center not only get the best possible medical care available today, but they also get a level of personalized attention that often catches them by surprise – a cancer concierge, email/cell phone numbers for the oncologists (available on weekends and at night) and a staff that knows not only their names, but the names of their kids and the family pet. It’s a place where healing means not just surgery and chemotherapy, but support groups, art therapy, humor and caring, too.
So, for her vision of building a cancer program that combines the best of academic medicine with the friendliness of a small-town shop, Singhal deserves recognition as one of our community’s most exceptional healthcare heroes.