Stephanie L. Graff
Medical Director, Clinical Research Program, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, HCA Midwest Health
And - Director, Breast Cancer Program, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, HCA Midwest Health; National Breast Lead, Clinical Progams, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute; Associate Director, Breast Cancer Research Program, Sarah Cannon Research Institute
STEM careers create broad-reaching opportunities to contribute meaningfully, to connect with a community, and to continually grow.
What do you do?
I am a breast medical oncologist providing clinical care for those living with breast cancer across all stages of disease. I lead breast cancer clinical program development regionally and nationally to standardize care, improve quality and promote program growth. I direct our clinical research program, bringing best-in-class clinical research to community cancer care across all disease types, focusing on late phase drug development and high quality clinical research.
Why did you choose this field?
I have always loved science, which led me to career in medicine. One of my mentors said "Whatever you decide to do, you need to love to read about it. Your job will be to read about your job." Which was really true advice. I love the science of oncology. I can't stop reading. In medical school, as I moved into clinical rotations, the humanity of oncology really resonated with me. I have the privilege of getting to know my patients and their families in deep, vulnerable ways as a result of the intense emotion that accompanies a new cancer diagnosis.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Graduating medical school, being a leader in breast oncology. I am the first person in my family to attend college, to receive a doctorate. Early in life I heard messages like "people like us don't go to medical school". Guess what? People like me do - and did!
Why do you love working in STEM?
Using science and medicine to improve the health and life of the patients I am lucky to care for, infused with great communication skills and kindness. I also love connecting with colleague and sharing ideas, collaborating towards a better tomorrow with quality improvement and clinical trials.
Best advice for next generation?
STEM careers create broad-reaching opportunities to contribute meaningfully, to connect with a community of like-minded people, and to continually grow. I can't imagine a better career for myself, for you, for anyone.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"I'm inviting you to step forward, to be seen, and to ask yourself...If not me, who? If not now, when?" - Emma Watson, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador