Meet Dr. Popplewell

Dr. Leslie Popplewell joined City of Hope Duarte as a hematologist in 1998 while pursuing a fellowship in bone marrow transplants. In July 2023, she moved to City of Hope Atlanta as its Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Medical Director, with a special focus on treating patients with hematologic malignancies, especially lymphoma, at City of Hope locations in both Atlanta and Chicago. In her director role, she collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to build and grow the hospital’s bone marrow and stem cell transplant (BMT) program. She especially appreciates the way City of Hope approaches its bone marrow transplant program—rather than a limited window into a patient's journey just for a transplant, she’s had the opportunity to be with them through the entire process.

After earning her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Popplewell completed her residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She went on to complete a fellowship in medical oncology with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York, before coming to City of Hope Duarte to complete her fellowship in bone marrow transplants.

“Increasingly, my goal is not to just save patient’s lives, but to let them live their lives at home with their families,” says Dr. Popplewell. “I want my patients to be able to work, have leisure activities and feel as normal as possible.”

Dr. Popplewell was originally drawn to medicine due to her lifelong passion for biology and the life sciences. After initially pursuing a specialty in optometry, she realized she was more interested in exploring the human body in a way only oncology would allow. She especially loves how she’s able to collaborate with many specialists to help patients along their treatment journeys and how deeply involved she’s able to be in her patients’ long-term care.

“I want my patients to know what their choices are with their treatments, be it new drugs, new technology or new treatment paths,” she says. "Cancer treatment can be difficult, so let’s make it as easy as possible while providing the best care."

Heavily involved in research, Dr. Popplewell is well published on topics ranging from age limits for bone marrow transplantation to oral complications of cancer and cancer therapy. She finds the clinical trial process particularly exciting, especially being on the cusp of new drugs being developed and approved. She’s a member of numerous professional associations, including the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Outside of City of Hope, Dr. Popplewell likes to hike, spend time outdoors and knit. She’s also passionate about community service and volunteered with Young & Healthy, a program that provides free medical care to low-income, uninsured children in the greater Pasadena community during her time in California.

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Medical school: University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY
Residency: Internal Medicine - Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Fellowship: Medical Oncology and Hematology - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Bone Marrow Transplant - City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, CA

Hematology — American Board of Internal Medicine
Oncology — American Board of Internal Medicine

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