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Meet our New Doctor

Meet our New Doctor

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Jonathan Chen to our team of radiation oncologists! Starting in late August, Dr. Chen will focus on the treatment of prostate cancer and ocular melanoma. He will also be actively engaged in research at UW Medicine to improve the procedures we have available for these types of cancer.

Dr. Chen comes to us after completing his residency in radiation oncology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, where he was Chief Resident. He earned his MD and Ph.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College and his BS from Stanford University. He grew up in Troy, Michigan.

We wanted to get to know Dr. Chen a little better, so we asked him a few questions in advance of his arrival at the Proton Center.

Why did you decide to become a doctor? 

I was actually discouraged from becoming a doctor by a mentor in college. She told me that it required so many sacrifices, I should only do it if I couldn't see myself doing anything else. So for a few years, I set about pursuing a career in biotech. While working at my first job after college, I volunteered at the free STD clinic at the local hospital. It was mostly to help out, but I think a part of me was still open to the idea of being a doctor. My experiences there witnessing the impact that doctors could make, and also educating myself on what it would take to get there, it clinched it for me. I realized that I couldn't see myself doing anything else. The next thing I knew, I was applying to medical school.

Why did you decide to specialize in radiation oncology?

I believe radiation oncology is one of the most unique medical specialties out there. The most appealing thing is being able to help people with cancer. Cancer is a leading cause of sickness and death; everyone knows someone who has been affected by it, and it will likely become even more common as we live longer. The practice of radiation oncology is incredibly unique with its cross-disciplinary involvement of biology, physics, engineering, and radiology, to create the best possible treatments in our fight against cancer.

What is your medical philosophy?

I try to treat every patient like I would treat a family member. I know what it's like for a loved one to be a patient: scared, in the dark, vulnerable, anxious, and trusting. That's why I always strive to give each patient the same compassion, patience, time, and personal care that I would want a doctor to give to my family. 

Is there anything about living in Seattle that you’re looking forward to?

I'm a big lover of nature and the outdoors so I'm really excited about all the beautiful hikes and parks in the area. I was in Seattle for the first time ever last year, and one of the things I did was a hike to Skookum Falls with a couple of friends and their dogs. It got me hooked, and one year later, I took a job to come back!

What do you like to do for fun?

I'm an avid recreational athlete and have been playing in basketball, football, soccer, and softball leagues in New York City. I'm also a big fan of board games, both the intense, strategic kind and the just-for-fun kind.

Where is the best place you've traveled and why?

It's hard to say which is the best, but my most recent trip was to Italy for the first time. What blew me away the most was seeing the Vatican. Whatever your view on religion is, the impact of the Catholic Church on human history is undeniable and worthy of reflection.