When Dr. Mark C. Genesen arrived in the Coachella Valley in 1999, he found that local women had to forgo seeing a gynecologic cancer specialist if they weren’t willing to travel to another city. That meant a general gynecologist might need to call in a surgeon or urologist, depending on the case, followed by other physicians post-op.

“We previously had all these cooks in the kitchen. None of those specialists saw these issues on a regular basis, so it was suboptimal for the patients,” Genesen says.

With support from partners at renowned cancer facilities such as UCLA, City of Hope, and Scripps, Genesen brought specialized gynecology care to the valley. “This was a collaborative national effort about how to best prepare specialists to take care of these patients and how to provide them with the best cutting-edge treatment.”

After a move back East in 2008, Genesen returned to the valley last year to pick up where he left off, this time as part of the team at Eisenhower Health, where he often treats patients through robotic-assisted procedures. These laparoscopic surgeries, which can give surgeons greater precision, can be applied to a wider swath of patients who reap the benefits of less hospital and recovery time and discomfort.

Thanks to a new, expanded partnership with University of California San Diego Cancer Center, Genesen and others at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center are able to remotely present cases to UCSD’s collaborative tumor board.

“We now have their resources and can brainstorm together as well as get patients into clinical trials,” he says. “The evolution of medical care and cancer care is now patient-specific care and how to tailor an approach. It’s this recurrent theme of individualizing patient care that’s so exciting.”

VIDEO: Dr. Mark Genesen speaks about his oncology work at Eisenhower Heath.