As a summer intern at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, Harshil Matta was impressed with both the people and the technology. “The next generation medical and imaging equipment was amazing. And the people really impressed me … all of them were warm, intelligent and accepting. With all its science and technology, the Tri-Cities has a reputation for high caliber people. The TCCC exemplifies this.”
Harshil’s path to the TCCC was not a direct one, although it did start locally here in the Pacific Northwest. The Hanford High graduate (Class of 2009) did his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington where he explored many majors including art, history and business (“I did the whole spectrum of majors”). But a summer job as a scribe for physicians in the Emergency Room of Kadlec Regional Medical Center pulled him into science and, from there, into medicine.
“Working at the Cancer Center gave me hands on experience in doing medical research.” This research included studying the efficacy of community lung screening, working up a case study of a rare form of breast cancer and looking into geographical variations in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. “Dr. Guy Jones [TCCC radiation oncologist] and Gretchen Saunders [TCCC Nurse Navigator] got me started on these projects and gave me direction when I needed it. It was a great experience.”
He’s now a 2nd year student at Lincoln Memorial University’s Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. Although Harshil is still considering which medical specialty to pursue, his experience at the Cancer Center helped put radiology high on the list. “It’s a field of growing importance in every discipline of medicine.” Although happy in Tennessee, the one thing this former Falcon and Husky is certain of is a return to the Pacific Northwest.