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VCU Massey Cancer Center


Massey physician-researcher honored with health care service award

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Todd Adams, M.D.

VCU Massey Cancer Center physician-researcher Todd Adams, M.D., was recently awarded the 2016 Sherry Kohlenberg Healthcare Service Award from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation (VBCF) for his “commitment to the fight against breast cancer”.

Adams is a radiation oncologist and member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at VCU School of Medicine.

The award was named after a former healthcare administrator and co-founder of the VBCF who died from breast cancer in 1993. The award is given by the VBCF to recognize health care workers in Virginia who “exhibit a deep and abiding commitment to the fight against breast cancer.”

“This recognition is a reminder to my staff and me that how we treat patients really matters,” Adams said. “At end of the day, our science and our humanity both make important contributions to the health of our patients.”

A patient of Adams nominated him for the award. In her nomination, she shared the following about how his compassion helped her throughout her treatment at Massey:

“Dr. Adams continuously demonstrates a deep respect, devotion and passion for his patients. When I came to Dr. Adams I was jaded in my mid-diagnosis for nearly one year. I was scared and experienced feelings of hopelessness. Dr. Adams would spend hours sitting and discussing my diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. There was never a time when he dismissed my fears or questions. His unwavering care and gentle nature made cancer tolerable and made me feel heard and validated. 

“Dr. Adams demonstrates a commitment to the fight against breast cancer by giving his patient's hope at a time when it is so hard to find. Dr. Adams did not have to provide a personal phone call each time I sent him an email with concerns, but he did. He not only validated my concerns, questions and uncertainty, but he took care to let me know that my life mattered. I could not have made it through my cancer treatment without him. He far exceeded his role for me and for other patients. He is not just a physician, he is an amazing human being who treats patients and not just their illness. This man is paving the way for holistic and individualized care.”

Previous Sherry Kohlenberg Service Award recipients include Massey researcher and surgical oncologist Harry Bear, M.D., (1995); researcher and medical oncologist Mary Helen Hackney, M.D., (2005); and the VCU Breast Cancer Genetics Team (2006).

To learn more about the VBCF and how to nominate a health care professional in Virginia for the Sherry Kohlenberg Healthcare Service Award, visit

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Posted on: November 21, 2016

Category: Clinical news

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