NHS is pleased to welcome Dr. Frederick Willison, a radiation oncologist at NHS’s Northeast Oklahoma Cancer Center. Willison replaced Dr. Daniel Murphey following Murphey’s unexpected death in 2017.
“I was close personal friends with Daniel P. Murphy, M.D., the former medical director who passed away unexpectedly last year. I worked closely with him as a colleague and knew of the potential for NHS from that relationship,” said Willison. “I have also worked closely with several of the Warren Clinic medical oncologists in Tahlequah for over 20 years. Those relationships created a natural fit. In addition, the executive leadership of NHS is uniquely collaborative and inspirational. They are dedicated to moving the health system into the forefront of medical care in Oklahoma through partnerships with physicians.”
Willison graduated from the Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. He completed his radiation oncology residency at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, however, radiation oncology wasn’t his immediate choice.
“I started a residency in Internal Medicine with plans to be a cardiologist until I did an elective in radiation oncology,” said Willison. “I learned that I loved the patients, the technology, and the possibility of completely curing life-threatening problems. The serious nature of the illness creates a special bond between doctor and patient. The field presents daily challenges to win the most important battle a person may ever face. New technologies are frequently developed providing a lifelong opportunity to learn new things with great potential.”
Like his predecessor, Dr. Murphy, Willison is known as one of the premier radiation oncologists in northeast Oklahoma.
“We have been very blessed to have two of the best radiation oncologists in the area work for us,” said Wiley Bottger, cancer center dosimetrist. “Dr. Willison is an amazing physician. Our patients and staff are very blessed to have him here.”
While NHS is located in a rural setting, Willison offers patients advanced treatment options typically found only in larger cities.
“Patients in rural settings are very similar to patients in urban settings, however, they have not always had as many options. I find that they are more appreciative for the care they receive, and that in turn makes me more appreciative of the opportunity to serve them,” said Willison. “I provide the most modern technologies of treatment available including intensity modulated radiation therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery. The facility and equipment available for my specialty at NHS are top of the line, well maintained, and supported by an excellent staff.”
Willison practices evidence based medicine, focused on the individual patient. He place a priority on developing a sense of confidence, trust, and partnership with the patient and his/her family as they fight an important battle together. He is a member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, American College of Radiation Oncology, the Radiosurgery Society, and former board member of the Oklahoma Society of Clinical Oncology.
Willison and his wife of 31 years, Nicole, a registered nurse, have two daughters, Amanda, 20, a college student in Tulsa, and Alexandra, 25, a second grade teacher in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Willison and his wife met in high school in Washington, D.C.
“My wife and I were born and raised in suburban Washington, DC, where we spent our first 33 years,” said Willison. “We moved to Oklahoma in 1997. We tried to move back ‘home’ in 2004 but after two years realized we liked in better in Oklahoma and moved back! I was the medical director of radiation oncology and Cyberknife radiosurgery at St John in Tulsa since 1997 prior to coming to NHS in December. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to serve the people in the Tahlequah region.”
In his spare time, Willison enjoys, what he calls, an “out of control hobby,” restoring classic cars. He has a shop set up for mechanical, bodywork and painting, all of which he does himself. He is also a proud veteran, having served in the United States Army for 12 years as Chief of Radiation Oncology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., until 1997.
“I enjoy the patients, cancer center staff, and physician colleagues, all of whom make working here a joy,” said Willison.