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Amarillo Surgeons Return to Their Roots

January 06, 2020

As the old adage goes, “You’ll always find your way back home.” The sentiment rings true for Anne Doughtie, M.D., and Rachel Weinheimer, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo. After spending years honing their specialized surgical skills in roles across the country, these two surgeons are back in the Panhandle to plant roots and become integral members of the local healthcare community they seemed destined to become a part of since their youth.

“Growing up, I was surrounded by surgeons,” Dr. Doughtie said. “I always expected to return home as a surgeon to help the community I grew up in.”

Dr. Weinheimer agreed. “Both of my parents were physicians in the area, so I grew up respecting local doctors who treated people here” she said.

When both women returned to Amarillo, they did so with impressive educational and professional experience. Dr. Doughtie earned her medical doctorate at Texas Tech University Health Science Center, before completing her Master of Public Health, residency in general surgery, and fellowship in surgical oncology, at the University of Louisville. Dr. Weinheimer earned her medical doctorate at The University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, then completed her residency at Penn State University, and her fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Dr. Doughtie joined Texas Oncology in 2016. At first, she was the only Texas Oncology surgeon practicing in Amarillo. With hopes of building a larger surgical practice, Dr. Doughtie learned of another surgeon from the area finishing up a colorectal surgery fellowship in Houston.

“Dr. Doughtie called and said there was a need for me in Amarillo,” Dr. Weinheimer said. “There were no women in the area performing colorectal cancer surgeries or even any gastrointestinal procedures.”

“She had a great education and pedigree,” Dr. Doughtie said. “I knew she would make a huge impact, and that’s what we wanted for this community.” 

Dr. Weinheimer stands as the only woman in the Panhandle to provide colonoscopies.

“A lot of women prefer to have another woman perform these types of exams,” Dr Weinheimer said. “I screen women, specifically, who did not previously feel comfortable getting screened. That’s very important, as colon cancer rates in people under 50 have risen dramatically.”

Under Dr. Doughtie’s leadership, the growing team of specialized surgeons in Amarillo can now treat cancer occurring in nearly every area of a patient’s body – a major advancement for the small community. Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo is now able to treat conditions like skin cancer, a disease occurring more frequently in the Panhandle, which previously involved relocation to bigger cities.

Additionally, routine procedures performed by traditional methods for many years have advanced due to targeted treatments specific to each patient, greatly improving quality of life for many patients.

“All of these major cities have high-tech, specialized surgical care, and Texas Oncology brings that here,” Dr. Doughtie said.

While there are professional opportunities in other large metro areas, there’s comfort in practicing in Amarillo and treating local patients in the place that they’ve long called home.”

“Both of us have strong family roots here,” Dr. Doughtie continued. “This is what we’ve known all our lives. It’s not big or flashy, but this is our home.”

And for Dr. Weinheimer, practicing specifically at Texas Oncology runs even deeper – past county lines and into family lines.

“The biggest draw to Texas Oncology was the fact that they took care of my mother when she was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer,” she said. “She passed away three years later, while I was still in medical school in Dallas, but that experience solidified my decision to work in cancer care.” 

As dedicated physicians, like Dr. Doughtie and Dr. Weinheimer, bring their education and skills to rural communities, areas like Amarillo will continue to see innovation and advancements in cancer care, including surgical robotics, clinical trials, targeted therapy, and more. 

“People don’t want to leave the area,” said Dr. Weinheimer. “They feel comfortable in their own community, so they appreciate that they we can provide high-quality, modern cancer care right here.”


For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org