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Pathologist Robert Homer, MD, PhD, on Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November 24, 2021

1. As we honor lung awareness month, what do you want our patients and families to remember?

During November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the month of the the Great American Smokeout, It’s a good reminder to our patients, our community, and our colleagues who need to hear it to stop smoking cigarettes, and for everyone to encourage others to do the same. Smilow Cancer Hospital has a Tobacco Treatment Program to support all our patients and families.

2. How do you collaborate with the Center for Thoracic Cancers at Smilow Cancer Hospital to care for our patients with lung cancers?

As Director of Thoracic Pathology, I have oversight of diagnostic evaluation of patients with lung cancer to ensure all pathological evaluations within Yale New Haven Health System and the Smilow Cancer Network are using current criteria standards for pathology diagnosis. I interface among the clinical teams and am the primary point of contact for thoracic pathology for the diagnosis of malignancies.

3. How do you support the research mission for lung cancer at Yale Cancer Center?

Yale Cancer Center is home to a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer, which provides funding from the National Cancer Institute to translate research from Yale laboratories to our clinics. I actively participate in the Yale SPORE in Lung Cancer as the diagnostic pathologist on the team. Our current focus is on advancing targeted treatment options for lung cancer to benefit our patients using immunotherapy and molecular treatments.

4. Mentorship is an important part of clinical research—what is your favorite way to keep your team engaged, and learning from one another?

I think it’s important that all members of the team, either a clinical team or a research team, are equal and that there’s an equal playing field for all contributions, opinions, and discussion. I make it a priority to be sure everyone’s voice is heard and that there’s mutual learning and respect in every group situation.

Submitted by Renee Gaudette on November 24, 2021