Lauren Lux, LCSW
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 “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.
Emily Haines, PhD
Emily Haines (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Implementation Science at Wake Forest School of Medicine and Member of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Haines is also Research Director for the AYA Cancer Program at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research is at the intersection of implementation science and cancer care delivery, with a focus on AYA oncology. Much of her work focuses on improving care delivery and equity for AYAs through the user-centered development and implementation of interventions to coordinate multidisciplinary services and resources which address AYAs’ physical, psychosocial, and practical needs.
Catherine Swift, LCSW
Catherine Swift (she/her), LCSW, 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
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 (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 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.
Jacob Stein, MD, MPH
Jacob Stein (he/him) is a medical oncologist caring for patients with sarcoma and a health services researcher focused on improving cancer care delivery and equity. As AYA Oncology Liaison, he helps lead the Palliative Care Sarcoma Collaborative alongside Dr. Childers, leverages his outcomes research experience to study the effects of the UNC AYA Cancer Program, and advises on AYA quality improvement efforts. Additionally, he serves as a resource to represent the needs of AYAs within the Division of Oncology.
Daniel Kleissler, CCRC
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.