Meet Laurie E. Gaspar, MD, MBA, FASTRO, FACR

Jul 17, 2018

Professor emeritus in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado; ASCO treasurer; member of the Systemic Therapy/Supportive Care in the Treatment of Adults with Metastatic Brain Tumors Guideline Panel.

What led you to oncology?

LG: Due to a maternity leave during medical school, I graduated a few months later than the rest of the class. I was looking for something to do until internship the following year. I went in to the cancer center to ask about a potential job, and I came out with an offer to do a residency in radiation oncology. For me, this was one of those unplanned but amazing twists of fate. Within a month of starting the residency I knew I was extremely lucky to be in radiation oncology.

Whats the last book you read?

LG: I just read Americanah by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is about a young woman’s life in Nigeria and the United States. I love reading novels about other cultures.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

LG: I enjoy exercising and playing bridge. I am also taking French language lessons. My long-term (likely unrealistic!) goal is to be bilingual.

Do you have a personal motto?

LG: I believe that most things happen for a reason. Sometimes when things haven’t gone as I hoped or planned, something better comes up. I believe in working hard and trying to stay positive.

What career could you see yourself in if you werent an oncologist?

LG: I had originally planned to be a speech pathologist, and once I was in medical school I considered otolaryngology. I enjoyed doing my MBA, so I could also picture myself in a business career.

What changes do you envision for the field in the next 10 years?

LG: The field is advancing so quickly now in terms of immunotherapy and targeted therapy but who knows what will happen in 10 years. If someone had asked me 10 years ago what would happen by 2018, I would have been so wrong! I am perpetually impressed with the imagination and creativity of oncology scientists and clinicians.

What would you say to a young physician thinking about entering the field of oncology?

LG: I would definitely encourage them. Oncology is a very rewarding field.

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