Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute oncologists James Bearden, M.D. and Julian Josey, M.D. were both named the 2013 Citizens of the Year by the Kiwanis Club of Spartanburg. It was the first time in the 70-year history of the award that two individuals were named recipients.
Previous Citizen of the Year Award recipients include mayors, jurists, educators, clergy and a U.S. congresswoman. While diverse in their background, the common denominator has been the desire to serve and improve the Spartanburg community.
“After internships, residencies and military service to our country, Dr. Bearden and Dr. Josey came to Spartanburg in the early 1970s,” said Lee Close of the Kiwanis Club of Spartanburg. “Working for what was then named Spartanburg General Hospital, the gentlemen formed the cancer care committee and the first inpatient oncology unit in 1982. With a generous gift from Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs, the Gibbs Regional Cancer Center opened in 1999. In addition to providing the delivery of cancer treatment services, the center offers a calm, comforting and healing environment for patients and their families.”
Building upon the foundation of the Gibbs Cancer Center, the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health opened in 2008, and the Gibbs service was extended to Gaffney with a facility opening in 2010 and to the Pelham campus in Greer in 2013.
Concurrent with the creation of facilities and services, connections to the best minds and facilities in the world were being established. Clinical affiliation was established first with Wake Forest University and later with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, making Gibbs Cancer Center the only center in the Carolinas with such an affiliation.
Gibbs Cancer Center was one of the first selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to participate in the Community Clinical Oncology Program. Today it is the only center in the Carolinas designated as an NCI community cancer centers program.
While services to patients are the here and now, Gibbs Cancer Center and Josey and Bearden are looking to the future with a vast presence in cancer research. More than 140 clinical trials are underway at any given time at Gibbs Cancer Center. Patients in these advanced clinical trials and research studies have first shot at next-generation treatments and promising therapies before they are available anywhere else in the state. Today, Gibbs Cancer Center staffs the largest research and clinical trials team in the Upstate with two dozen specially-trained research nurses and more than 20 support staff with doctors, technicians , social workers and other specialized medical professionals to carefully monitor the patients’ health before, during and after the studies.
“Cancer patients in Spartanburg may now draw upon the resources throughout the world of oncology care to receive the most advanced and personalized service available,” said Close. “Whoever dreamed that a town like Spartanburg, South Carolina would be the home of an array of healthcare services such as this? Jay Bearden and Julian Josey dreamed it, and they’ve dedicated their lives to making this dream a reality.”