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Glenwood hospital looks to establish larger cancer care facility

Kelley Cox/Post IndependentThe crew at the Valley View Hospital Cancer Center in Glenwood Springs includes, Dr. Doug Rovira, and from left, Terry Nightingale, Laura Guerrero, Anne Johnson and Carol Heinrichs. And don't forget Kashu, the center's resident therapy dog.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Valley View Hospital is taking steps toward establishing a larger cancer center – planned as part of the final phase of the hospital’s ongoing expansion project – including the hiring of its first full-time medical oncologist.

Dr. Doug Rovira joined the Glenwood Springs hospital staff Sept. 1, and will head the hospital’s oncology department as it works to better meet the needs of area cancer patients.

One goal of expanding cancer care services locally is to eliminate the stress of traveling long distances to receive the care they need, Rovira said.



“Dealing with cancer can be pretty traumatic as it is,” he said. “We want to be able to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art care close to home, so that people don’t have to leave the Roaring Fork or Colorado River valleys.”

Although his full-time capacity at Valley View is new, Rovira is no stranger to the hospital or the Roaring Fork Valley.



As a member of the University of Colorado Cancer Center staff, Rovira has worked closely with both Valley View and Aspen Valley Hospital as a member of the valley’s tumor board since the early 1990s.

The group of physicians from throughout the region meets once a month to provide a multi-disciplinary review of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in the area.

“The need has grown in the three-county area, to the point where we needed someone here full time,” Rovira said.



“It was a desirable position for me,” he continued. “This hospital is one of the warmest, most inviting places, with an extraordinary and competent medical staff, wonderfully talented nurses, and a supportive administration.”

Valley View’s existing out-patient Cancer Center is currently located in a 5,500 square-foot section of one of the older hospital buildings, after moving there from the Glenwood Medical Associates building in 2004.

Plans are to expand into a 25,000 square-foot area on the first floor of the four-story addition that will eventually replace the original structures built in 1954 and 1962, including facilities for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, a new chapel, massage and yoga therapy rooms, surgery waiting area, meeting rooms, support offices and a two-story atrium and healing garden.

The plans for the final construction phase are currently being reviewed by the city of Glenwood Springs, and construction could begin next year.

In addition to providing the latest in cancer treatments, Rovira said Valley View’s Cancer Center also emphasizes its work with early detection, and strives to work with local schools and community organizations on prevention.

“Our relationship with CU is continuing,” he said. “Through that we are able to provide experimental therapy and apply what’s new in the discovery stage, in terms of treating common cancers.

“It’s exciting to have that relationship, and that level of expertise,” Rovira said.

Before joining the CU Cancer Center staff, Rovira completed his training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. There, he had the privilege of working with Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Medicine acknowledging his pioneering work on bone marrow transplants for leukemia patients.

“Long before I got there, a group of doctors believed they could do wonderful things, and after losing 100 consecutive patients to leukemia they learned how to modify the immune system,” Rovira said. “There was a culture there of being able to overcome some pretty big obstacles.”

Dr. Rovira resides in Basalt, has two daughters in college and is engaged to be married. He said he enjoys skiing, hiking and is an avid trail runner.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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