As a physician for the Mohawk Valley Health System, where she also chairs the cancer committee, DeTraglia’s typical day starts with tumor board meetings at 7 a.m. She joins professionals from multiple disciplines to discuss treatment plans before making hospital rounds and returning to her clinic to see patients.
“The fields of hematology and medical oncology are always changing,” she says. “Constantly new treatments are discovered that improve outcomes and decrease toxicity. That both motivates and excites me.”
The challenge for DeTraglia is the daunting task of balancing honesty and realism with positivity and hope. “I have always felt that even in the most dire of circumstances I can help patients and their families, advocating for their best interests and providing guidance and counseling along the way,” she says.
An undergraduate biology major, DeTraglia says she entered the profession almost as an afterthought. In fact, if she hadn’t become a physician, she might be pursuing her other dream: owning a bookstore and coffee shop by the ocean.
“I never considered becoming a physician until I was at Hamilton,” she says. “At the College I was able to explore research opportunities and study subjects outside my career path, such as minoring in Russian.”
DeTraglia applied for medical school in an early acceptance program, and by the spring of her junior year had been tapped by Albany Medical College. After earning her M.D., she completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She then worked for the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica and later joined a local private practice before recently aligning with MVHS.
“I love my job, and know I will continue to care for patients,” she says. “I cannot envision a more rewarding field. The treatment changes challenge me to continue learning and growing. That’s why it’s called ‘practicing’ medicine.”