Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Welcome to the Division of Gynecologic Oncology (GynOnc) at UC Davis Health. Our team is committed to providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for every patient. The division is also a leader in cancer research, and its clinic in Sacramento is a primary site for clinical trials that can offer new hope for patients. Learn more about us.
Rebecca Ann Brooks, M.D.
Clinical Associate Professor
Division Director and Fellowship Director, Gynecologic Oncology
Dr. Brooks joined the UC Davis faculty in December 2018. Outstanding clinical care is the foundation of her practice. Her special interests include radical pelvic surgery and upper abdominal debulking for advanced cancer, as well as, advanced robotic and laparoscopic surgery. She is highly skilled in delivering systemic therapy for gynecologic malignancies from standard chemotherapy, to the use of novel biologic and experimental agents. Her most recent research has focused on genetic differences that influence the risk of metastatic disease in women with endometrial cancer. Dr. Brooks was awarded a grant by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) for this work and has presented her findings at several national meetings. Her other mission is medical education. She served as fellowship program director at the University of Chicago, and will be taking over the gynecologic oncology fellowship program at UC Davis in the fall of 2019.
Dr. Brooks was recruited to UC Davis from the University of Chicago where she served as Associate Professor and Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program Director. Additionally, she completed a certificate program in medical education (MERITS program). She also served as assistant clinical professor at UCSF from 2010 to 2015. She is excited to bring these experiences to Sacramento.
Vanessa Kennedy, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor
Dr. Kennedy was recruited to the UC Davis faculty after she completed the institution's Gynecologic Oncology fellowship in June of 2014. She provides surgical care and chemotherapy to women with gynecologic malignancies. Dr. Kennedy performs specialized procedures in minimally invasive surgery, including Robotic surgery for appropriate patients with cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancers. During her research year at the University of Chicago, Dr. Kennedy's research focused on assessing the utility of a tool to address sexual health at the initial Gynecologic Oncology visit, as well as a comparison of patients perceived and measured vaginal capacity She is interested in sexual function concerns for women with cancer. Dr. Kennedy’s research interests include assessing patient understanding of the potential sexual implications of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and providing sexual health counseling and support for female cancer patients.
Hui "Amy" Chen, M.D.
Starting in Fall of 2019
Gary Leiserowitz, M.D., M.S.
Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division Chief and Fellowship Director, Gynecologic Oncology
Dr. Leiserowitz is board-certified in Gynecologic Oncology and specializes in minimally invasive surgery. His research interests includes the development of a potential new blood test for ovarian cancer using glycomics analysis, and outcomes-based research with recent work focusing on identifying predictive factors for long- term survival in ovarian cancer, with two major grant applications pending. He serves as an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, both for general exams and subspecialty exams in Gynecologic Oncology. He has been listed a number of times over the years as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” including 2013.
Rachel Ruskin, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor
Dr. Rachel Ruskin joined the Gynecologic Oncology division after completing fellowships in both Gynecologic Oncology at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OK and Hospice & Palliative Care at UC San Francisco Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. She believes that cancer happens not only to an individual, but also to the individual’s family and friends. As a result, she strives to support both her patients and their loved ones physically, emotionally, and spiritually as they face the stress of a gynecologic cancer diagnosis. Dr. Ruskin prides herself in personalizing each patient’s treatment plan through a variety of surgical approaches, chemotherapy regimens, and targeted agents. Utilizing her training in palliative medicine, she seeks to optimize quality of life for her patients during and after their cancer treatment and to ensure that the plan of care is in line with each woman’s values and goals. Her research interests include improving symptom assessment and management, as well as increasing shared decision-making between women and their physicians.
Lloyd Smith, M.D., Ph.D.
former Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Smith is board-certified in Gynecologic Oncology. His research interests include outcomes-based research, and he has authored multiple studies related to cancer in pregnancy and early symptoms associated with ovarian cancer. He has served as an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has been listed a number of times over the years as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” including 2013.