ECU health professor recognized as an emerging leader

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An ECU health molecular pathologist has been named to the 2023 Becker’s Hospital Review “Emerging Leaders: Provide Organization Leaders under 40.″

Cancer is a prominent enemy to many in North Carolina, with more than 300 thousand cases reported in 2021, according to NCDHHS. That is why Dr. Yaolin Zhou, says she believes that cancer care is too important to leave that chance alone.

As one of the only molecular pathologists in cancer care in Eastern North Carolina, and a cancer survivor herself, Dr. Yaolin Zhou says currently, there is a lack of standardization in molecular testing for cancer care in some areas.

“It depends on, where you happen to be, who your oncologist likes to order tests from, are they going to order the test now or wait until later… it’s all random. So how can we make sure that all patients get the standardized care no matter what?” Dr. Zhou said.

She realized some testing methods could be more efficient by avoiding repeated and unnecessary testing.

Dr. Zhou says that her upbringing: coming to the U.S. from communist China when she was little, shaped her view in the healthcare field to deliver a greater good to society than just her patients, as she aims to make the world a healthier place.

“The way that my parents raised me was to always want to fight for what’s right,” she said. “To fight injustices, to ensure equality for other people, and I am always looking out for the underdog.”

Dr. Zhou recently secured a $250,000 grant aimed at identifying and addressing healthcare disparities in cancer care, ultimately improving patient outcomes in Eastern North Carolina’s rural 29-county region.