BEND, OR, AUGUST 13, 2021 – Summit Health today announced the addition of Poornima Rao, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgical oncologist specializing in complex gastrointestinal malignancies and more common cancers. Dr. Rao has extensive experience treating adults with cancer, including upper gastrointestinal, liver, pancreatic and biliary malignancies, colorectal, breast, endocrine, skin, and soft tissue disease.

Dr. Rao received her medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Her general surgery internship, residency, and research fellowship were completed at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Rao to our Oncology and Cancer Care team,” says Russell Massine, MD, Chief Physician Executive, Summit Health. “Her expertise and her deep understanding of how to best treat cancer are invaluable additions to our already exemplary cancer care services.”

Dr. Rao is extensively trained and practiced in minimally invasive surgical procedures, including robotic surgical techniques. She views her role as an educator and takes a patient-centered approach to cancer care. “I view my interactions with my patients as a partnership, ultimately working together to achieve desired outcomes against our common enemy – cancer. My job is to educate and empower patients to make the most optimal treatment decisions,” Dr. Rao says. Working alongside a team of Summit Health providers, Dr. Rao will devise a treatment plan to best treat the cancer with the patient’s goals kept central to all decision-making.

Dr. Rao spent the last ten years in practice at the City of Hope, in Los Angeles, practicing across the spectrum of surgical oncology. Her last two years, she was interim chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

“We continue to look at ways we can better serve our patients’ cancer care needs,” says Justin Sivill, Regional Chief Operating Officer, Summit Health. “Introducing surgical oncology and adding Dr. Rao’s expertise further enhances our cancer care services to our growing patient population and their specific and dynamic needs.”

Summit Health offers a fully integrated multidisciplinary cancer program where patients have access to providers and services across the entire cancer care spectrum – offering patients access to the finest medical, surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic ancillary services to support them from diagnosis to survivorship. Summit Health Oncology and Cancer Care services are offered at the Eastside Bend Main Clinic located at 1501 NE Medical Center Drive.

About Summit Health in Oregon

Summit Health is a physician-led, patient-centric network committed to simplifying the complexities of health care and bringing a more connected kind of care. In Central Oregon, Summit Health offers a comprehensive care model with more than 150 providers in primary care, urgent care, and over 30 medical specialty and services. For more information, please visit