During a pediatrics rotation as a medical student, Dr. Mendel met a little girl who would change the course of his medical pursuits.
“I was convinced I was going to do medical oncology,” he shared. As he followed the case of this young patient who was being treated for a rare brain tumor, he was introduced to the field of radiation oncology. It was then he knew this would be his specialty.
Now Dr. Mendel is bringing his skills as a radiation oncologist to the RGU team. “There are many treatment options these days, and finding the right one for the patient, especially in oncology, takes trust and communication,” he said. “Radiation oncology is unique in that it requires these skills but also requires excessive attention to detail and the ability to function well in a team, as we work closely with surgery and medical oncology.”
Dr. Mendel is currently completing his radiation oncology residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he has been working since 2016. He first discovered an interest in the medical field during his undergraduate coursework at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Initially set to study math, Dr. Mendel took a biology class with a professor who captured his interest in science and set him on the path to pursue medicine. He took every class the professor taught, including an upper level cancer biology course. “Shortly after, I decided I wanted to go to medical school with an eye on oncology,” he said.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, he returned home to El Paso to pursue his Doctorate of Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Following the completion of his degree in 2015, he went on to do a transitional year internship at Tucson Hospital Medical Education Program in Arizona before returning to Texas for his residency at UT Southwestern.
Each step has brought Dr. Mendel closer to his career goal—to bring the highest level of care in radiation oncology to patients in his hometown of El Paso.
“When I interviewed for the residency position at UT Southwestern, the department chair asked me where I saw myself in 10 years. I told him I wanted to return to El Paso and be a leader in the oncologic community. I felt this program would challenge me and provide me with the skills to accomplish this goal.”
Dr. Mendel is excited to return to the city in which he was raised. “Both my wife and I grew up there,” he said. “El Paso is a great community with amazing people and a wonderful place to live.” He looks forward to joining the collegial environment at RGU and bringing his knowledge and experience from UT Southwestern to help keep radiation oncology on the cutting edge. “I’m hoping to bring back some of these novel treatment techniques to provide modern, effective, and efficient treatment options for patients in the community.”
When not at the hospital, Dr. Mendel enjoys spending time with his wife and family, exploring food science, and staying active through golf and triathlons. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Mendel to RGU!