Our Team

Lauren Lux, LCSW

Lauren Lux, LCSW

Program Director

Lauren Lux (she/her), LCSW, directs the AYA Oncology Program at UNC. Her work as Program Director focuses on patient care, psychosocial research, programming, provider education, quality improvement, and advocacy. Along with her fabulous partners, she leads efforts to improve care for AYAs around the state of North Carolina and is involved in the advancement of the AYA oncology field in the United States. She has worked as a clinical social worker in the field of oncology throughout her career and her clinical practice and program work is inspired and informed by the incredible young people she meets every day.

Andrew Smitherman, MD MSc

Andrew Smitherman, MD MSc

Medical Director

Andrew “Smitty” Smitherman (he/him) focuses his research and clinical effort on improving cancer care for adolescents and young adults as well as survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer. His work to date has examined the patterns of health care usage among survivors to characterize emerging chronic treatment-related morbidities. Building on this experience, he is currently studying the use biomarkers of aging for the early identification of the treatment-related morbidities as well as factors associated with clinical trial enrollment among AYAs.

Catherine Swift, LCSW

Catherine Swift, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

Catherine Swift (she/her), LCSWA, provides direct patient care for the AYA population, acting as a counselor, advocate, and support services coordinator for teens and young adults. She also works with young parents facing advanced cancer as a research study interventionist. With a background in narrative medicine, religious studies, and palliative care, she is passionate about helping AYAs navigate the complex roles and identities they inhabit as young people, cancer patients, and so much more.

Melissa Matson, MSN, RN

Melissa Matson, MSN, RN

Nurse Practitioner

As the AYA Nurse Practitioner, Melissa (she/her) brings years of experience caring for folks with cancer in both the inpatient and outpatient setting, first as a staff nurse, then nurse navigator, and now nurse practitioner. During that time, she has developed a passion for helping meet the unique needs of young adults whose lives have been interrupted by cancer. In her role as AYA Nurse Practitioner, Melissa focuses on: enrollment of AYAs onto clinical trials, AYA Survivorship Care, and running the AYA multidisciplinary consult service.

Jordan Lodato Hunt, MSW, LCSW

Jordan Lodato Hunt, MSW, LCSW

Fertility Preservation Program Director

Jordan Lodato Hunt (she/her) oversees the fertility preservation program. She meets with every newly diagnosed AYA patient to discuss how cancer treatment might impact their fertility, as well as the options available to preserve fertility, if desired. Jordan is available to provide supportive counseling throughout the fertility preservation process – before, during, or after cancer treatment. Jordan is the only person at UNC who exclusively focuses on supporting patients living with conditions that may impact fertility, and her position is the result of a collaboration between the Lineberger Cancer Center and the Ob/Gyn Department.

Julie Childers, MD, PhD

Julie Childers, MD, PhD

Palliative Care Specialist

Julie S. W. Chiders (she/her), MD PhD is a palliative care physician who focuses on complex symptom management, helping to understand a prognosis, and navigating difficult conversations and decisions. She helped to establish the Palliative Care Sarcoma Collaborative, a collaboration among medical oncology, social work, and palliative care teams geared toward providing the best possible care to young adults with sarcoma. Her goal is to ensure that our young adult patients receive the cancer care that is best aligned with their goals and values at every point in their illness trajectory regardless of prognosis.

Daniel Kleissler

Daniel Kleissler

Clinical Research Associate

Dan Kleissler (he/him) coordinates support for the research needs of the AYA team. Primarily, Dan supports the creation of the AYA Cancer Registry, a groundbreaking effort to collect longitudinal data from AYA cancer patients at UNC. This data will support Dr. Smitherman’s work on accelerated aging among survivors and will be a valuable resource to AYA-focused cancer studies conducted by other researchers at UNC and beyond.