Meet a Physician
Name: C. Leilani Valdes, M.D.
Office: Regional Medical Laboratory
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theater Studies, Emory University; Doctor of Medicine, University of Southern California; Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Residency, USC-LAC Medical Center; Dermatopathology Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center; Board certification in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Dermatopathology
Time in Victoria: Almost two years
Specialty: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Dermatopathology
Why did you choose to become a pathologist?
In my college art history class, I enjoyed the process of using patterns to identify the artist in an unfamiliar piece of art. As a pathologist, I look through a microscope at cells and biopsy tissue, and use what we know about the tissue patterns to identify abnormalities. This assessment, along with additional laboratory data, provides other health care providers with the information needed to reach the right diagnosis for a patient. It's like being a "diagnosis detective." The work of a pathologist is mostly behind the scenes, so while I do not typically work directly with patients, I enjoy working closely with other physicians and health care providers to ensure that they have all the information they need about a diagnosis so the patient can receive the best possible care.
As a pathologist, how does your field affect the Crossroads?
As a pathologist for Regional Medical Laboratory, I provide pathology services for patients from many community hospitals and physicians throughout the Crossroads region. It's not uncommon for a patient to have a diagnostic procedure at a healthcare provider in one location, and then have a therapeutic procedure at another location. Working as a go-between with area physicians and health care providers, I serve as a local advocate in the pathology laboratory to ensure the patients get the best possible diagnostic information. Through our local cancer registry, I also participate in Tumor Board and Breast Cancer Treatment Conferences, providing educational and case study presentations to physicians.
Why did you choose to practice in Victoria?
I was interested in working in a progressive medical community with an opportunity to have a positive impact on patient care, but I did not want to raise my family in a big city. I grew up in Victoria, and it is a terrific place to work and raise my own family. I feel we are fortunate to have a strong network of physicians and health care providers in our local medical community, and it is a privilege to work with them.