Kathleen Foley

© Shaul Schwarz/Reportage by Getty Images for the Open Society Foundations

Dr. Kathleen M. Foley is the medical director of the International Palliative Care Initiative of the Open Society Public Health Program, working to advance palliative care globally. Foley has focused her career on the assessment and treatment of patients with cancer pain. With her colleagues, she has developed scientific guidelines for the use of analgesic drug therapy through clinic pharmacologic studies of opioid drugs.

She is an attending neurologist in the Pain & Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and is also professor of neurology, neuroscience, and clinical pharmacology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and previous director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Cancer Pain Research and Education at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Foley holds the chair of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Pain Research. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences for her national and international efforts in the treatment of patients with cancer pain. She is the past director of the Open Society Foundations Project on Death in America, whose goal was to transform the culture of dying in the United States through initiatives in research, scholarship, and clinical care.

Foley received the Distinguished Service Award and the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society, the David Karnovsky Award from American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Frank Netter Award from the American Academy of Neurology. She is a previous Rita Allen Scholar. Foley chaired three expert committees that resulted in the publication of the three WHO monographs on Cancer Pain and Palliative Care: “Cancer Pain Relief” (1996), “Cancer Pain Relief and Palliative Care” (1990), and “Cancer Pain and Palliative Care in Children” (1996).