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Health Check: Ponnandai Somasundar named Top Doc in geriatric oncology

Dr. Ponnandai Somasundar is one of more than 150 doctors in Rhode Island named tops in their field by a group of their peers.

Editor's Note: Every year, Rhode Island Monthly releases its Top Docs issue. These are doctors in a variety of specialties who are named tops in their field by their peers. The complete list of Top Docs will be in the May issue of Rhode Island Monthly.

"I'm an ever optimist," said Dr. Ponnandai Somasundar.

"My favorite saying is always if the patients are not positive nothing can be done by us. The first word is hope. For the patients, I always tell them If you don't look at it positively, none of it can be obtained. We cannot give adequate care for you."

Having said that, Somasundar has a special affinity for seniors with cancer.

"Patients with cancer are elderly. They have a lot of unique problems that they deal with," said Somasundar.

That's why he started and is director of the geriatric oncology program at Roger Williams Medical Center.

His interest in doctoring is a family tradition.

"I'm originally from Chennai, India, and I come from a family of doctors," he said.

His father was a doctor.

"I continued my career here because I didn't want to grow under a banyan tree under him, so I wanted to leave the space and come out and grow on my own," Somasundar said.

And grow he has. This is the third year in a row that this husband and father of two has been named a Top Doc in the field of surgical and geriatric oncology.

"It's thrilling," he said.

His patients think so too.

"I didn't realize he was named Top Doc,” said Tammy Mangan, who has been his patient for almost five years. “I'm very proud that he is my doc."

Somasundar is one of more than 150 doctors in Rhode Island named tops in their field by a group of their peers. And you can learn more about all of them in the May issue of Rhode Island Monthly.

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