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Dr. Ross Halperin: Wearing Several Hats at the BC Cancer Agency

September 4, 2014

Hello, my name is Ross Halperin. I am the proud father of three wonderful children (Talia 6, Ava 9 and Zane 11) and the fortunate husband of Dr. M. Dani Sarbit. Currently I serve as the Interim Provincial Professional Practice Leader for Radiation Therapy, Functional Imaging, Oral Oncology and Surgery at the BC Cancer Agency. I have worked most of my career as a radiation oncologist – first in Edmonton Alberta and for the past decade, primarily in Kelowna B.C., at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior.

Caring for cancer patients is a privilege. It is gratifying to do what’s best for those who entrust their care to you. At the same time there is an underlying foundational need to work on improving care for tomorrow, to serve the needs of future patients – this nurtures hope and energizes me.

Being a researcher means many things and roles can be quite different: a researcher can work in a lab and do experiments that test hypotheses. I am a clinical researcher – like those who work in a laboratory environment, clinical researchers share the same foundation in curiosity and drive for betterment through understanding. In the earlier part of my career I participated in many research projects, but as my career has evolved, I’ve become increasingly a research enabler. Today, one of my tasks is to nurture the environment that provides fertile soil for knowledge generation.

I started a prostate brachytherapy program in Kelowna in 2005. Since then, the program has grown and resulted in the creation of a productive academic brachytherapy service in Kelowna, led by my colleagues Dr. Francois Bachand, Dr. Rezwan Chowdhury and Dr. Juanita Crook.

Today, my role is a provincial one and though I live in Kelowna and see patients one to two days each week there, I also work in Vancouver about five to eight days per month.  Working in Vancouver affords me opportunity to meet and collaborate with peers at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Centre and discuss issues supporting cancer care across the province in person. A few times per year I visit each of the BC Cancer Agency centres across the province to ensure that I’m fluent with the challenges faced at each regional centre.  In my current role(s), I’m responsible for ensuring that the B.C. public receives the care it needs and that those services are the best they can be today and tomorrow – this focus on quality and improvement is at the core of my daily activities.