Jun 14, 2019
ASCO recognizes Thomas J. Smith, MD, FACP, FASCO, FAAHPM, a leader in the field of oncology palliative care, with its Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture. Dr. Smith will accept his award and deliver a keynote address at the 2019 Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium taking place October 25-26 in San Francisco.
“I have always felt that palliative care was simply part of oncology, and that oncologists are especially suited to providing primary palliative care,” said Dr. Smith. “We know our patients and their families and are best positioned to help them cope with the successes, failures, and symptoms of cancer and its treatment. Palliative care is just good medicine and nursing – better care at a cost we can afford.”
Endowed by the Walther Cancer Foundation, the award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to palliative care practice and research in oncology. The Walther Cancer Foundation is a private foundation that supports and promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional bench and clinical cancer research, with a special commitment to supportive oncology. The foundation’s goal is to help build cancer programs that provide tangible benefits by expanding the world’s scientific knowledge, by saving lives and by offering hope to patients and their families.
“Dr. Smith’s contributions to the field emphasize patient quality of life and treatment and care that is aligned with patient goals and wishes. We commend him on a standout career, devoted to patient-centered care,” said Thomas W. Grein, President and CEO, Walther Cancer Foundation, Inc. “The Walther Cancer Foundation is proud to support ASCO in efforts to bring palliative and supportive care to all patients living with cancer.”
Seminal work by Dr. Smith and his colleagues was the first to show that palliative care at the end of life improved patient symptoms and helped patients to maintain their quality of life, while also demonstrating a significant cost savings for palliative care programs through reduced hospital admissions and other factors.
Dr. Smith is a medical oncologist and a palliative care specialist whose research interests include symptom management, end-of-life care, provider-patient communication, and improving access to high-quality affordable cancer care. He is currently a professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, director of Palliative Medicine for Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Harry J. Duffey Family Professor of Palliative Care.
A more than 30-year member of ASCO, Dr. Smith has myriad contributions to the field and to the Society. He’s served on several ASCO committees and task forces, including the Value in Cancer Care Task Force, Education Committee, Task Force on End of Life Care, among others. Dr. Smith has contributed to the development of clinical guidelines; most notably he was the senior author of ASCO’s guideline on the Integration of Palliative Care into Standard Oncology Care. He is also co-chair of ASCO’s clinical practice guideline on the use of white blood cell growth factors. Dr. Smith has taught ASCO’s oncology palliative care course in countries all around the world, helping oncology providers in low-and-middle-income countries develop palliative care programs. In 2008, Dr. Smith was recognized with the ASCO Statesman Award for outstanding service.