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Headshot of Donald Rosenstein
UNC Lineberger’s Donald Rosenstein, MD.

The American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) presented UNC Lineberger’s Donald Rosenstein, MD, with the Jimmie Holland Lifetime Achievement Award during its 20th annual conference in Portland, Oregon, March 15.

Rosenstein, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, is the founding director of the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program at the N.C. Basnight Cancer Hospital, UNC Lineberger’s clinical home, and division head of general adult psychiatry in the department of psychiatry.

“Jimmie Holland was a truly extraordinary woman…a brilliant, tireless, inspiring, and highly effective pioneer in providing compassionate psychosocial care for people with cancer and their loved ones. She created APOS, edited the major textbook and journal of psycho-oncology and trained countless clinicians and researchers. To be honored in this way is deeply meaningful and quite humbling,” Rosenstein said.

The Jimmie Holland Lifetime Achievement Award honors an APOS member who best embodies the qualities of leadership and patient-centered care, like Dr. Jimmie Holland, one of the founders of the field of psychosocial oncology and the founder of APOS. The awardee is recognized for distinguished leadership in the field of psychosocial oncology, with outstanding contributions in leadership, training, research, clinical practice, and service to APOS.

“Don is one of the most respected leaders in the field of psycho-oncology and we were so fortunate he accepted our offer to join our faculty in 2009 as we opened the N.C. Basnight Cancer Hospital,” said UNC Lineberger Director Shelley Earp, MD. “We wanted a visionary leader to establish our comprehensive cancer support program for all who came to us for care. His blend of innovation, humanity, and practicality led us in a spectacular fashion, from new ideas to improve the well-being not only of the patient but the family to growing a program that has quadrupled in size.”

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Colleagues celebrate Rosenstein at the APOS conference.

Earp said Rosenstein’s influence at UNC and the cancer center is evident every day. “His mentoring of faculty and staff extend the program’s reach as the needs and numbers of our patients have multiplied. This wonderful award, named for the quintessential psycho-oncology role model, Jimmie Holland, recognizes his impact on the national stage, his thoughtful approaches, his leadership and his creativity.”

Prior to coming to UNC, Rosenstein held leadership roles at the National Institutes of Health over the course of 17 years, including clinical director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the Behavioral Endocrinology Branch and the chief of the NIH psychiatry consultation-liaison service. He also served as vice-chair of the NIH medical executive committee and chaired the NIMH institutional review board.

He is past president of the Academy of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry as well as APOS.

In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Rosenstein conducts research focused on financial navigation as an intervention for cancer-related financial toxicity, screening initiatives for suicide risk in the medical setting, and organizational leadership. He has published his research findings in leading medical journals, and he co-authored with UNC Lineberger’s Justin Yopp, PhD, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, a book that looked at the grieving process, adaptation and resiliency as experienced by the seven men following the death of their partner.