ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Hardin Memorial Health announced Friday that Dr. Natalie Harper joined the HMH Cancer Care team. Harper, a board-eligible oncologist and hematologist, will care for patients at the HMH Cancer Care Center in Elizabethtown.
The system’s cancer care team treated nearly 1,000 patients last year and the demand continues to grow.
A Kentucky native, Harper attended Transylvania University for her undergraduate studies before completing a master of science in physiology at the University of Louisville and a doctorate in pharmacology at the University of Kentucky. Pharmacology is a branch of medicine concerned with the uses and effects of drugs with a heavy emphasis on research.
While at UK, she also earned a medical degree and completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics, followed by a fellowship in hematology and oncology. Harper has been the author of several publications and delivered presentations around the country.
The addition of Harper means the HMH Cancer Care team of physicians, advanced practice clinicians, certified oncology nurses and others is the largest and the strongest in its history.
“Our goal is to ensure that Central Kentuckians receive the same high-quality cancer treatments at Hardin Memorial Health that they would at major metropolitan healthcare systems,” said HMH Vice President and COO Tom Carrico. “Dr. Harper’s education and experience is beyond impressive. Plus, her expertise in clinical research is a valuable complement to clinical trials offered to HMH patients.”
HMH patients have access to clinical trials and cancer programs because HMH is a member of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate and Research Networks. The Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center in Kentucky.
Harper also will provide care as part of the HMH Multidisciplinary Breast and Lung teams. HMH’s two multidisciplinary teams, a unique offering for a healthcare system of its size, include physicians representing a variety of specialties, working together to determine patient-specific treatment plans that minimize necessary visits while maximizing outcomes.
“HMH offers a full complement of cancer care services rarely seen in a community like Elizabethtown. The HMH Cancer Care team cares for patients like they are family. Those two things together equal outstanding patient care,” Harper said. “I am so excited to work alongside such an amazing group of physicians, advanced practice clinicians and nurses.”
The addition of another physician follows the generous support from the community through the HMH Foundation to open the HMH Cancer Care Resource Center. The newly constructed facility is a place that gives hope to patients and their families when they need it most. Generous donors from the 2018 Purses, Pumps and Prevention event, the Atria Senior Living of Elizabethtown Tails and TaTas Breast Cancer Awareness 5K Walk and the HMH Foundation funded the HMH Cancer Care Resource Center. Community leaders and donors celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting in August.