Poornima Rao, M.D. is a surgical oncologist and member of Summit Health’s Oncology and Cancer Care team. She is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and fellowship-trained in surgical oncology. Dr. Rao completed her Bachelor of Arts degrees in molecular biology and the philosophy of science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She attended medical school at New York Medical College in Valhalla and performed her general surgery internship, residency, and research fellowship at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.
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.
Dr. Rao is especially interested in equity and equality of health care, environmental preservation, and health and wellness. In her spare time, Dr. Rao enjoys cooking, traveling, cycling, hiking, and paddle sports. She loves word games/puzzles and most of all, spending time with her family.