Alumni News and Features

Joanne Wolfe, MD '89, MPH '98 Recognized as Pioneer


The American Cancer Society announced that Dr. Joanne Wolfe, MD '89, MPH '98 has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements of a professional who has demonstrated remarkable innovation and ingenuity across a range of opportunities for action that contribute to the advancement of the palliative care field.  

Dr. Wolfe, founder of the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is Director of Pediatric Palliative Care at Children's Hospital Boston and Division Chief of Pediatric Palliative Care Service at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She will be honored Oct. 22 at the Kathleen Foley Palliative Care Research Retreat in Sausalito, Calif.

Dr. Wolfe’s groundbreaking early research in the experience of children with advanced cancer launched an entire field of scientific investigation, providing the evidentiary platform for numerous initiatives focused on improving care for children with life-threatening illness.

Dr. Wolfe led the formation of the Pediatric Palliative Care Research Network to foster clinical investigation in pediatric palliative care through multicenter research efforts and form a community of investigators who can exchange ideas, obtain valuable feedback, and develop key collaborations.    

A fierce advocate for concurrent care, Dr. Wolfe has  influenced the care of countless children by spearheading efforts to formulate policy creating the state funded Massachusetts Pediatric Palliative Care Network (PPCN), while also intensively training numerous pediatric palliative care clinicians through fellowships and mentorship.

“I am deeply humbled and grateful for the recognition of my work in pediatric palliative care. In actuality, this award acknowledges the high value of interdisciplinary team work, whether in clinical care, education or research, because I am surrounded by truly dedicated and talented colleagues,” Dr. Wolfe said. “I am also indebted to my mentors -- Drs. Jane C. Weeks (recently deceased), Samuel Lux, Lisa Diller and Susan Block -- for their continual support and insightful guidance. It is a true privilege to serve children with life-threatening illness and their families. The life lessons are boundless.

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