Kathleen M. Foley, a neurologist on the Pain and Palliative Care and Neurology Services at Memorial Sloan Kettering, was awarded the American Cancer Society (ACS) Medal of Honor for Clinical Research on May 22. The medal, which represents the highest honor conferred by the ACS, recognizes “extraordinary contributions to the fight against cancer.”
Dr. Foley, along with two other honorees, received the award during a ceremony held in Atlanta, which also marked the 100th anniversary of the ACS. Previous recipients of the Medal of Honor include US President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush; Massachusetts senator Edward M. Kennedy; and physician George Papanicolau, inventor of the Pap test.
Dr. Foley is former Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pain and Palliative Care Service, which she helped to establish in the early 1980s. She is the incumbent of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Chair and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dr. Foley also serves as a professor of neurology, neuroscience, and clinical pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
A global leader in the field of palliative care, Dr. Foley’s clinical work focuses on the assessment and treatment of pain in cancer patients. Her research efforts have helped make pain management a routine part of cancer care and led to the development of standards of care for pain and palliative care worldwide. She also is the medical director of the Open Society Foundations’ International Palliative Care Initiative, a philanthropic effort to advance palliative care in resource-limited settings.
Dr. Foley received her MD degree from Cornell University Medical College. She completed residencies at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Cornell, and was a special fellow in neuro-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Previously she served as director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Cancer Pain Research and Education at Memorial Sloan Kettering.