Neuro-Oncologist Joins UCSF Brain Tumor Center Team
By UCSF Brain Tumor Center | July 8, 2020
This month, neuro-oncologist Jessica Schulte, MD, PhD joins the UCSF Brain Tumor Center team. Dr. Schulte specializes in treatment of adolescent and adult glioma and neurofibromatosis, with a focus on optimizing transitions of care between pediatric and adult medical care.
Dr. Schulte earned her medical degree at Northwestern University, where she also researched how neurodevelopmental pathways go awry in brain cancer for her PhD. Later, she completed her residency in neurology at Columbia University, followed by a Chief Resident year. Dr. Schulte recently completed a Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-Oncology at UCSF, and will be continuing in the Department of Neurological Surgery as a Clinical Instructor.
What are some of the challenges of transitioning patients with brain tumors between pediatric and adult care?
"Traditionally, transitioning people from pediatric to adult care has a lot of logistical challenges. But beyond that, this is a time that adolescent and young adult (also called AYA) patients have a lot of unique needs. Patients in their late teenage years or early twenties are wondering about how to deal with the cognitive effects of the treatments they received for their brain tumors, in the context of finishing high school and starting college, and trying to navigate their first jobs. Others might have relationship and fertility concerns. This is all in the background of the usual leaps in autonomy and independence that every person at this age faces. There are a lot of important life events to navigate."
"This transition is a challenge not only for neuro-oncology, but across all specialties of medicine as a whole. In pediatrics care, there is a lot more support for both the patients and the families in general, so the transition to adult care can be hard. In addition, oncology patients often have a really special relationship with their oncologist, and it’s hard to trust a new team. It needs to happen at some point, since brain tumors in pediatric patients and adult patients can have different genetic features, and often have different treatment strategies. Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible."