Diane E. Stover, MD, is an Emeritus Member of the Pulmonology Service of the Division of Subspecialty Medicine, Department of Medicine, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
Dr. Stover served MSK with distinction as a revered master clinician, teacher, and pioneering institutional leader for more than 45 years. She was the first Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Service at MSK and served in that capacity for 31 years. Dr. Stover was also the Head of General Medicine – later renamed Subspecialty Medicine – for 20 years.
Dr. Stover’s career at MSK started in July 1977 when she joined the institution as a Clinical Assistant Physician. At the time, a cardiologist was the Chief of the Cardiopulmonary Service, and she was the only board-certified pulmonologist. During a time when very few thoracic surgeons were doing fiberoptic bronchoscopy, Dr. Stover was the only doctor doing bronchoalveolar lavage as part of this procedure. Several years later, she published a landmark article in Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrating the diagnostic efficacy of bronchoalveolar lavage in patients with cancer and immunocompromised hosts. The approach has since become a standard of care (Stover et al 1984). During her astounding career, the Pulmonary Service grew from non-existent to 15 faculty with expertise across pulmonary medicine, pulmo-oncology, interventional pulmonology, sleep oncology, and pulmonary function testing.
Dr. John Mendelson appointed Dr. Stover as the Head of the Division of General Medicine in 1991, which she led through 2011. Initially, the Division included all the medical subspecialties—Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Pulmonology, and Nephrology—in addition to Internal Medicine, Dermatology, and Employee Health. Dr. Stover helped recruit all new hires, coordinate salary planning and faculty evaluations, and provide guidelines for consultation within each service. Over time, all the services expanded from one or two members to large subspecialty groups that provided expert care for patients with cancer and helped to establish new disciplines (e.g., oncocardiology, onconephrology, etc.). Dr. Stover’s pioneering expertise led to a unique understanding of the respiratory ailments specific to patients with cancer and the immunocompromised host. During her time, a foundation was built for the nascent field of pulmo-oncology.
Dr. Stover also served as the Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory (PFL) from 1979-1987. This entailed reading all the pulmonary function tests every morning and developing and continually updating guidelines to maintain a state-of-the-art laboratory.
Aside from patient care, Dr. Stover’s tireless commitment to education of trainees, students, and colleagues is both a skill and a passion. The service leads two fellowship training programs: Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine and Interventional Pulmonology. The original Pulmonary Medicine fellowship was started by Dr. Stover in 1981; she served as the Program Director until 1990. Under her leadership, the pulmonary APP program launched in 2014 and has since grown.
Following her retirement at the end of 2022, Dr. Stover hopes to volunteer her time to continue to teach MSK’s pulmonary fellows and APPs, as well as mentor junior faculty. Since stepping down from her leadership positions, Dr. Stover played an integral role in counselling junior colleagues across services in the Division of Subspecialty Medicine on issues of work-life balance and burnout, an effort that she hopes to continue.