Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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Psychosocial Oncology Society Honors Wolcott

Deane L. Wolcott, MD

Thirty-seven years ago, when a multidisciplinary team dedicated solely to the care of patients with serious diseases was first conceived of at Cedars-Sinai, the program was considered revolutionary. The practice focuses on relieving suffering and improving quality of life for patients and their families.

Today, the Cedars-Sinai Supportive Care Services model still is considered "very advanced," said Deane L. Wolcott, MD, former director of those services at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Wolcott arrived at Cedars-Sinai in 1990 and dedicated himself to "marrying the best treatment with the best human care," he said.

"Cancer impacts every aspect of patients' lives, from diagnosis on," he added, "so that marriage is critically important to patients and family members."

In recognition of his leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of psychosocial oncology, the American Psychosocial Oncology Society bestowed its 15th Holland Distinguished Leadership Award to the psychiatrist at the group's recent annual conference in Orlando.

"Deane's award is great recognition for his outstanding vision and work over many years on behalf of the needs of patients with cancer," said Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, director of the cancer institute. "It is well deserved."

Psychosocial oncology is a specialty in cancer care concerned with understanding and treating the social, psychological, emotional, spiritual, quality-of-life and functional aspects of cancer, from prevention through bereavement.

When Wolcott assumed his Cedars-Sinai post 27 years ago, cancer survivors had access to social workers, which was helpful, he said. Through his input, the program added a range of services, including dietitians and cancer-pain management specialists.

Wolcott said that he's deeply gratified that he met his goal of "embedding the human aspects of cancer care" into one program.

"This award is a great personal and professional honor," Wolcott said. "While the award honors me, it also honors the comprehensive patient-centered care model that we implemented at Cedars-Sinai."