Roland Schwarting, MD, is Chairman and Chief of the Department of Pathology at Cooper University Health Care and a 2018 Pink and Teal Hero. In addition to being a pathologist, Dr. Schwarting is a news junkie, a violinist and an eternal optimist.
Q. How did you decide to become a doctor?
A. I grew up in Germany in a family of first-generation physicians. My mother was a dentist, and my father was an internist. They certainly had an influence on me.
Q. Why did you choose to specialize in pathology?
A. In medical school I really got interested in looking at tissues and diseases under the microscope. I am a very visual person and to make a diagnosis based upon what I am able to see under the microscope is fascinating to me. Every cancer has its own characteristics, its own face. I find it amazing.
Q. What do you like about working at Cooper?
A. There are so many things I love about working at Cooper. It’s a very, very dynamic place. Things are happening here. Things are moving forward. Most of all, it’s the people, the collegiality. We help each other do extraordinary things.
Q. What books are on your nightstand?
A. I am very interested in politics and regularly read “The Economist” and “Der Spiegel. “ I also recently read “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress” by Steven Pinker. It’s an unbelievable book.
Q. What’s on your music playlist at the moment?
A. I played the violin in a symphony orchestra for seven years so anything classical. Also, the John Lennon version of “Stand By Me.”
Q. What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
A. I am a model train collector, and have a very substantial collection, including a train I painted Pink and Teal. My grandfather collected trains in the 1930s. It is a family tradition.
Q. You have experienced some significant hardship in your life. How have you persevered?
A. Yes. My first wife succumbed to a terrible incurable chronic disease, and I was left to raise our two boys as a single father. My life experience changed my priorities and me immensely. I perceive every day as a gift and am a true optimist. My second wonderful wife, Lynn, and I have two sons, so I have children ranging in age from 39 to 7. I am very blessed.
Q. Why should people support Pink and Teal?
A. Pink and Teal is very important and a wonderful way for people to give back. My department has benefitted greatly from the generosity of people who support Pink and Teal. Funds from Pink and Teal have helped us purchase new technology to look at the genetic makeup and changes in cancer cells, which allows us to determine if the cancer has certain characteristics that can be targeted with certain therapies. If you have cancer, this can save your life.