Hitting the Ground Running

Carey Anders and Elizabeth Levene
Carey Anders
Carey Anders

Carey Kernodle Anders, MD, joined the leadership team of the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis last year as medical director, and she hit the ground running.

“Under her leadership, we’re developing a portfolio of clinical trials to help advance our care of patients with brain and spine metastases,” John Kirkpatrick, MD, PhD, says. “She’s got wonderful insights into the new developments that are taking place in molecular medicine and immunotherapy. Most important, she’s a wonderful person to work with.”

Anders came to Duke from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she specialized in breast cancer and brain metastasis. That expertise plus her experience in designing clinical trials made her the perfect candidate to round out the leadership team at the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis.“She has extensive experience in the brain metastasis world and the breast oncology world,” Rory Goodwin, MD, PhD, says. “She’s recognized as national leader, and she’s going to push the field forward.”

Anders grew up in Burlington, North Carolina, in a medical family. Her grandfather was a Duke-trained physician and the oldest of the Kernodle brothers who established the Kernodle clinic in Burlington. Her father is an orthopedic surgeon, and her mother is a retired nurse who established the school nursing program in Alamance County.

As a college student, Anders did not intend to go to medical school; she majored in psychology and French. But a volunteer stint in the Vanderbilt hospital her senior year ignited her interest.

Carey Anders and Paula Lee
Carey Anders talks with Paula Lee, BSN, RN, in the clinic workroom at the Duke Cancer Center.

Among all her medical relatives, she says it was her grandmother, a dietician, who influenced her career decision the most. “She was so smart and driven and wanted to go to medical school. She was told women weren’t doctors,” Anders says. “She encouraged me to cast a wide net and not be limited by being female. I credit her with the courage to go to medical school.”

Anders spent a year after college catching up on prerequisites, then went to medical school at East Carolina University and completed her residency (internal medicine) and fellowship (oncology) at Duke before beginning her career at UNC.

She immediately felt at home at the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis. “The culture among our group is fantastic,” she says. “We have a group of very bright, talented, pleasant individuals who enjoy working together. It really helps because this problem is not always happy, so it’s very reassuring to have such fantastic colleagues who really support each other."