Caring for patients who are near the end of life has emerged as an important focus for American medicine. Not only is the proportion of people who die from chronic and degenerative diseases increasing, but also their final year or two often remain highly uncertain, and their suffering considerable. Increasingly, physicians in all specialties need skills and virtues necessary to provide excellent care for those near the end of life. The Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards aim to foster those skills and virtues by providing financial prizes to those physicians, young and old, who have demonstrated exemplary care and initiative with their patients in these situations and with their colleagues. The time and care required to provide such knowledgeable and compassionate care typically receive little financial compensation. These awards attempt to recognize that current economic reality and to offset it in some modest way.
In addition, the awards stimulate recognition in the physicians’ communities for the important work they are doing. There are five prizes totaling $95,000. Three of the awards will be for $15,000 each and go to early-career physicians (7 or fewer years in practice) who have demonstrated a serious commitment to caring for patients near the end of life. Awards serve to recognize recipients’ dedication and give them public acknowledgment of their work. A second goal is to reward them with a modest financial stipend at a time in their medical careers when daily life can be a financial struggle. Two other prizes will be in the amount of $25,000 each. The first will go to a mid-career physician (8 to 19 years in practice), and the second to a senior physician (20 years plus in practice). These prizes will be awarded to physicians who have demonstrated—through leadership and practice —a serious and valuable commitment to their patients and to the broad field of caring for those near the end of life. All nominees must be licensed physicians practicing in the United States.
These prizes are awarded by the Cunniff-Dixon Foundation in partnership with The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute dedicated to exploring issues in medicine, public health, and science as they affect individuals, society, and the public interest. The prize recipients are selected by a committee convened by The Hastings Center.