The 2015 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the senior physician category honor David N. Korones, MD, professor of pediatrics, oncology, and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The selection committee cited his success in advancing palliative care for children with brain tumors, as well as his work caring for children with cancer in Ethiopia and Russia. “David provides the highest level of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual care available,” the committee wrote.
Dr. Korones’s focus on treating children and adults with brain tumors taught him the importance of integrating the principles of palliative care into his practice. He founded the pediatric palliative care program at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in 2005, and he remains its director. The program has grown to serve about 200 children a year. Dr. Korones also directs the pediatric brain tumor program. He is an attending physician on the adult palliative care service and was the first director of the university’s Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship program. He is also the lead physician consultant at CompassionNet, a community-based pediatric palliative care program in upstate New York.
Dr. Korones “has a lot of experience and knowledge at technical levels in oncology, but what really singles him out is his ability to engage with patients and their families and help them make good medical decisions in challenging circumstances,” wrote Timothy E. Quill, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, the Georgia and Thomas Gosnell Distinguished Professor in Palliative Care and Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester, in support of his nomination.
Since 1995, Dr. Korones has been a member of the Brain Tumor Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, working on several brain tumor studies in children. He is a member of several professional groups on cancer and pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He has worked with groups of physicians who bring pediatric oncology services and palliative care to children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Novgorod, Russia.
Dr. Korones has won numerous local awards for his service to the children and families of Rochester. In 2008 was named to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes doctors and medical students who are exemplars of humanistic patient care. Erin Denney-Koelsch, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester, writing in support of his nomination, said that Dr. Korones “gives the speechless a voice, facilitates parents and children talking about the unspoken, and seems to be always available for his patients.”
Dr. Korones received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1983.