As a researcher, Heather Beckwith, MD, hunts for improved cancer treatments. As an oncologist, she can apply those advanced treatments to help patients and their families.
It is her dual role that Beckwith finds especially fulfilling. Beckwith, who is part of the University of Minnesota Health Breast Center, has served as a M Health physician for nine years and a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School for three years. She specializes in breast cancer treatment and sees patients following a mammography screening.
Why are you passionate about your position?
Cancer is a very diverse disease. The backgrounds, values and goals of each of our patients are also diverse. I enjoy developing the best treatment plan for each individual patient. I am lucky to practice oncology at a time when new treatments are rapidly being developed. When I am not in the clinic, I am in the lab and feel privileged to be a part of the research that is leading to better treatments. As oncologists, we have the potential to have a profound impact on each of our patient’s lives. I find it satisfying to guide patients through a very stressful time in their life and see them emerge stronger and with a new found perspective on life.
What is one of your favorite memories from your job?
After I had my third child, I took a six-week maternity leave from my job. The day I returned to work from my leave was one of the best days; each patient greeted me with hugs, tears and laughter. It was a good feeling to realize that my patients missed me as much as I missed them.
What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community?
The patients we treat tend to be hardworking, selfless and family-oriented people who are wonderful to work with. The physicians, nurses and other care providers that work here are extremely knowledgeable and reliable. They are willing to go out of their way to provide the best care for the patients that we treat here.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
When I am not at work, I enjoy cooking, golfing, traveling and spending time with family.
Tell us one surprising or interesting fact about yourself.
I paid my way through college by scholarships and waitressing at a Cajun and creole restaurant.
Anything else you want to share?
I try to live my life by the philosophy that you never regret the things you do, only the things you didn’t do.