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Dr. Zeng Steps into Medical Director Role, Looks Ahead to the Future of the SCCA Proton Therapy Center

Dr. Zeng Steps into Medical Director Role, Looks Ahead to the Future of the SCCA Proton Therapy Center

Congratulations to Dr. Jing Zeng who officially became the SCCA Proton Therapy Center’s Medical Director on October 16, after serving as Associate Medical Director since 2019.

Like many, Dr. Zeng was drawn to health care because she wanted to help people. She studied at Duke University and completed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital focusing on radiation oncology. Although treating cancer is extremely challenging, Dr. Zeng knew it was her calling.

“It’s a privilege that my job is to help people in their time of dire need. Work doesn’t feel like work when you know what you’re doing is meaningful,” says Dr. Zeng.

As one of the first physicians to treat at the Center, Dr. Zeng initially specialized in lung cancer radiation. By 2014, she expanded her role to lead the genitourinary/prostate cancer program – at one time, treating nearly half of the Center’s prostate cancer patients.

When she transitioned to become the Associate Medical Director in early 2019, Dr. Zeng says, “I started to look at the experience of every patient who came to the Center, not just patients with prostate cancer, and collaborated with our team to optimize the experience for all patients. When I took on the role, it was a priority of mine to determine how to make our staff more available and accessible to folks that need our help.”

Now, as the Center’s Medical Director, she says her goal is to continue providing an excellent patient experience while also practicing leading-edge care. “We’re currently in the midst of technology upgrades to bring our patients the next generation of proton therapy treatment,” she says. This includes new CT imaging systems and pencil-beam scanning in more rooms, among other updates. 

Dr. Zeng is also excited to oversee several opportunities that will impact and advance the field of proton therapy as a whole. This includes 20+ clinical trials currently open, as well as a program to allow visiting residents and fellows to observe the Center to help more providers learn about proton therapy radiation.

“What we’ve always strived for at the Center is to stay true to our mission and the mission of our partners, which is to provide world-class care to our patients and to remain committed to research and education,” says Dr. Zeng.

Dr. Zeng will also help to lead the Center as we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19. She believes the one bright spot of the pandemic is the rapid adoption of telehealth – which the Center will further explore to help reach the many patients who live outside of western Washington.

In addition to her exemplary work over the years caring for patients and mentoring many residents and junior faculty members, Dr. Zeng has co-authored 74 peer-reviewed publications and is internationally recognized for her contributions to patient safety, proton therapy, and thoracic cancers. She is an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and participates in several national committees.

Dr. Zeng will be assuming the role following Dr. Ramesh Rengan, who served as director from January 2014 and is now the Chair of the University of Washington's Department of Radiation Oncology. We thank Dr. Rengan for his service as Medical Director, and wish Dr. Zeng the best of luck and congratulations as our new director!