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American Cancer Society Honors Exemplary Cancer Caregivers with Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award
Award honors individuals who provide excellent cancer care

Atlanta, GA – January 13, 2017 – Six outstanding individuals have been honored with the American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award, a prestigious national honor for their leadership in serving the complex needs of cancer patients and their families.  

The Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award recognizes individuals who consistently exhibit excellence and compassion in providing care to cancer patients, going beyond their duties to make a difference in the life of cancer patients and their families. This award also represents the concept of the “warm hand of service,” which is an integral part of the Society’s commitment to excellence in cancer care and specifically emphasized by Lane W. Adams when he served as executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. Lane’s definition of the warm hand of service was to “serve others and enrich the purpose of one’s existence.”

The awards were presented during a ceremony in Atlanta on January 12, 2017. This year’s recipients include Lisa Capparella, MSS, LCSW, OSW-C, Philadelphia, PA; Thomas DiPetrillo, MD, Providence, RI; Karen Mott, BSN, RN, OCN, Framingham, MA; Timothy Wm. Mullett, MD, Lexington, KY; Deborah Kirk Walker, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, AOCN, Vestavia, AL; and June K. Zimmerman, BS, Williamsport, PA.

“We are honored to recognize these extraordinary awardees for their efforts to improve the quality of care for cancer patients and their families,” said Susan D. Henry, LCSW, chair, Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Workgroup. “These individuals provide critical leadership in the American Cancer Society’s mission to serve those who are touched by cancer.”

Lisa Capparella was an oncology social worker at the Reading Health System/McGlinn Cancer Institute, and is currently manager of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Jefferson Patient and Family Resource Center in Philadelphia, PA. Capparella is always eager to help and was pivotal in the planning and implementation of a Distress Screening Tool within McGlinn Cancer Institute. Capparella is dedicated to ensuring quality of life for those going through treatment, and played a crucial role in development and implementation of a pilot program that afforded patients Palliative Care services in an outpatient setting. She continues to serve as an active member on the outpatient Palliative Care team at McGlinn Cancer Institute, and is a member of a state-wide group of stakeholders for Palliative Care in Pennsylvania for the Department of Health. She is always dedicated to helping the patients she serves cope with their cancer-related challenges by seeking out resources both internally and externally, and is a liaison with the American Cancer Society.

Thomas DiPetrillo is a clinical director of radiation oncology at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI. He manages the radiation department, dosimetry, physics, residents, and fellows, and is an associate professor at Brown Medical School and an adjunct assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He is a leading authority on a variety of radiation treatments including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.  He is an advocate for the American Cancer Society offering medical guidance and leadership on many cancer-related subjects and was instrumental in propelling research collaborations forward. DiPetrillo is best known by his colleagues for treating every patient with care and compassion through his kindhearted and gentle manner. His empathetic nature gives his patients the reassurance and motivation to push forward with difficult treatment plans. His contribution to patient care will be a lasting one because he is teaching his students how to actively listen and respond to patient concerns and fears.

Karen Mott is an oncology nurse at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, MA. She co-chairs her hospital’s inter-disciplinary care team to insure best practice in cancer care.  Mott’s work with students and junior nursing staff insures that they develop a broad range of skills that will equip them to provide the highest quality of care to cancer patients.  When it comes to her direct care for patients, she is known for her expertise in symptom management, strong patient advocacy and a willingness to lead initiatives that improve patient care.  Her compassion extends well beyond patient care.  She recognizes the stress of caregiving and teaches a yoga class for colleagues.  Through an innovative community program called “Mercy’s Mission” Mott organizes volunteers to collect resources to help families who are struggling to meet basic needs at home.  Her patients call her a “life changer” but never so much as when Mott and her family made the exceptional decision to adopt her patient’s nine-year-old son after the woman died from aggressive head and neck cancer. Mott is considered by her colleagues and patients to be an exceptional nurse and an outstanding human being.

Timothy Wm. Mullett is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network in Lexington, KY, and Army Reserve surgeon. Mullet is also the medical director of the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network and established Lung Screening Excellence in Kentucky. He is a co-investigator of the Kentucky Lung Education Awareness Detection and Survivorship (LEADS) Collaborative, working to create the highest standard of lung cancer screening to Kentuckians. Since Mullett is a stage 4 liver cancer survivor, he has a unique perspective in patient care. This life experience heightened his understanding of what a patient goes through in their cancer journey and the survivor's persistent anxiety of every health scare. It ultimately changed the way he practices medicine and his commitment to palliative care and survivorship. His colleagues wrote that “no one has logged more miles” in working with medical, government and non-profit groups to insure that quality care is available to the underserved citizens of Kentucky.

Deborah Kirk Walker is an associate professor and Coordinator of the Oncology Nurse Practitioner Sub-Specialty Track, associate scientist, Cancer Control and Populations Science Program/UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and scientist, Center for Palliative and Supportive Care in Vestavia, AL. Her passion and energy for caring for oncology patients, educating nurses, and making a difference in the world, distinguishes her from other professionals. These qualities are equally evident whether she is providing expert care to an individual patient and family, or integrating research and evidence-based practice into the clinic or classroom. In her educator role, Walker saw the need to help build the oncology nursing workforce, and advocated for the creation of an oncology nurse practitioner specialty track in the University of Alabama at Birmingham to help meet the needs of the Alabama rural underserved minority population. Walker’s class curriculum has a special emphasis on the “real world problems” of access to care and the lack of resources many patients face in their battle with cancer. A colleague shared, “she is the finest example of medical care and knowledge balanced with compassion and concern I have ever seen.”

June K. Zimmerman is an oncology social worker at Susquehanna Health Cancer Center in Williamsport, PA.  She is a strong advocate for cancer patients and their families and consistently provides support to the staff who care for them. Zimmerman organizes staff contributions of clothing and household items to provide for patients and families in need.  She is the cancer center’s recognized authority on community, state and national programs that provide resources for patients. Colleagues say that she will push through any barrier to insure that people have access to care. Her support groups are well-attended and much appreciated by patients and caregivers because of the important information that is provided and the supportive experience it brings to their lives at a most difficult time.  Through all these services Zimmerman has improved the lives of patients and families too numerous to count. She is an extraordinary problem-solver and a compassionate caregiver. 

The Society has recognized cancer caregivers through the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award since 1988.