William Velasquez, M.D.: On the Front Line of Cancer Care
As a young man, William Velasquez was attracted to medicine for the opportunity it gave him to use deductive reasoning to find solutions to problems – and the excitement that accompanies the discovery and sharing of new knowledge in ways that help others. Today, you’ll find him helping patients overcome cancer at Oncology Consultants of Houston, in the group’s practice located on the campus of Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.
A native of Lima, Peru, Dr. Velasquez received his medical degree at San Marcos University in his hometown, and then chose to come to the United States for training. “The training in this country is unsurpassed,” he says.
He completed his residency in internal medicine at Memorial Hospital in Worchester, Massachusetts, in 1973, and went on to complete a hematology fellowship at the University of Cincinnati in 1975. When he had the opportunity to begin a fellowship in medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he relocated to Houston. Following completion of the fellowship, he was offered a position as staff physician at the cancer hospital, where he advanced to associate professor of medicine and remained until 1992. He was recruited to the University of St. Louis as a professor of medicine and served as deputy chief of the hematology/oncology unit at St. Louis University Hospital until 1997.
An offer from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston brought him back to Texas, where he served as chair of the department of Hematology/Oncology until 2001. Following private practice for three years at Texas Oncology, he joined Oncology Consultants, P.A., in 2005.
Within the discipline of medical oncology, Dr. Velasquez has a special interest in leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. An active researcher, he has published nearly 200 articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of the Institutional Review Board at The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) at Houston and the Memorial Hermann Health System.
In his spare time, Dr. Velasquez plays tennis and soccer. He is also devoted to his family, which includes two grown children and five grandchildren.
Dr. Velasquez approaches his profession with care, concern and empathy. “Many of our patients have very serious illnesses,” he says. “They are desperate when they come to us, or have serious concerns about their lives and the consequences of treatment. Our first step is to eliminate any physical or emotional suffering. Then we consider survival. In this setting, compassion is the operative word. As a practice, we play close attention to detail. We do good oncology quietly, without making a big noise about it.”