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Within HealthEast Cancer Care, our specialists and Patient Navigators work closely with patients and their families, offering strong treatment options to fight cancer.
Puneet Singh Cheema, MD
Puneet Singh Cheema, MD is a board-certified medical oncologist/hematologist and HealthEast Cancer Care Medical Director.
Dr. Cheema provides a full range of oncology and hematology services to patients at St. John's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital and Woodwinds Health Campus.
Dr. Cheema came to HealthEast from St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, Wisconsin where he served as a staff physician and consultant since 2003. He also practiced at University Hospital – University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Dr. Cheema shares our passion for quality patient care and customer service.
Robert Lavey, MD, MPH
Dr. Lavey is the medical director of Radiation Oncology at HealthEast. He is certified by the American Board of Radiology in Therapeutic Radiology. He was a Radiological Society of North America Scholar.
Dr. Lavey received his medical degree from Stanford University, Masters of Public Health from University of California, Berkeley, completed his radiation oncology residency at Duke University, and his fellowship at Stanford University. He was a full professor of Oncology at University of South Florida.
Dr. Lavey specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery, sarcomas, and brain, liver, pancreas, and pediatric tumors. He served on national committees of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, Southwest Oncology Group, and Children’s Oncology Group.
Ross McBride, MD
Ross McBride, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist, studied business finance at Brigham Young University and medicine at the University of Texas. He completed his residency at Henry Ford Hospital.
Prior to joining HealthEast, Dr. McBride practiced in Springfield, Missouri, where he served as a co-medical director of stereotactic radio surgery, and in Redding, California, where he developed an Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) program. He is an active member of the American Brachytherapy Society.
Gopakumar Nambudiri, MD
Gopakumar Nambudiri, MD is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and oncology. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Nambudiri received his medical degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria and completed his internal medicine residency at State University in New York. He completed a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and comes to HealthEast Care System from the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisc.
James Shanks, MD
James Shanks, MD is a medical oncologist/hematologist. Dr. Shanks returns to Minnesota from Michigan, where he completed a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Michigan. He is board-certified and received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Shanks completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago.
In joining the Cancer Care team, Dr. Shanks is returning to HealthEast. In 2005 and 2006 he cared for patients as a hospitalist at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Mary Hughes, MA, LP, LICSW
Mary Hughes is an oncology psychotherapist. She enjoys providing counseling and psychological support services to individuals and their families who are living with cancer.
Mary is licensed as a psychologist by the Minnesota Board of Psychology and licensed as an independent clinical social worker by the Minnesota Board of Social Work.
Mary completed her master of arts degree in counseling and psychological services degree at St. Mary’s University Graduate Center in Minneapolis and her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. She has been a member of the faculty at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul since 1987.
Kristie Elghazi, CNP
Kristie Elghazi is a certified nurse practitioner. She received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota and her master of arts from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.
Mark Thalacker, CNP
Mark Thalacker is a certified nurse practitioner. He graduated from the Mayo School of Health Related Sciences with a master’s of science nurse practitioner degree. He went on to complete a three-year medical and radiation oncology internship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Mark then worked as an associate provider for Mayo Clinic’s Regional Cancer Centers. He also served as adjuvant faculty at Winona State University and has been recognized as an assistant in National Cancer Institute research.
Mark joined HealthEast in 2010 and cares for patients at the Cancer Care Clinic at Woodwinds.
Patient Navigator – Your guide on the journey
Cancer Care patients work with a Patient Navigator to coordinate a path through treatment. Our Patient Navigators are supportive guides for both patients and family members.
Navigators are oncology nurses with added training in patient/family education and services.
Breast Care Physician Consultative Team