Five Questions with Rishi Lulla, MD
We sat down for a conversation with Rishi Lulla, MD, the chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
What interests you about working with kids who have cancer and blood diseases?
It's always been a great privilege to care for children and families during critical times in their lives. The field is changing rapidly— in my career, we've seen complete paradigm shifts in the way certain cancers and blood disorders are treated, which make it a very exciting scientific time. We can achieve lasting cures for many conditions which were previously untreatable but at the same time we have many diseases that require additional work to improve outcomes, and that serves as a potent fuel for our research activities.
Explain a little about your background and experience and what brought you to Rhode Island.
Though I'm native to Chicago, I spent eight wonderful years in New England during college and medical school and I'm thrilled to be back here. During my training, I became an expert in the care of children with brain and spinal cord tumors and am active in the national and international pediatric central nervous system tumor community. I'm happy to be part of this wonderful team to continue the longstanding tradition of providing compassionate care to the children of our region.
Can you explain the structure of your team?
Our patients have access to a dedicated and growing team of seven physicians and four advanced practice providers who are supported by expert nurses and a robust psychosocial support program. We have developed three subspecialty clinical teams with a focus on hematologic malignancies (leukemia/lymphoma), solid and central nervous system tumors, and hematology and blood disorders (sickle cell disease, thalassemia and others) to continue to provide personalized and family-centered care to our patients.
How many active studies and clinical trials does Hasbro Children’s Hospital have going on at once?
We have 30 to 40 active clinical trials, which includes those for newly diagnosed patients and those that we are following who have completed therapy. Our trials are supported by a team of clinical research professionals and we are working with the Lifespan Cancer Institute to open additional novel trials here in the near future.
What are you most excited about now that you are here?
There is a tremendous energy and momentum around research and treatment of cancer and blood disorders at Lifespan as well as The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and our team is excited to be part of this progress. Personally, I'm excited about the prospect of developing novel clinical trials here at Hasbro Children’s Hospital so that our patients do not have to travel to access cutting-edge care. And, above all, I’m thrilled about working with a fantastic team to improve outcomes for our kids.