Dr. Baumgartner’s clinical work focuses on gastrointestinal disorders, soft tissue conditions and cutaneous malignancies, including mesothelioma. Dr. Baumgartner also devotes his time to researching patient outcomes from surgical oncology and reviewing early-phase clinical trials that may someday cure cancers such as mesothelioma.
“The ultimate plan is to have multiple new therapies, and research protocols in terms of treatment patients can have. We’re developing some right now.” -Dr. Joel Baumgartner
As an Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Baumgartner educates and trains surgical residents, and is the medical student surgery clerkship director. It is through this work that Dr. Baumgartner passes on his knowledge and expertise.
Dr. Baumgartner currently works at UCSD’s Thornton Hospital and the UCSD Medical Center.
Dr. Baumgartner’s Location
You can work with Dr. Baumgartner by contacting him at:
UC San Diego Health – La Jolla
Moores Cancer Center
3855 Health Sciences Drive
La Jolla, CA, 92093
Dr. Baumgartner’s Career Highlights
Some of Dr. Baumgartner’s career highlights so far include:
- Works at the largest HIPEC treatment center in the West treating mesothelioma patients
- Specialized education in clinical trials and scientific research
- Authored more than 25 published articles on mesothelioma and other cancers
Dr. Baumgartner’s Background
Dr. Joel Baumgartner started his post-secondary education at Purdue University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. He then began medical school at Indiana University, obtaining his MD in 2003. Over the next seven years, Dr. Baumgartner completed an internship followed by a residency at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Dr. Baumgartner then became a surgical oncology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. This fellowship program allowed Dr. Baumgartner to focus on clinical research and the university provided him with extended education into the development and conduction of clinical trials.
At the end of his formal education, Dr. Baumgartner became a clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In 2012, Dr. Baumgartner joined the University of San Diego’s team, working primarily at Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla, CA. He has been there ever since.
Moores Cancer Center specializes in HIPEC procedures and is western America’s largest heated chemotherapy treatment center.
Dr. Baumgartner is a board-certified surgical oncologist, who specializes in gastrointestinal, pancreatic and skin cancers. He has ample experience working with mesothelioma and other peritoneal conditions and is one the nation’s leading HIPEC practitioners.
Dr. Baumgartner’s research focuses on early-phase clinical trials, as well as surgical outcomes. He has published two articles that review surgical techniques for mesothelioma. One of these articles focuses on cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, while the other reviews the safety of diagnostic laparoscopy for patients who are suspected to have peritoneal mesothelioma.
Dr. Baumgartner’s Career Accomplishments
Dr. Baumgartner’s claim to fame is his extensive knowledge of using HIPEC to treat abdominal cancers, including mesothelioma. As part of a major HIPEC team, Dr. Baumgartner has been able to treat hundreds of mesothelioma patients and successfully extend their lives.
Dr. Baumgartner is also making his mark in the research world, having already authored more than two dozen published articles in the first fifteen years of his career. This is a remarkable contribution to the medical community and one that often takes surgeons decades to complete.
Awards & Honours
- Top Doctors – San Diego Magazine
- CMS Meaningful Use Stage 1 Certification
Dr. Baumgartner’s Current Work
Dr. Joel Baumgartner currently works at UC San Diego Health’s Moores Cancer Center where he specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal and peritoneal cancers, including mesothelioma.
Dr. Baumgartner is one of the world’s leading practitioners of hyperthermic (heated) intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and cytoreduction surgery for malignant cancers. In this procedure, Dr. Baumgartner first removes as much of the tumor as possible and then applies a targeted chemotherapy treatment directly to the impacted organs. While surgery removes the existing tumor, heated chemotherapy targets any cells that are left behind, helping reduce the likelihood of recurrence (when the mesothelioma comes back).
“Once the peritoneum is exposed to tumor cells, these tumor cells are essentially disseminated throughout the whole abdomen. They can grow, and every little crevice of the abdominal cavity can harbor these tumor cells. We know that if we just go in and remove the tumors that we can see, we’re probably leaving behind a lot of microscopic tumor cells as well. The surgery involves removing all the tumors that we can see and then, after all the tumors have been removed, we bathe the abdomen with heated chemotherapy.” Dr. Joel Baumgartner
Moores Cancer Center has the largest HIPEC program on the West Coast, which gives Dr. Baumgartner and his team a distinct advantage in helping peritoneal mesothelioma patients who need the therapy. Being such a large cancer center, their team has extensive knowledge in peritoneal mesothelioma. Everyone from the operating room staff to the nurses understand this procedure at length. Dr. Baumgartner believes this allows their team to anticipate any issues that may arise, which is essential to putting patient health first.
Dr. Baumgartner is also an assistant clinical professor in UC San Diego’s Department of Surgery, where he teaches and supervises the next generation of surgeons. He works with med students, residents, and fellows, and has been sharing his knowledge of heated chemotherapy and other mesothelioma treatments.
Dr. Joel Baumgartner is currently a member of several medical associations, including:
- Associate Member – American Association for Cancer Research
- Member – Society of Surgical Oncology
- Member – American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Associate Member – American College of Surgeons
Notable Work By Dr. Baumgartner
Cytoreductive surgery in conjunction with hyperthermic chemotherapy is becoming the standard treatment for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma and other abdominal cancers. However, this surgical approach is known to result in high levels of toxicity that can lead to unpleasant complications.
In one study, Dr. Baumgartner and his colleagues developed a new way of predicting these complications, using existing symptoms, the Charlson Comorbidity Index scoring system, and prior resection status. This new system can help medical professionals better predict and prepare for complications when patients undergo HIPEC and cytoreductive surgery.
Dr. Baumgartner’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Baumgartner is a valuable member of the Moores Cancer Center team and, as such, he follows their healing philosophy and beliefs.
Moores Cancer Center has four areas of focus: patient experience, clinical excellent, performance management, and growth. These focuses work to complement the hospital’s mission, which is “to deliver outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.” Moores Cancer Center strives to create a healthier world through new science, medicine, and cures.