At the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology you will find a dedicated team of highly trained professionals that work together to provide the most appropriate, individualized care for each of our patients. At ACFRO, our team consists of providers, medical techs, administrative staff, and our patients. We share the same objective: eliminating cancer. Below is a brief description of our roles, and an introduction to our team members.
What is a Radiation Oncologist?
A radiation oncologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the use of radiation for treating cancer. We’re proud to have two very talented and committed radiation oncologists at the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology. Their role includes reviewing all pertinent medical information to determine the most successful course of treatment for each patient. They also work with referring physicians and other health care providers in determining the right plan of treatment for you. Once a course of treatment has been determined, the radiation oncologist will prescribe and plan how your treatment will be given. Throughout treatment, they will track your progress and adjust the treatment, as necessary, to make sure that you receive the safest and most effective treatment.
Dr. Richard Garza Bio
Dr. Richard Garza is a board certified Radiation Oncologist. He is a graduate of The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he earned his Medical Degree and was elected class president. He completed his Radiation Oncology residency at Loyola University Chicago Medical Center.
Dr. Garza comes to the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology with acclaim in both medical practice and academic leadership in the field of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Garza has spent an extensive amount of time training in 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, and GU/GYN Brachytherapy. After completing residency, he was recruited to stay at Loyola, where he climbed the ranks to Assistant Professor. During his tenure, he was designated as Medical Director for the University Radiation Clinic at the Hines Veterans Administration Radiation Clinic, and the Radiation Oncology Residency Program Director.
Dr. Garza has treated thousands of cancer patients with radiation therapy, and has a special interest and expertise in the treatment of prostate cancer. Since joining ACFRO, Dr. Garza has treated 1,500 men in Central Texas alone (since June 2020). This number does not include his many years of practice in Chicago. In addition, he has published both textbook and scientific journal articles related to cancer and radiation therapy.
Richard Garza, MD has been recognized as a “Top Doctor” under the category of Radiation Oncology in the 2019 – 2022 editions of Austin Monthly Magazine. He was also recognized as a “Super Doctor” under the category of Radiation Oncology by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2020 and 2021.
Click here to watch Dr. Garza’s interview on KEYE TVs We Are Austin morning show. His interview focused on the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology and their expertise treating men with prostate cancer.
Click below to listen to Dr. Garza discuss men’s health and the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology!
Dr. Niraj Pahlajani Bio
Dr. Niraj Pahlajani is delighted to be seeing patients at the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology (ACFRO). Dr. Pahlajani joined ACFRO because of the excellent quality of prostate radiotherapy that is delivered here, and the comprehensive treatment options given to patients by virtue of a close collaboration with specialists at Urology Austin.
Dr. Pahlajani has treated thousands of prostate cancer patients, and he has received dedicated training at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is internationally recognized for excellence in prostate cancer radiotherapy. He is board certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. He also has extensive experience treating cancers using a precise and highly effective form of radiation known as stereotactic body radiation (SBRT) and over the years has gained experience with both Rapid Arc and CyberKnife techniques. He used such techniques at the START center in San Antonio, TX to treat prostate cancer and abdominal malignancies just prior to his arrival at ACFRO.
Dr. Pahlajani was also an academic radiation oncologist at Baylor Scott and White Health in Temple, TX. While there, he was Director of Quality and Director of Radiosurgery. During this time, he was also Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine, where he was actively engaged in teaching residents and medical students. He enjoys keeping up with the latest advancements in oncology and regularly attends national meetings. Because of this, he is able to bring state of the art techniques as well as evidence-based cancer care to patients who come to see him from all over Texas.
Dr. Pahlajani and his wife play tennis recreationally in their spare time, and he also spins on his Peloton bike. They have a lovely daughter who is a talented young vocalist. Apparently, she does not fall too far from the apple tree: A well-guarded secret is that in his youth, Dr. Pahlajani used to sing quite a bit.
Dr. Pahlajani is now accepting new patients and scheduling consultations. Contact our office at 512-687-1950 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pahlajani.
Evelina Kaminski, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC
Evelina Kaminski is an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology seeing patients under the supervision of Dr. Garza. Evelina completed her Master of Science in Nursing, from the School of Nursing, at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. In 2017, she also received designations as an Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist – Board Certified, American Nurses Credentialing Center(ANCC), and an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).
With a special interest in Oncology, Evelina believes that forming patient-centered partnerships is critical to improving patient health outcomes and patient quality of life. She feels that therapeutic relationships based on respect, trust and empathy allow patients to maintain their autonomy and empower them to make informed decisions about all aspects of care.
Medical Physicist and Dosimetrist
At the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology, the medical physicist / dosimetrist is responsible for designing a treatment plan and carrying out calculations for the delivery of radiation for each patient. This plan is based on the radiation oncologist’s prescribed course of treatment, and takes into consideration tumor pathology, tumor volume, and inherent dose-limiting structures surrounding the tumor. The treatment plan and radiation field-placement techniques are constructed utilizing sophisticated computer equipment and technology. Brad Pollard is the medical physicist / dosimetrist at ACFRO. Brad works with Dr. Garza to construct a treatment plan that meets the prescription written for radiotherapy. This plan is designed to target the tumor, while ensuring that minimal levels of radiation affect surrounding healthy tissue. Once the treatment plan is complete, Brad works closely with the radiation therapists to implement the prescribed plan.
Brad Pollard, Medical Physicist Bio
Brad Pollard started his career in the field of radiotherapy in 2003, and recently rejoined The Austin Center for Radiation (ACFRO) where he was previously employed from 2010 until 2015.
Brad Pollard earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Computer Science, from California Polytechnic State University located in San Luis Obispo, California. Following graduation, he completed a Master’s Degree in Medical Physics from Columbia University in New York City, as well as a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Santa Clara University in California.
As a Medical Physicist at ACFRO, Brad works closely with Dr. Richard Garza to develop the best and most appropriate radiation treatment plan for each patient. Brad’s long-term experience allows him to expertly analyze the needs of each patient, and collaborate with Dr. Garza to individualize patient care. For the safety of patients, Brad is also responsible for measuring and monitoring radiation that exits ACFRO’s radiation machine.
Medical team and support staff
Stephanie Tosti, LVN
Stephanie joined the ACFRO team in December 2020. Stephanie received her LVN license from Hill College School of Nursing (Accredited) and is CPR certified. She has been in the medical field since 2008. At ACFRO, the favorite part of her job is being able to help and comfort patients everyday and making a difference in their lives. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys traveling, cooking, fishing, boating, football and spending time with her husband and two rescue dogs.
ACFRO Radiation Therapists
Radiation Therapist: Radiation therapists are highly skilled health care professionals who are integral members of the cancer care team. Radiation therapists use advanced computer systems to operate sophisticated radiation therapy equipment such as a Linear Accelerator. The radiation therapist works closely with the radiation oncologist, medical physicist and other members of the health care team. Since the course of radiation therapy can extend over several weeks, the radiation therapist is responsible for monitoring the condition of the patient and is required to assess if changes to the treatment plan are necessary. The therapist takes images of the targeted treatment area and reproduces the patient positioning and plan parameters daily.
At ACFRO, our team of Radiation Therapists are key members of your care team. The radiation therapists work in coordination with the Radiation Oncologist and the Medical Physicist to administer the radiation treatment to each patient. They are responsible for monitoring all of the machines to ensure the proper dosage is administered for the safety of patients. Our radiation therapists are all licensed by the Texas Medical Board and accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Erick joined the ACFRO team in October 2014. Erick received his BSRT(T) from Texas State University, has his Texas Medical Board License, ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Accredited and is CPR certified. He is also a member of ASRT Foundation (American Society of Radiologic Technologists). He loves being a part of this team and enjoys the opportunity to give his best care possible to each patient. When he is not working, he plays volleyball, loves running, hiking and playing with his dog.
Kristianne joined the ACFRO team in October of 2017. Kristianne received her BSRT(T) from Texas State University, has her Texas Medical Board License, ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Accredited and is CPR certified. She is also a member of ASRT Foundation (American Society of Radiologic Technologists). Kristianne’s favorite part of her job is working closely with each patient to help them through the unfamiliar situation, and to feel more at ease in their surroundings and treatment. Kristianne loves all the outdoor activities that Austin has to offer. She enjoys kayaking, traveling and spending time with family.
Katherine joined the ACFRO team in May 2018. Katherine received her BSRT(T) from Texas State University, has her Texas Medical Board License, ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Accredited and is CPR certified. She is also a member of member of ASRT Foundation (American Society of Radiologic Technologists). Katherine is excited to come to work each day to see the incredible patients, learn about their lives, and help ease them through what could be a difficult time while providing them the highest standard of care. Outside of work, Katherine loves being outdoors, hanging out with friends and her dog. She also likes to travel, explore new places and learn new things.
Lisa joined the ACFRO team in October 2020. Lisa received her BSRT(T) from Texas State University, has her Texas Medical Board License, ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Accredited and is CPR certified. She is also a member of member of ASRT Foundation (American Society of Radiologic Technologists). She enjoys getting to know the patients throughout their treatments and helping to support them through a difficult time. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters that keep her busy!
Rhonda joined the ACFRO team in January 2022. Rhonda received her RT(T) from Springfield Technical Community College. She has her Texas Medical Board License, ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Accredited and is CPR certified. She is also a member of member of ASRT Foundation (American Society of Radiologic Technologists). She loves the relationships that are built over time through trust and compassion with the patients. In Rhonda’s free time, she loves to spend time with friends and family.
Radiation Patient Liaison: Corina is the Radiation Patient Liaison at ACFRO. She handles all patient billing, verifying benefits, and authorizations for radiation, Provenge, and Xofigo. She was previously a Patient Service Representative at ACFRO from 2015 to 2017, then came back in April 2018 in the role of Radiation Patient Liaison. Corina loves being a part of the ACFRO family and is dedicated to exhausting all measures to ease some of the financial burdens that may come with receiving treatment at ACFRO.
Patient Service Representative: Patient Service Representatives, or PSRs greet each patient as they arrive for their radiation appointments. They are available to answer questions regarding billing, practice policies, and available services. PSRs file documentation and maintain a filing system for patient charts. They also register patients in our system, verify that records are up-to-date and accurate, and make appropriate changes in the computer system. PSRs also collect payment from patients, apply payments, and make any necessary adjustments to patient accounts.
When arriving at the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology, patients receive a warm greeting and assistance from our Patient Service Representatives Jenavie and Isabel. Jenavie joined the ACFRO team in March of 2012. Isabel joined Urology Austin in July 2014, and then transferred to ACFRO in February 2018.
At the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology, our team of professionals are dedicated to providing the most effective and personalized care for each patient. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Richard Garza.