Leaders who expand palliative care to veterans and safety-net patients and promote patient-centered care to seriously ill children receive 2014 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards

CHICAGO – The Cook County Health and Hospitals (CCH) system announced today that Dr. Catherine Deamant, is one of five physicians who have distinguished themselves in advancing the practice of palliative care and modeling exemplary skill and compassion at the bedside have been named recipients of the 2014 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards.

“This year’s awardees are role models of good doctoring in all career stages and to a variety of patients, including veterans and the under-served,” says Richard Payne, M.D., Esther Colliflower Director of the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life and a member of the selection committee. “In addition to recognizing today’s leaders, the awards shine a light on those who will provide national leadership to the medical profession in the years ahead.”

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.

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, cosponsors the awards. The Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life oversees the selection process.

“We are delighted with the new cohort of winners, who inspire us with their empathy, their skill at alleviating suffering, and their success at educating other health professionals on how to provide the best possible care to people nearing the end of their lives,” says Mildred Z. Solomon, Ed.D, president of The Hastings Center.

The 2014 recipients are:

Senior Physician Award: Catherine Deamant, M.D., system director of Supportive and Palliative Care Services for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago and program director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. She has distinguished herself by creating a nationally recognized palliative care service in a county-funded safety-net hospital, serving patient populations that lack access to such care, including immigrants and detainees. Under her leadership, despite tremendous financial barriers, the palliative care service conducts 850 inpatient consults a year, runs five outpatient clinics, performs home visits, and trains fellows. Colleagues cite the lengths that she has gone for her patients, including working with foreign consulates to make travel possible for gravely ill patients who want to die in their home countries.

Mid-Career Physician Award: Chris Feudtner, M.D., PhD, MPH, director of the Department of Medical Ethics and director of research for the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is recognized for his leadership in promoting better, more patient-driven care for children at the end of their lives, as well as for their families. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, mentoring, and research. Among his many research efforts, he helped establish the Pediatric Palliative Care Research Network, a group of leading researchers in the U.S. and Canada who work collectively on improving pediatric palliative care services. He is a nationally recognized researcher and ethicist who is praised for his exceptional “face-to-face skills.”

Early-Career Physician Awards:

Elise C. Carey, M.D., FAAHPM, chair of the Section of Palliative Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for her national leadership in palliative care education and for significantly expanding palliative care services at the Mayo Clinic from oncology to patients with multiple conditions.

Jeanette Ross, M.D., AGSF, FAAHPM staff physician in geriatrics and palliative care at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio and director of the geriatric and palliative medicine fellowships at the University of Texas Health Science Center, for advancing palliative care for veterans, as well as for using communications technology to enhance education and clinical practice in care near the end of life.

Nadia Tremonti, M.D., medical director for palliative care at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and medical director for Kaleidoscope Kids Hospice at the Henry Ford Health System, for establishing and growing palliative care at Children’s Hospital, as well as for her communications skills with patients and their families and her excellence in mentoring colleagues on ways to alleviate the dying process.

The prize recipients were selected by a committee convened by The Hastings Center. In addition to Dr. Payne, the 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 Larry R. Churchill, PhD, of Vanderbilt University.