Brandon Bernard, MD, a medical oncologist, is joining University of Colorado Cancer Center’s elite team of physician/scientists treating and researching genitourinary cancers like prostate cancer.
Bernard has big plans during his time at the Cancer Center. In addition to continuing his research in prostate and testicular cancers, he wants to dig deeper into other interests.
“My interests range from population studies, looking at outcomes of patients with urologic cancers both in Colorado and the country, to translational work looking at new biomarkers to guide drug development and further assist in understanding the different diseases,” he says. “I also plan on being heavily involved with clinical trials, so building up a portfolio on that front is definitely a priority!”
According to Dr. Bernard communication with his patients is also at the top of his priority list. He has embraced social media, particularly Twitter, as one of the most effective ways to reach not only his patients but also other doctors.
“I think social media can be an incredibly powerful resource and tool in academic medicine. It allows for rapid correspondence among peers, the quick dissemination of ideas, and boundless potential for networking and collaborative efforts,” he explains. “However, I think one has to be responsible on social media, as occasionally a tweet may be misleading due to the inherent brevity. As with everything, I think it’s important for doctors and patients alike to be thoughtful, conscientious, and respectful with how we communicate and interact online.”
Bernard completed his medical training in Canada, where he was born and raised. Eventually he traveled to the United States for genitourinary medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston in 2014.
“Cancer biology has always fascinated me,” says Bernard. “I did my undergraduate in biochemistry so there were a lot of examples of cancer as molecular workings gone wrong. From then on, I always saw myself as someone who could advance the field, and after exploring a few different options during medical school and residency, I invariably returned to oncology as the career for me.”
Before deciding on his specialty Bernard volunteered with crisis lines and counseling groups. It was after his experience working with families affected by all types of cancer that he decided to pursue urologic oncology.
“I decided to focus on urologic cancers as they comprise a diverse group of different cancer types and patient populations, pose an area of great research opportunity, and provide an environment for great teamwork and collaboration with colleagues in the field,” he explains.
Bernard moved to Colorado in November 2016 and is looking forward to the active, outdoor lifestyle that the state is known for.
“Outside of medicine, I love to travel, try new restaurants, explore the urban landscape, and maintain some semblance of physical fitness,” he says. “There’s definitely no shortage of outdoor things to do in Colorado! It’s actually quite similar to Canada in that sense, so it made for an easy transition.”