Meet the Doctor: Minal Dhamankar, MD
Minal Dhamankar, MD, is a medical oncologist at Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia. She works in the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, treating cancer and blood disorders.
We recently talked with Dr. Dhamankar about her career, interests, and oncology at Einstein.
Perspectives: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
Dr. Dhamankar: I have always wanted to be a doctor. I like to help people and I like science. Medicine is a field that allows me to do both.
Perspectives: Can you tell us about your education background?
Dr. Dhamankar: I was born and raised in India and I went to medical school there. After moving to the United States, I did my internal medicine training and my Hematology and Oncology Fellowship at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood.
Perspectives: How did you decide to pursue your specialty in oncology?
Dr. Dhamankar: During my training at Lankenau, I took care of a young patient with lymphoma and I developed a bond with her. The fact that I was able to help her at the most vulnerable phase of her life was very rewarding for me. This stirred my interest in this field. I did more oncology rotations during my residency. I was fascinated by the science of oncology, the research and discoveries that are enabling cancer patients to live longer and even be cured of some cancers. I liked the constant intellectual stimulus this field posed and the rewards of being able to help patients in their most difficult times. This reaffirmed my affinity towards this field and I decided to pursue it.
Perspectives: What drew you to Einstein?
Dr. Dhamankar: Einstein is a great health care system with a robust academic program. While serving the community, it lends the opportunity to teach medical students and residents. This is a fulfilling experience for me. There are committed doctors here and there is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary teamwork, leading to better patient care. This is what has attracted me to Einstein.
Perspectives: What are your clinical interests?
Dr. Dhamankar: I treat all types of cancers and blood disorders.
Perspectives: Why should patients choose Einstein for oncology?
Dr. Dhamankar: At Einstein, our multidisciplinary teams offer state-of-the-art patient care with access to clinical trials close to home for our patients. Our motto is to be there for them and help them through their entire journey, right from their diagnosis, treatment, and symptom management, to providing psycho-social support when needed. We have a great group of medical oncologists who are passionate, who are up-to-date with current knowledge and are committed to taking excellent care of patients. We are supported by a team of radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists who share our vision of achieving the best possible outcomes in a given situation: cure when it is possible and, if not, prolong life and make it comfortable. We have well trained supporting staff, nurses, navigators, and social workers who enable us to provide complete care for our patients.
Perspectives: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a doctor?
Dr. Dhamankar: In oncology, when you see that your treatment has worked and you see that the patient’s cancer is cured, that they are going to live a longer, comfortable life, that’s very rewarding. The ability to apply scientific knowledge and discoveries for betterment of lives of patients is the most rewarding part of being a doctor.
Perspectives: What are your interests outside of work?
Dr. Dhamankar: I like watercolor painting in my free time. I also like reading, traveling, spending time with my family, and cooking.
Perspectives: Do you have a favorite book?
Dr. Dhamankar: I like Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. It is about two physicians, born and raised in a third world country, who move to the United States. It depicts the differences in the health care system in different parts of world in a story format.
Perspectives: Do you have a favorite movie?
Dr. Dhamankar: I like watching movies, especially Bollywood movies from India. Of American movies, my favorite is the Harry Potter series.
Perspectives: Do you have an early role model?
Dr. Dhamankar: My parents are my role models. They are simple people who taught me the values of hard work and education through their examples.
Perspectives: What is something people might not know about you?
Dr. Dhamankar: I am creative. Besides watercolor paintings, I do creative writing, but more in my native language, Marathi.