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March 2006 Issue

Myron Moskowitz, MD, and his daughter, Ruth Lavigne, MD, both breast cancer specialists, still take the time to discuss medicine.
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Radiation Oncologist Follows in Her Father's Footsteps

By Amanda Harper
Published March 2006

Ruth Lavigne, MD, decided to pursue a medical degree at the age when most physicians have already started their careers.

"As my kids grew, I realized that telling them that they could do--or become--anything they wanted really didn't have any validity until I pursued my own dream," says Dr. Lavigne, a radiation oncologist.

At age 36, she entered UC's College of Medicine, earned her MD, and went on to complete her radiation oncology residency. During that time, she was honored with UC's Outstanding Resident Award--an honor bestowed annually to a resident physician for demonstrating respect, integrity, teamwork and excellence in patient care.

Last July--at age 45--Dr. Lavigne accepted her first medical appointment in the division of radiation oncology.

Today, she specializes in treatment of breast and pediatric cancers.

Science and medicine are in Dr. Lavigne's blood: she is the daughter of Myron Moskowitz, MD, the UC radiologist who established the Cincinnati Breast Cancer Detection Center in 1973--one of the first centers of its kind in the United States.

Dr. Lavigne says that her father's example largely inspired her to pursue medicine. She remembers him telling her that medicine was a noble field, and that her personality would give her a natural rapport with patients.

"Growing up, I was constantly amazed at my father's accomplishments," says Dr. Lavigne. "He was a true a pioneer in breast imaging and screening for cancer."

Following in her father's footsteps, Dr. Lavigne is currently part of a national study looking at benefits of partial breast irradiation for treating early-stage cancer. Researchers hope to find a way to eliminate cancer in patients while minimizing the damage in surrounding breast tissue.

"I may have gotten a late start," she says, "but it feels great to take care of patients every day. I'm where I always wanted to be."

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