Meet Dr. Karen Halaburt Albritton
For many years, teens diagnosed with cancer were either treated like children or like older adults. But they are neither. Karen Albritton, M.D., Medical Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program at Cook Children's specializes in the care of these patients and recognizes their unique needs, ensuring they receive the age appropriate medical treatment and personal support they need.
Dr. Albritton graduated from Yale University, received her medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, and completed her Medicine/Pediatrics residency and oncology fellowships at the University of North Carolina. She is board certified in both pediatric and medical oncology and has particular expertise in sarcoma. Her research focuses on access to care and outcomes for AYAs with cancer. She has been active with the Children's Oncology Group, National Cancer Institute and advocacy organizations to improve policy and standards of care for this underserved group. Dr. Albritton is also the founder and Medical Director of the Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Coalition, a non-profit partnership of oncology providers who have built a community-based AYA program.
Championing care that combines the best possible cancer treatment with attention to providing psychosocial resources, supporting patient interests and meeting the patients' emotional needs, is Dr. Albritton's passion. She recognizes that oncology patients diagnosed with cancer over the age of 15 often face challenging decisions like issues of fertility, and postponing education, career, family plans and the day-to-day living that most people take for granted. She sees the responsibility of Cook Children's AYA oncology team as not only selecting the best medical solutions, but walking each patient and family through the journey. From the time a patient is referred to Cook Children's, Dr. Albritton and her team guide, reassure, encourage, laugh and cry with them. "What makes working with AYAs such a rewarding experience is that you have the intellectual challenge of treating the cancer plus the joy of getting to know a young person with all their energy, humor, interests, personality and dreams. I aim to reassure them and their family that we can wipe out the cancer AND still promote their normal life and development," says Dr. Albritton.
Dr. Albritton actually discovered her passion for hematology and oncology when she was a teenager volunteering at a hospital. While there, she saw how much could be learned from a single drop of blood under a microscope. This led to her interest in science and ultimately her passion for medicine. Today, when she's not at Cook Children's, Dr. Albritton can be found advocating for AYA cancer patients in the Fort Worth community and beyond. She also enjoys spending quality time with her husband and three amazing sons, especially camping, cooking, playing board games and reading.
- Teenage and adolescent cancer care
Children's Oncology Group, American Society of Clinical Oncology,Cook Children's Physician Network
University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill