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Ira Kodner, MD Endowed Chair in Supportive Care Research Established, Parker Oliver Appointed

The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital is pleased to announce the establishment of the Ira Kodner, MD Endowed Chair in Supportive Care Research by John and Anne McDonnell. The chair was named to honor Dr. Kodner, a pioneer in the field of palliative medicine and supportive care at BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine and who shares the couple’s passion for proactive palliative medicine. Dr. Kodner is an emeritus professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, a retired Solon and Bettie Gershman Endowed Chair in Colon and Rectal Surgery, and a leader in the field of surgical ethics.

The McDonnells have generously committed a transformational gift to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital to endow the Institute for Supportive Care at BJC HealthCare and endow a chair for faculty focused on research in this specialized field of medical practice. The Institute for Supportive Care, a vision led by Dr. Kodner, will sustain the necessary research and training that transitions patients from curative to palliative care, and ultimately to hospice at the appropriate time. 

Palliative medicine recognizes each patient’s unique journey and focuses on relieving the suffering of patients with advanced diseases. Palliative medicine proactively emphasizes addressing patients’ symptoms using compassionate communication combined with increased psychosocial and spiritual support, enhancing quality of life for both patients and their families.

Debra Parker Oliver, PhD, MSW, has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Ira Kodner, MD Endowed Chair in Supportive Care Research. Dr. Parker Oliver was recently recruited to Washington University School of Medicine where she is a professor of medicine in the Division of Palliative Medicine. She is a national leader in her field, serving as a principal investigator on RO1 grants from multiple National Institutes of Health centers and institutes. 

Patrick White, MD, Division Chief of Palliative Medicine and Chief Medical Officer of BJC Hospice said this announcement was timely as November is National Hospice and Palliative Care month.

“Our goal was to become a national leader in enhancing support for patients and families across the region. This is a huge step in our vision to bring that support into the patient and caregiver home,” said Dr. White.

This chair will perpetuate research and discovery in the field of palliative medicine and supportive care at BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine.

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