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James F. Newsome, MD, Distinguished Visiting Professor

James F. Newsome, MD
James F. Newsome, MD

James F. “Turk” Newsome, MD was a long-standing faculty member in the UNC Department of Surgery who served with distinction for decades until his untimely death in 1988.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Newsome was an undergraduate at Carolina in the 1940s where he was Student Body President and All-ACC football player for the Tarheels.

After attending medical school at Carolina, Dr. Newsome was one of the first residents trained by Dr. Nathan A. Womack, the first Chair of Surgery at UNC

During his career at Carolina, Dr. Newsome made many contributions to surgery and cancer care, publishing his work in JAMA and Annals of Surgery as well as being the driving force behind the creation of the Cancer Registry for North Carolina. For his efforts, Dr. Newsome won many awards including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Cancer Society in 1978.

Dr. Newsome was first Secretary-Treasurer then later President of the Womack Society, UNC’s surgical alumni society which has been a long-term supporter of departmental educational and research efforts over the years.

At the end of his life, Dr. Newsome reflected on his career with Stuart Boundurant, the Dean of the School of Medicine: “I have taken care of so many people with cancer. I had hoped I would die of a heart attack, but I now I know that I have been blessed to have cancer because it has taught me the full meaning of love.” Newsome said more people poured their hearts out to him than he could ever imagine. It might have been a surprise to him, but not to those who knew what a big man he was.

In summary, Dr. Newsome was a superb surgical oncologist, outstanding surgical educator and a wonderful human being who in the end, simply cared most about people.

Due to Dr. Newsome’s distinguished career and his commitment to the Department, in 1991 the Womack Society created the endowment that supports this Newsome Distinguished Lectureship.