The Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center
features the area’s most comprehensive team of cancer experts, including oncology-hematology specialists who use medical and chemotherapeutic methods to treat cancer. These experts also treat malignancies of the blood and blood-forming tissues. They function as a cancer patient’s chief oncologist working closely with the patient’s primary care physician, as well as the wide-range of specialists (surgeons
, radiation oncologist
, pathologists, pulmonologist
, etc…) in cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy treatment and follow-up care.
The Cancer & Research Center is the only local member of the Moffitt Oncology network; a collaboration that allows Polk County patients the benefit of the latest clinical trials and treatment breakthroughs closer to home.
The Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center is one of only a handful of freestanding cancer centers in the entire country to receive accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, an achievement that illustrates the exemplary standards they set for their patients in the areas of treatment, research, education and quality of care. Watson Clinic’s Cancer & Research Center has been awarded the highest level of achievement, the gold status for a three-year reaccreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). We are also one of only six freestanding cancer centers in the nation, and the only facility in the state of Florida to achieve the accreditation.
A Team Approach
A cancer center patient receives exemplary care from their oncologist-hematologist, as well as from the collective expertise of the entire team.
The physicians also conduct a series of meetings devoted to specific cancers, including breast, lung and cancers of the bone marrow system.
In addition, either outside or in-house speakers review a variety of cancer-related topics with the entire staff on a weekly basis, which keeps everyone up to date on the latest treatment protocols and technological advancements in cancer care.
Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center also offers the comforting and knowledgeable guidance of highly trained nurse navigators
to help counsel and assist patients through every step of the process – from diagnosis through treatment to survivorship and follow-up care.
As cancer is an all-encompassing illness, the team approach also comes into play as the patient benefits from the convenient referrals they often receive to Watson Clinic’s family of more than 200 board-certified physicians across 40 medical and surgical specialties, including those housed in the Watson Clinic Women’s Center.
The Latest Technologies
Watson Clinic’s oncologists-hematologists at the cancer center are surrounded by experts using the most advanced technologies in the field, including high and low dose rate brachytherapy, image guided radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy, PET/CT and more.
The cancer center installed the Trilogy linear accelerator, which has the distinction of being the most powerful cancer treatment technology in the world. This revolutionary machine dispenses a uniform dose of high-energy x-ray to the patient's tumor, destroying the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue in a more precise manner than has ever been possible before.
Oncology - Hematology Physicians:
Luis A. Franco, MD
- Medical School: Cayetano Heredia University of Medicine, Lima, Peru, MD
- Internship: Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, FL, Medicine
- Residency: Yale University affiliated Hospitals / St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport, CT
- Fellowship: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Oncology
- Board-certified: Oncology
- Member: Colegio Medico Peruano, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, Polk County Medical Association, American Society of Medical Oncology, southern Medical Association, Southern Association of Oncology
Neeharika S. Makani, MD
- Medical School: Boston University, Boston, MA, MD
- Internship & Residency: University of California, Los Angeles, CA, Internal Medicine
- Fellowships: University of California, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, Hematology & Oncology
- Board-certified: Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology
- Member: American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American College of Physicians, Massachusetts Medical Society, Polk County Medical Association
- Distinction: Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School Department of Hematology & Oncology
- Publications: Author of numerous publications
Shalini Mulaparthi, MD
- Medical School: University of Health Sciences - Vijayawada, A.P., India, MD
- Internship & Residency: University of Medicine & Dentistry, Newark, NJ, Internal Medicine
- Fellowship: New York University Medical Center, New York, NY, Hematology & Oncology
- Board-certified: Internal Medicine & Oncology
- Member: American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology
Galina Vugman, MD
- Medical School: Rush University,, Chicago, IL, MD
- Internship & Residency: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, Internal Medicine
- Fellowships: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Palliative Medicine, Hematology & Oncology
- Board-certified: Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology
- Member: American Board of Hospice & Palliative Care, American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, National Council of Hospice & palliative Professionals, Florida Medical Association, Polk County Medical Association
Jenni Pavao, DNP, ARNP-C
- Nursing School: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, BSN
- Masters Program: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, MSN
- Doctorate Degree: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, DNP
- Member: Oncology Nursing Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology
Please call 863-603-4770 for additional information.