Israel Cancer Research Fund honors City of Hope Provost Steven T. Rosen

November 30, 2015 | by City of Hope

When Steven T. Rosen, M.D., received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israel Cancer Research Fund at a Chicago gala earlier this month, a living embodiment of his skill, compassion and dedication applauded from the audience. Were it not for Rosen’s elevated level of care - and caring - Jacki Barron, a former cancer patient, is certain she would not have been there.

“I first came to Dr. Rosen on Sept. 8, 2008 -- we call that Dr. Rosen Day and celebrate every year,” Jacki said. She and her husband, Bruce Barron, were also recognized at the gala for their longtime support of ICRF.

“I remember crying at our initial meeting because I was convinced I wouldn't see our girls get married,” Jacki said. “But Dr. Rosen gave me a hug and told me I'd see my grandchildren get married.”

Rosen is provost and chief scientific officer of City of Hope, and the director of the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope. He is also the Irell and Manella Cancer Center Director’s Distinguished Chair, and a professor and director of the comprehensive cancer center. He treated Jacki prior to joining City of Hope in 2015.

“This is a remarkable honor, especially coming from an organization that advances scientific understanding of cancer and supports innovations that are transforming lives,” Rosen said of the award.

Rosen has deep roots in Chicago – particularly at Northwestern University. He graduated with distinction from the medical school’s six-year honors program in 1976, completed his residency in internal medicine there, and was a fellow at the Medical Oncology National Cancer Institute. He served as the director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine from 1989 to 2014, after which he came to City of Hope.

For Rosen, the awards gala was poignant. For Jacki, it served as a reminder of what a difference the right doctor can make. Diagnosed in 2006 with breast cancer that metastasized to her liver two years later, Jacki’s journey included a series of medical missteps. It wasn’t until a family friend referred her to Rosen that she says her cure truly began.

“Dr. Rosen told me the day we met that the day you're diagnosed is the day you begin to beat cancer,” Jacki said. “He was unwavering in the belief that I would be fine, and to prove this he not only reassured me constantly, but brought survivors to give me encouragement at many of my treatments.”

Jacki herself became part of Rosen’s treatment approach when he asked her to speak with a young mother newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

“I was honored that he would choose me to do this, as I knew how much the constant stream of survivors he brought to me gave me encouragement,” she said.

Now, Jacki’s remission is an inspiration to cancer patients who feel the terror she did on that first day in Rosen’s office. Her advice: Find the right doctor.

“Dr. Rosen is not only a brilliant doctor, he's an unbelievable diagnostician,” Jacki said. “Add that to his limitless drive, his thirst for knowledge and boundless compassion, and the end result is a doctor practicing at an entirely different level.”

On a visit to City of Hope earlier this year, Jacki saw a sign in the garden that reads, “There is no profit in curing the body if, in the process, we destroy the soul”.

“That really struck me since it is clearly Dr. Rosen’s philosophy,” Jacki said. “I was devastated, along with so many in Chicago, when Dr. Rosen left; but now, after seeing City of Hope, I feel better, knowing that he is definitely in the perfect place, and that he’ll be able to do even more amazing things.”

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