By Stephanie Lowitt
Photography by Sam Ogden
In 2001, Janet L. Abrahm, MD, joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a palliative care physician, becoming a pivotal force in founding and nurturing the Adult Palliative Care Program—a move that created a sea change in how Dana-Farber cares for patients with cancer and brought much-deserved attention and recognition to the field. Palliative care physicians ensure patients with serious illness maintain their best quality of life and manage physical symptoms by identifying what matters most to patients—essentially aligning care plans with individual values.
Today, Dana-Farber, is one of the few cancer centers that has an integrated Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Department. As a national leader, Abrahm understood the importance of supporting patients’ emotional well-being through the uncertain journey of cancer treatment and survivorship. Now, Abrahm is once again elevating this important discipline by providing opportunities for the next generation of professionals by establishing a Research Fellowship. A pioneer professionally and philanthropically, Abrahm decided to provide annual support to establish and sustain the fellowship during her lifetime while ensuring it lasts in perpetuity by endowing the fund with a $1 million bequest.
This fellowship is a generous and significant tribute to the life work of Abrahm and her dedication to Dana-Farber’s core value of compassionate care. Throughout her career, Abrahm has mentored countless physicians and tirelessly supported the growth of Dana-Farber’s nationally recognized department. This fellowship will sustain that work and allow Dana-Farber to attract the brightest early career palliative care clinician-researchers and grow the next generation.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Janet’s generosity and thoughtfulness,” says James Tulsky, MD, chair of the department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, and the Poorvu Jaffe Chair in Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber. “She is one of our field’s great pioneers, and her dedication to patients and to the Division of Adult Palliative Care over the last 20 years is unmatched. This gift exemplifies her commitment to the Institute’s mission and to advancing the science and practice of palliative care. It is an honor to partner with Janet in considering her legacy.”