Thursday, April 2, 2015

A physician who is improving palliative care for children with brain tumors and another physician who is helping impoverished patients with advanced dementia are among the five recipients of the 2015 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards.

The Cunniff-Dixon Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the doctor-patient relationship near the end of life, funds the awards. The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute that has done groundbreaking work on end-of-life decision-making, co-sponsors the awards. The selection committee is chaired by Richard Payne, MD, the Esther Colliflower Professor of Medicine and Divinity at Duke University and the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics. The selection process is coordinated by the Divinity School’s Theology, Medicine, and Culture initiative.

The awards were made in three categories: a senior award and a mid-career award of $25,000 each and three early-career awards of $15,000 apiece. Each recipient has been exemplary in one or more of four areas: medical practice, teaching, research, and community. (Learn more about the 2015 award recipients.)

“All these award winners share a commitment to reaching special populations, from children with cancer to veterans to underserved minority communities,” says Mildred Z. Solomon, Ed.D, president of The Hastings Center. “They are outstanding clinicians who provide exquisite patient care, but who also have the skill and commitment to create durable organizational structures that will ensure that the work succeeds over time.”

In addition to Dr. Payne, the selection committee consisted of Thomas P. Duffy, M.D., of Yale University; Kathleen M. Foley, M.D., of Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Diane E. Meier, M.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“This cohort of physicians demonstrates that compassion, competency, and a healing presence are cherished by patients and their families and admired and respected by their colleagues,” says Dr. Payne.  “The awards will make a difference for their careers, and will assist them in building palliative care programs in their communities.”