This article originally appeared in invision, a magazine published for staff at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
The UMass Memorial Bone Marrow Transplant Program, the most comprehensive program of its kind in the region, has had its share of bragging rights over the past 15 years.
Hundreds of patients have chosen our program, which is just one of four in New England performing unrelated blood and marrow stem cell transplants for the treatment of a variety of cancers, blood disorders and autoimmune diseases. UMass Memorial is also one of two hospitals in Massachusetts offering umbilical cord blood donation and has collected nearly 2,000 units to date.
Referring physicians have taken notice, too. Since Rajneesh Nath, MD, became program director in 2008, referrals have doubled. "Trust from the referring hematology/oncology physician community is key to the success of our program," he said.
In addition to this accomplishment, Dr. Nath hopes to increase cord blood cell transplants, treat more multiple myeloma patients, provide more outpatient care, perform more transplants to older and sicker patients, and establish clinical trials.
For staff and patients, perhaps the main attraction of the program is its emphasis on family-centered care. Staff working in the eight-bed unit is proud of the patient and family relationships that form during patients' stays, which average two to four weeks. "Our patients become like family," said one staff member. "We try to assign the same nurses to patients as much as we can."