The newest member of the medical staff at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, (GHCI), Dr. Amy Calati, Medical Hematologist/Oncologist, was born and raised in Michigan. After earning her undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Michigan State University, she completed her residency at St. John’s Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi, where she served as chief resident and chief hematology/oncology fellow. She started at GHCI in September 2020 and with her zest and positive outlook, has made an impact on its culture, staff and patients.
Dr. Calati recently spoke to My City Magazine about her decision to join the field of oncology, her goals and medical philosophy.
MCM: Dr. C, first I would like to say thanks for taking the time to speak with us today and for bringing your expertise to Flint and Genesee County.
Dr. C: Thanks for having me! I am born and raised in Michigan, mostly from the Detroit area, so coming to Flint was a natural choice. Dr. Paul Adams at GHCI suggested I join the staff and I jumped at the chance.
MCM: We know about your educational voyage to your current profession as medical hematologist/oncologist at GHCI, but how did your voyage begin? What made you want to become a doctor and oncologist, specifically?
Dr. C: It was something I figured out very early. I come from a family of doctors, and growing up watching my father and uncles led me to want to take care of patients and help them live healthier lives. I chose oncology because I always thought there was something unique about the field. A lot of it is very difficult, especially when informing patients about a critical or difficult diagnosis; but, when I am able to cure the disease and help a person get their life back, it is all worth it. I chose hematology for the balance and challenge. As a hematologist, I get to deal with non-cancer and benign conditions. It keeps me on my toes and forces me to be up-to-date on all the latest research.
MCM: What is the hardest thing about your job?
Dr. C: Trying to help people diagnosed with a terminal illness is heartbreaking. Watching them come to the realization that it all is ending is very hard. I do my best to support them through the process every way I can.
MCM: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Dr. C: It means the world to be able to help people get through treatment successfully, get past their cancer and feel alive again. As an oncologist, the feeling is absolutely indescribable. I am always amazed by the resilience of my patients.
MCM: Do you have a recent story to share?
Dr. C: I just had a patient have a positive outcome after undergoing a cycle of chemotherapy to treat lymphoma. I was happy to assess that the treatment was working. Watching the cancer melt away is very rewarding – something we hope happens for all of our patients – and it keeps us going.
MCM: That’s amazing and great for the patient. Glad they will get through it. Cancer patients all face a tiring struggle back to health. How can their families and friends help support them?
Dr. C: It helps when loved ones notice and realize that support is one of the most important ways to help someone. They have the chance to make such a big difference in a person’s life. The emotional side of the sickness is crucial – you can help with transportation, visits and more. The family is so integral to a successful outcome and doctors appreciate every bit of their help.
MCM: What is your philosophy when it comes to your patients and their health?
Dr. C: I strive to do what is in their best interest. Every patient and case is unique and I always try to tailor treatment or therapy to their specific needs. The question is: what is the best treatment that will help this individual through their diagnosis?
MCM: How does the GHCI go above and beyond for its patients?
Dr. C: We have an amazing system in place. From triage to the nurses and doctors, we really work well together. We coordinate very well and when something needs attention, someone always speaks up so that no patient issues get missed. We can answer questions and administer treatment quickly when needed. The treatments and therapies at GHCI are comprehensive and designed to help a patient through their diagnosis and through recovery.
MCM: Just one more: what is your No. 1 piece of health advice?
Dr. C: Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about any health issue and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Knowledge is health and health is knowledge. Too many times, problems get worse when people don’t talk to their doctor about it. Your health is your own and the more you know about it, the better it will be.
Dr. Calati is now accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 810.762.8200. The Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute is located at 302 Kensington Ave., Suite #2, Flint.