ASCO Remembers Dr. Jimmie Holland

Dec 27, 2017

ASCO and the oncology community mourn the loss of Jimmie Holland, MD, who passed away on December 24, 2017, at age 89. Known as the founder of psycho-oncology, Dr. Holland was The Attending Psychiatrist and Wayne E. Chapman Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center and Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York.

A psychiatrist for more than 40 years, Dr. Holland conducted some of the first studies on the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis on patients. Her question of how patients with cancer feel and subsequent work proved the importance of interventions to combat the anxiety and depression associated with cancer. She took part in establishing a full-time Psychiatry Service at MSK in 1977 — one of the first of its kind in the field of oncology — and served as its Chief from then until 1996. She then became the inaugural chair of the MSK Department of Psychiatry.

"Dr. Holland was a revolutionary pioneer who opened the door for many patients with cancer, helping to diminish the psychological toll that cancer can take,” said ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO. “A forward-thinking, caring physician, Dr. Holland was a true visionary who changed the field of oncology. She will be dearly missed.”

An ASCO member since 1969, Dr. Holland served on a number of committees, including as chair of the Scientific Program Committee, and as a member of the Cancer Editorial Board, the Cancer Education Committee, and the Cancer Communications Committee.

Outside of ASCO, Dr. Holland founded the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, the International Psychiatry-Oncology Society, and the international journal Psycho-Oncology. In 1994, she was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor for Clinical Research. She was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine in 1995, and received the Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association in 2000, among many other awards.

Dr. Holland is survived by her husband, ASCO Past President James F. Holland, MD, FASCO, their six children, and their many grandchildren.

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