The American Cancer Society has honored Leslie Blackhall, MD, MTS, the founder of the Palliative Care Clinic at UVA Cancer Center, with a national award for improving cancer patients’ quality of life.
Blackhall is one of seven winners of the 2015 American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award, which recognizes individuals like Blackhall who provide what Adams — a longtime American Cancer Society executive vice president — described as the “warm hand of service.”
At UVA, Blackhall began one of the first outpatient palliative care clinics in 2001. As the clinic has expanded over the past 14 years, so too has the use of palliative care beyond end of life to help patients at all stages of their cancer fight.
Blackhall has also been part of a multidisciplinary team at UVA, developing a new model for cancer care that seeks to shorten treatment courses and more rapidly respond to patient symptoms, enhancing both patient care and quality of life. The program has earned more than $2.5 million in funding from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“All patients can benefit from care that improves the quality of their lives, from listening to their concerns and from the development of highly personalized care plans that are unique to their needs,” says radiation oncologist Paul Read, MD, PhD, who has led the development of this new care model. “Dr. Blackhall has built a new patient-centric care model that does all of this while respecting the dignity and wishes of her patients and their families.”