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Hamid Shaaban, MD, a hematological and oncological specialist at Saint Michael’s Medical Center, is being recognized by the American Cancer Society for his commitment to helping cancer patients and their families.

Dr. Shaaban will be honored at the ACS’s Diamond Ball on Nov. 5 at Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, NJ.

“His dedication to his field and the communities he supports knows no bounds and we are thrilled to honor him at this year’s gala,” the ACS said in announcing the honor.

Dr. Shaaban, who is the medical director of the Saint Michael’s Cancer Center, has a long history with the hospital. After completing his internal medicine residency at Saint Michael’s, Dr. Shaaban continued fellowship training in infectious disease. He followed that with a fellowship in oncology and hematology, also at Saint Michael’s.

“I rotated here as a medical student and I was heavily influenced by the strong academics and the delivery of care to the disenfranchised,” Dr. Shaaban said.

Now as an attending physician, Dr. Shaaban is training the next generation of doctors in both the residency program and in the hematology and oncology fellowship program in Saint Michael’s.

Dr. Shaaban said academic Cancer Centers like the one at Saint Michael’s emphasize evidence-based medicine to ensure fellows base their clinical decisions on the latest research and best practices, which leads to better patient outcomes.

“We adhere to the standard guidelines that are carried out at all the major cancer centers in the country,” Dr. Shaaban said.

One of the advantages to receiving care at a community hospital like Saint Michael’s is the care is also personally tailored to meet the patient’s needs.

“We pay a lot of attention to our patients’ care,” Dr. Shaaban said. “We offer a holistic model and approach to oncology care for our patients living with and beyond cancer. We look at the psychosocial aspects, the mental and emotional aspects and what they’re going through at home. Many patients have expressed to me that they felt listened to. We take pride in delivering cancer care that’s not disease focused but more patient-centered.”

The Cancer Center also understands the challenges of financial toxicity and has a manager, oncology navigator and social worker who can help patients who are struggling financially.

“As we all know, these cancer medications are very expensive and many times, especially in the inner city and in the urban communities, there’s an economic burden that our patients and their families experience,” Dr. Shaaban said. “Our team spearheaded by our social worker is very helpful in identifying financial assistance programs so that we can help our patients navigate and deal with the financial burden.”

Dr. Shaaban said the ACS award must be shared by his team of oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, medical assistants as well as the navigator, pharmacist and social worker.

“I’m obviously extremely honored that I’ve been recognized for this award,” Dr. Shaaban said. “However this award is truly a reflection of the extraordinary team that I’m a part of. There’s an African proverb that says: If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together. I am nothing without the members of the Cancer Center. They are my support system and I recognize every member of the Cancer Center. This award is a recognition of all the hard work that they do on a daily basis to deliver oncology care to the patients in the community.”