At SERO, our providers see patients as more than a diagnosis. Our physicians see you for who you are—an individual with unique passions—and they want to help you recover and return to those interests.
By the same token, our providers are individuals as well. When they aren’t in the office providing the best cancer treatment available, they are spending time with family and pursuing hobbies. Today, we learn more about how Dr. Kevin S. Roof, MD, a radiation oncologist, spends his weekends.
Have you always wanted to be a physician?
I knew at a young age that I wanted to become a physician. My grandmother and three great aunts were all nurses, and my uncle was a physician. In second grade, I had an assignment to write about what I wanted to be when I grew up. In addition to being a truck driver, a lifeguard, and the first man on mars, I also stated that I wanted to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and become a physician. I was fortunate enough to fulfill two of the five aspirations.
At age 16, I was fortunate enough to observe my first open heart surgery case in person. At that time, I wanted to be a thoracic surgeon. This helped reaffirm that my childhood dream of being a physician and serving others was still alive and dear to my heart.
Where did you attend college?
I attended UNC as an undergraduate where I served as the president of the pre-medical honor society. After my junior year in college, I worked at Glaxo-Smith Kline where I assisted in research on cell cycle-dependent kinase and its role in carcinogenesis. I was subsequently accepted into the UNC School of Medicine. After my first year of medical school, I was awarded a grant to work in the lab of Phillip Cohen where I studied the effects of radiation on cells with defects in the programmed cell death pathway.
What inspired you to choose your specialty?
I ultimately was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health Research Scholars program where I designed a virus that preferentially infected breast cancer cells allowing for purging of these cells from bone marrow. Unfortunately, in the midst of this research, it came to light that bone marrow transplant was not effective in managing women with metastatic breast cancer. Having realized during my thoracic surgery rotation that I didn’t like sewing or reading EKGs, I decided to focus on oncology. My mentor at the National Institutes of Health encouraged me to take a closer look at radiation oncology.
Where did you complete your postgraduate residency?
My research at the National Institutes of Health allowed me to graduate with an MD with honors from UNC before heading off to Honolulu for my internship year. In Honolulu, I learned to surf, snorkel, and ocean kayak, all of which contributed to my ongoing love of marine life. After completing my year in Honolulu, I traveled to Boston for my residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. During my second year, I became the chief resident of the radiation oncology program. Though a career in academic medicine was blossoming, my true desire was to be in the clinic providing exceptional, compassionate care for patients.
Can you describe your career at SERO?
During medical school, I visited Lake Norman with a friend and determined that I wanted to live on Lake Norman once I settled down. I was fortunate enough to land a position at SERO in 2004. During my time at SERO, I have had the good fortune to serve as the chair of the Quality Assurance Committee before transitioning to chair of our Expansion Committee.
I have also had the honor of serving as the Chair of the Radiation Oncology Advisory Committee for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for the past 10 years. I have also had the opportunity to serve as the North Carolina representative for the Carrier Advisory Committee for Medicare and the Southeast Cancer Control Consortium Radiation Oncology representative for the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and subsequently for NRG Oncology.
I currently serve on the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology’s Health Policy Payer Relations subcommittee and serve as the Medical Director for the Novant Health Cancer Institute Huntersville and Vice President of Radiation Oncology Centers of the Carolinas.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am extremely fortunate that I have had the opportunity to realize many of my dreams and currently live on Lake Norman with my three wonderful children, beautiful wife, and dog. As a family, we enjoy swimming, boating, wake-surfing, riding our wave-runner, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, camping, and traveling. We also enjoy cooking and baking, and all UNC athletics. I also enjoy Broadway musicals and the symphony.
What motivates you each day?
Some of my best memories, outside of caring for patients with my extraordinary team at Huntersville Medical Center, include coming within 25 feet of a humpback whale while snorkeling off of Black Rock in Maui, swimming with whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico, a lemon shark feeding in Bora Bora, enjoying the Monte Carlo Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, and attending the 100th running of the Indy 500 with an eventual Indy 500 champion.
Family trips to Australia, France, and the National Parks of Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Utah, and Arizona are all treasured memories too. The joy I derive from these memories helps me push to ensure more birthdays or at least more good days for the patients I serve. In addition to improving the care of radiation oncology patients and healthcare policies in radiation oncology, I have recently taken up yoga and I am hoping to obtain my motorcycle license in the near future.