For personal reasons, Wendy Cadge will not be able to be our 2014 Conference plenary speaker on Monday, May 19. We will miss her wisdom and insights. However, we are honored and excited that Tracy Balboni, M.D., M.P.H, has agreed to be our plenary speaker.
Dr. Balboni currently serves as an associate professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School and director of the supportive palliative radiation oncology service at Dana-Faber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston – a service dedicated to the palliative radiation therapy needs of cancer patients. With degrees from Stanford University, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Balboni is also a researcher with the Dana-Farber Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care. Her primary research interests are located at the intersection of oncology, palliative care, and the role of religion and spirituality in the experience of serious illness. Her research endeavors have included examining religion and spirituality in the experience of advanced cancer as part of the ongoing NIH-funded Coping with Cancer study. Dr. Balboni’s research work has received awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Palliative Care Research Center, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Her work also includes forging improved dialogue between academic theology, religious communities, and the field of medicine.
To learn more about Dr. Balboni’s work, please view this interview with Selma Schimmel on The Group Room to discuss her research on Relating To Patients On a Humanistic Or Spiritual Level: How Physicians Can Make a Difference. The interview was filmed at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago in 2013. Recent research by Dr. Balboni on cancer patients who received religious/spiritual support reveals important findings about the effects of this support on end-of life treatments. For a summary of the research findings and a link to its abstract in JAMA, click here.
Also, the NACC’s Austine Duru has prepared summaries of three of Dr. Balboni’s recent studies. To read them in this issue of Vision please click here.