Every time a patient completes their treatment plan at Northern Virginia Hematology and Oncology Associates, the staff gathers to watch the individual ring a bell as a way to celebrate the end of treatment as well as sing “No more, no more, no more, don’t ever come back” to the cancer.
“It’s a great feeling,” notes Dr. Hamed Khosravi, practice provider and founder. “Somebody who came in very scared of the diagnosis thinking it would be terminal or devastating, and now after four to six months they are ringing the bell.” When those patients come back in for checkups, Khosravi often hears they miss the office staff and the peaceful environment.
This year, the practice is celebrating 15 years of service to the Northern Virginia area. Crediting his staff, Khosravi says the milestone is “an amazing feeling of accomplishment. We aren’t done yet, but I think it’s significant and hopefully we can build and continue.”
With the desire to help others, Khosravi always wanted to be a doctor. Earning his medical degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences School of Medicine, he was drawn to hematology and oncology through a fascination with cell biology. “I could see the advances that are coming [to] this field,” he says. “I knew there was a lot happening and could be done for patients in the near future.”
While practicing in South Florida for three years, Khosravi aspired to open up his own practice. He and his wife moved to the Northern Virginia area to be closer to her family. In 2004, he opened Northern Virginia Hematology and Oncology Associates. “I wanted to start new and be able to establish a practice and organization that I can implement the type of practice that is patient-centered,” he says. “I was approached by other doctors to join them, but I wanted to do it on my own because of the specifics I had in mind in terms of establishing an oncology practice that is patient-centered as opposed to just being a place to treat people.”
When people are diagnosed, many are given a doctor’s name and told to go see them for treatment. “They trust us,” he says. “They come to us hopeless. We are in a position that a lot of times we can help them. … I feel honored and humbled (when patients choose my practice). They become part of our family and I become part of theirs. That’s how we approach patients.”
The most difficult part of his job is when treatments don’t work and/or the cancer has progressed too far. Khosravi says it’s like losing a family member. “Sometimes you have to tell them, ‘The best thing for you is to do nothing’,” he says. “That is difficult. … You never forget.”
Khosravi finds the most joy in his job by knowing he is in a position to help patients. He likes seeing people go back to their jobs and hobbies after treatment. “That is the happiest moment and most accomplished feeling when you know you helped someone to get back in their life,” he says.
He recalls one patient was in the final stages of life and ready to give up. The practice had tried a number of different chemotherapies and treatments for him and all failed. Then a new immunotherapy was released with reports of patients responding well. The patient agreed to try the injection and his body responded. That was three years ago, and he continues to come in every few weeks for injections. “We call him a miracle patient because he truly is.”
Khosravi has previously served for four years as chairman of the Department of Medicine and the Cancer Committee at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. In January 2019, he began a two-year term as chairman of the Credential Committee reviewing and approving applications for doctors and health care providers to join the hospital.
The driving focus of Khosravi’s medical career has always been helping patients and their families. “I always tell my children—no matter what you do in your life, try to make a difference in someone’s life every day,” he says. “I think that is the most important thing.”
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