Dr. Michael Lancaster Retires: Healthcare Champion and Advocate for the Underserved


During this season of thanksgiving, our SouthLight family is taking time to thank our own Dr. Michael Lancaster as he officially transitions into retirement after serving as SouthLight’s Chief Medical Officer for the past 5 ½ years. 

Dr. Lancaster is a culmination of psychiatrist, advocate, healer, leader, healthcare champion and friend. In such a short time at SouthLight, he has embedded a clinical and medical expertise into the core of our service lines and a deep well of compassion into the hearts of staff and clients alike. Regardless of the time, the day, or the weight of his schedule, Dr. Lancaster, without fail, would greet each person with integrity, gentleness, and a gentle kindness.

Dr. Lancaster played an integral role in steering our agency through challenging periods of transition and establishing a critical connection between SouthLight and Community Care of North Carolina. He was a key driver for the integration of an onsite lab component, which raised the bar on SouthLight’s treatment efficacy. In so many ways, he has changed the way we serve this community and how well we do it.

After a lifelong journey of service and commitment to the people of North Carolina, Dr. Lancaster has planted his legacy to thousands of us along the way. We are sad, inevitably, to say goodbye, but we are delighted that we were a part of that journey! Thank you, Dr. Lancaster, for allowing us to become stewards of your legacy!

Dr. Lancaster recruited Dr. Ranota Hall to succeed him as SouthLight’s Chief Medical Officer.  She has known Dr. Lancaster for more than 25 years and called him “the king of collaboration.” 

His career spans over 40 years of diverse medical experience which includes maintaining an inpatient and outpatient private practice, 12 years as Regional Medical Director for a national managed care company, 6 years as Chief of Clinical Policy for the Department of MH/DD/SAS/ for the state of North Carolina, and 5 years as Medical Director for Behavior Health Integration at Community Care of North Carolina.

We are so grateful for his contributions to SouthLight and throughout our state. Best wishes on your retirement, Dr. Lancaster!

About SouthLight:

Founded in 1970, SouthLight Healthcare is one of the area’s largest nonprofit providers of substance use treatment and mental health services. SouthLight partners with individuals and communities to provide innovative treatment solutions delivered with compassion and dignity. With outpatient and community-based programs, SouthLight provides prevention, education and treatment services in the Triangle and beyond.