Radiation oncology is rooted in trust. When cancer patients seek treatment at SERO, they are placing their lives in the hands of our dedicated medical professionals. We do not take that lightly.
To help patients feel more at ease, we think it is important for our radiation oncologists to provide some insight into their personal and professional lives. This month, we learn more about Dr. Robert Doline.
Dr. Doline is the Medical Director of the CaroMont Cancer Center’s Department of Radiation Oncology. He sees patients at Caromont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia and the Lincoln Cancer Center in Lincolnton. He joined SERO in 2000 after nine years on faculty at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center where he was the Medical Director of the Phillips Cancer Pavilion in High Point.
Tell us about your family.
I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and grew up in Virginia Beach. Prior to my birth, my father delivered oil for my grandfather’s business and eventually went back to college and optometry school. He was one of the first optometrists in Virginia Beach. My mother was a homemaker. I have one sister who lives with her family in Richmond.
I met my future wife, Stacy, in Virginia Beach. We were married during my last month of residency and moved to Winston-Salem where we started our family. We have two children: Scott, who was born there, and Anna, who we adopted from Russia when she was six months old. We decided to adopt from Russia because our heritages can be traced there. I took Russian language courses at the University of Richmond and spent time in the Soviet Union while I was an undergraduate. It was an incredible experience to see the changes that occurred with the fall of communism.
What was your first job?
I worked in my father’s optical finishing lab fabricating glasses while in high school and during my summer breaks from college. While there, I developed a computer program that accurately determined how to position lenses in eyeglass frames. This was helpful in reducing errors and costs to the practice and to patients.
Why did you choose to pursue a medical career?
One of my father’s best friends was an ophthalmologist. I was able to shadow him while I was in high school. I became fascinated with the treatment of eye diseases and saw the joy of patients that had their vision improved or restored through his work. During medical school, I returned to his practice for an elective and directly observed many surgical procedures.
What inspired you to choose your specialty?
We had an oncology course during my first year of medical school where we rotated through surgical, gynecologic, medical, and radiation oncology. I was drawn to radiation oncology because of the connections the physicians had with their patients and families. I found the technology used to treat cancer patients was incredible. I also enjoyed the “behind the scenes” aspect of the specialty—interacting with the dosimetrists and physicists that perform the treatment planning and quality assurance.
What is one thing that people may not know about you?
I moonlighted as a physician at the Manhattan Detention Complex in New York City while I was a resident at NYU. This place was referred to as “The Tombs” and wasn’t for the faint of heart.
What do you and your family enjoy doing when you are away from work?
We enjoy taking cruises and have been to the Caribbean, Europe (including Russia), Asia, and Australia. We were scheduled to take a cruise to Japan and Korea earlier this year but this was canceled due to the pandemic. We are hoping to take some time to travel to Africa and the Middle East. Most of our free time is currently spent enjoying the South Carolina low country and beaches.