Thomas J. Smith, MD, has been selected by the American Cancer Society to be the recipient of the 2015 Trish Greene Quality of Life Award. This award honors the life and work of the late Patricia (Trish) Greene, RN, PhD.
As progress in the detection and treatment of cancer prolonged lives and increased the number of cancer survivors, quality-of-life research became an emerging field of investigation. Dr. Greene was an early pioneer who recognized the future implications of innovative treatment models to provide the best care.
The award honors and recognizes the importance of those who have devoted a significant portion of their careers to the various areas of quality of life and have accomplished outstanding research that benefits cancer patients and their families.
Dr. Smith is The Harry J. Duffey Family Professor of Palliative Medicine and Palliative Medicine Director at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Dr. Smith is a pioneer in palliative care who has dedicated his career to the specialty. “I think of palliative care as being open and honest in communication with patients, setting medically appropriate goals, and symptom management,” Dr. Smith says.
The issues to which Dr. Smith refers are sensitive but significant, and include things like future decisions about life-support, hospice versus home care, and even patients’ remaining goals. Talking with patients about these subjects when they can adequately ponder them, that is, when they have 6 months or even 2 years to live, can make an enormous difference to their quality of life. ■