A clinical professor of medicine at UCSF, Rosenbaum founded one of the country's first medical oncology services. He will be honored Dec. 6 at a San Francisco fund-raising dinner benefiting Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The physician warmly recalls the time when Israeli Professor Rafi Catane stayed in the Rosenbaum home. Catane was a fellow in 1990 and is now chief of oncology at Shaare Zedek.
"Our relationship became very collaborative," Rosenbaum reflects. "Several years later I asked him to write a chapter for my recent book `Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy.'" (The book was coauthored by M. Dollinger, M.D., and G. Cable.)
A pioneer of patient advocacy, Rosenbaum is sure his Orthodox upbringing made him the man — and the doctor — he is today. His parents were very active in the Palm Beach, Fla., Jewish community where he grew up.
"Judaism generates compassion, understanding, the quest for knowledge and caring for people," he notes. "One is taught that one's job is to do good. And by `to do good' we mean doing… not talking about it. In our tradition, we call this a mitzvah."
He believes a physician's goal is not only to provide medical care, but also to help the patient live as normally as possible while undergoing treatment.
"I am concerned with the humanistic part of medicine. I talk to my patients about their life problems; I try to help them find solutions so they can continue to live meaningful lives," he said, also noting that many diseases can be prevented with "proper screening and better diet.
"People take better care of their cars then they do their bodies," he laments.