ResourcesPress Release

Physicians for Human Rights Welcomes Dr. Kathleen Foley to its Board of Directors

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) announced the appointment of Kathleen M. Foley, MD, to its board of directors. Dr. Foley is an attending neurologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she has worked for more than four decades. She is also a professor of neurology, neuroscience, and clinical pharmacology at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and holds the Society of Sloan Kettering Chair in Pain Research. Dr. Foley is the former medical director of the International Palliative Care Initiative, a core project under the Open Society Public Health Program.

“Dr. Kathleen Foley is one of the most respected pain and palliative care physicians in the United States and has a deep understanding of the intersection between health and human rights,” said Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director. “I’m truly honored to welcome her to the Physicians for Human Rights Board of Directors.”

In 1995, Dr. Foley became director of the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America, a $45 million, nine-year project focused on transforming the culture of death in the United States through initiatives in science, the humanities, education, and professional training. Recognizing a critical need for developing leaders and palliative care experts in order to facilitate change in patient care, she and her team created leadership programs for physicians, nurses, and social workers around the country, including at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

As director of the International Palliative Care Initiative at the Open Society Foundations, Dr. Foley worked with governments to develop pain and palliative care initiatives and policies. To date, the project has fostered more than 40 leaders from over 30 countries who will lead future palliative care efforts in their respective nations.

Under her leadership, in 1981, Memorial Sloan Kettering opened the first designated pain service in a cancer setting in the United States.

“Physicians for Human Rights plays a critical role in bringing a scientific and medical voice to the human rights movement,” Dr. Foley said. “It’s a privilege to contribute to this work.”

Dr. Foley is the past director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received numerous awards, including the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society, the David Karnovsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Frank Netter Award of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dr. Foley received her BS from St. John’s University. She then attended Cornell University Medical College, graduating as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. She went on to complete a medical internship and neurology residency at New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in neuro-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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