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On November 14, UNC Medicine held one of our largest events of the year to say “thank you” to our amazing supporters. As we enter the holiday season of gratitude, we are ever thankful for the philanthropic generosity from each and every one of our donors, and for gifts of all sizes. Our life-changing patient care, research, and education would not be possible without you!

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed interactive stations highlighting UNC Medicine’s signature initiatives and the innovative work and research by our faculty.

“As you move through the stations this evening, learning more about the research, clinical care, and education occurring in our School of Medicine and Health Care System, I encourage you to ask our faculty what motivates them and how they got started in their work – you will hear some amazing stories,” UNC Health Care CEO Wesley Burks, MD, said in his remarks. “Tonight we are here to celebrate all of your stories, and the power we have to improve the health of the people of our state, our nation, and even our world.”

Keep scrolling to see some of the highlights from this one-of-a-kind event, held at CURRENT Artspace + Studio in Chapel Hill!


The Advancing Health station highlighted surgical simulation and robotic medical assistance with two da Vinci Surgical Systems, presented by:

Eric M. Wallen, MD, Vice Chair of Education; Residency Program Director; Professor of Urologic Oncology, Robotic Surgery

Jason M. Long, MD, MPH, Co-Director, UNC Lung Cancer Screening Clinic; Assistant Professor of Surgery

Trevor Hackman, MD, Associate Professor, Otolaryngology; Fellowship Director, Advanced Surgical Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction


Claire Barber, RN, BSN, Inpatient Infant Care Coordinator, UNC Health Care Newborn Critical Care Center

Barber highlighted UNC Children’s Family Time cameras, showing a live stream of a baby currently in the UNC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Thanks to UNC Medicine’s successful 8-week NICU fundraising campaign, families of infants in the unit can spend time with their babies via real-time camera streaming when they cannot be present in person.


Jonathan S. Serody, MD, Elizabeth Thomas Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Immunotherapy

Dr. Serody’s station highlighted UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s CAR-T immunotherapy research. This innovative cancer treatment approach involves removing a patient’s immune cells and genetically engineering them to recognize and attack cancer.


UNC School of Medicine students Lily Wilkinson and Dan Bacon (not pictured) presented a hands-on demonstration of the use of ultrasound to highlight the School’s new ultrasound curriculum aiming to increase access across the state, especially in outpatient settings. This will have a major impact in rural areas where these services are not available. The station was led by John Doughton, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine; Co-Director, UNC School of Medicine Ultrasound Teaching.


Lauren Lux, Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program Director

Andrew Smitherman, MD, MSc, Medical Director, UNC Adolescents and Young Adults Oncology Program; Assistant Professor, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Lux and Dr. Smitherman lead the UNC Adolescent and Young Adults Oncology Program, an initiative dedicated to offering support for the unique needs of cancer patients aged 13 to 40. The program offers one-on-one support, events for patients, financial and emotional resources, and connections to peer support.


Loretta Muss, N.C. Cancer Hospital Patient & Family Advisory Council Coordinator

Muss presented a display of wigs and head scarves offered by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Mary Anne Long Brighter Image Boutique. Muss is passionate about helping cancer patients look and feel their best in the midst of cancer treatments. “Patients leave our boutique walking straighter, they feel better about themselves, and for a brief period of time, cancer is put to the back of their minds,” Muss says.


Virtual Reality Station for the new UNC Health Care Surgical Tower.

Guest got a special virtual tour of the state-of-the-art, 335,000-square-foot UNC Surgical Tower, which is in the early phases of construction with completion planned for 2022. The building will feature 24 operating rooms, two hybrid operating rooms, 56 pre- and post-operating rooms, and two floors of ICU space with 56 beds.


Jeffrey Stringer, MD, Professor & Division Director, Global Women’s Health

Elizabeth M. Stringer, MD, MSc, Associate Professor, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

The Stringers featured their groundbreaking work in health care across the globe, particularly in developing countries such as Zambia, where they lived for twelve years working to make childbirth safer for women.


A performace by the MedUNCedoos. The MedUNCedoos are a co-ed a cappella group of nearly 20 students that was founded in the fall of 2009. The group is composed of medical students and health sciences graduate students that enjoy the community of music for a few hours per week. The range of musical background spans from collegiate opera majors to professional shower singers.


Supporters Cecil and Linda Sewell discuss their enduring relationship with Saira Z. Sheikh, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine; Director, UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic; Director, Clinical Trials Program at UNC’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center.


Photography by Steve Exum.




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