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The atmosphere at the opening was celebratory. From left, John Ingram, Susan Holt, Dr. Barbara Murphy, Orrin Ingram, and Stephanie Ingram get prepared for the official opening of the program. (photos by Dana Johnson)

Pain and symptom management program opens at Cancer Center

BY: CYNTHIA MANLEY

Dr. Barbara Murphy and Dr. Harold Moses raise a toast to the benefactors, nurses, physicians and staff who have made possible the expansion of the <a href='http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/cancer'>Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center</a>\'s Pain and Symptom Management Program.

5/03/2002 - Dr. Barbara Murphy and Dr. Harold Moses raise a toast to the benefactors, nurses, physicians and staff who have made possible the expansion of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center\'s Pain and Symptom Management Program.

Dr. Harry Jacobson addressed the importance of the new program at VICC.

Dr. Harry Jacobson addressed the importance of the new program at VICC.

Songwriter Aaron Barker sings "Touch," a song he wrote in honor of cancer patients he has met while entertaining on 11North. Barker frequently performs in the clinic and hospital for patients and is a regular participant in Country in the Rockies.

Songwriter Aaron Barker sings "Touch," a song he wrote in honor of cancer patients he has met while entertaining on 11North. Barker frequently performs in the clinic and hospital for patients and is a regular participant in Country in the Rockies.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center formally dedicated its growing Pain and Symptom Management Program last week at a reception to celebrate the opening of new office space that will be the hub of the program’s activities.

The newly opened Office of Patient Support and Integrative Medicine is located in the Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic in space vacated when the division of Hematology-Oncology moved to the Preston Building last year.

Referencing Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s slogan “Hearts and Minds,” Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs, called the Pain and Symptom Management Program “an evolution in our mission” to care for the whole patient.

He and others thanked John and Stephanie Ingram for their recent $5 million gift, which will enable the program to evolve into a comprehensive center that Jacobson predicted will be a model not only for the rest of the medical center but other institutions across the country.

“With the resources we now have, we will be able to make a huge difference in the lives of patients with cancer who come here,” Jacobson said, “and we will be able to win a lot more victories for life.”

The Pain and Symptom Management Program began in 1999 with seed funding from OrthoBiotech under the direction of Dr. Barbara Murphy, associate professor of Medicine. It now includes 50-plus faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines.

Jacobson noted that the program as it exists today and as it will evolve in the future builds upon the successes of many people within the cancer center who are dedicated to meeting patients’ and families’ emotional, social and physical needs. He noted specifically Donna Huff and her staff and volunteers in the Patient and Family Care Program; Vanderbilt-Ingram Board of Overseers member and clinic volunteer Peggy Wood; and Dr. David Johnson, Cornelius Abernathy Craig Chair in Oncology and Vanderbilt-Ingram’s deputy director, and his fellow physicians who have always shown compassion for their patients’ needs.

In addition to thanking the Ingrams, the reception also honored other donors whose gifts have made expansion of the program possible. They include Patricia and Jesse Colton and Elizabeth Colton-Walls; Union Planters Bank; and Patricia and Rodes Hart.

Dr. Harold L. Moses, Benjamin F. Byrd Chair in Clinical Oncology and Vanderbilt-Ingram’s director, and Murphy both noted in their remarks that philanthropic support is crucial to the success of such a program. “This is not paid for by the federal government, not paid for by insurance companies,” Murphy said. “We have to have the community’s support.”

In addition to providing direct patient and family services to address pain and other physical, emotional and spiritual effects of a cancer diagnosis, the program includes research into these issues and training for current and future clinicians so that they can more appropriately treat or refer patients for care.

The expanded program is being organized into four main areas: pain and symptom management, patient support services, psycho-oncology, and spiritual support. Each of the four will have emphases on research, clinical services and education and training.

Among features of the expanding program:

• Increase in availability of evidence-based therapies to complement cancer treatment, including music therapy, exercise therapy, nutrition therapy and counseling, and psychological counseling for patients and families.

• Continued and expanded research into symptom management, such as treatment-induced hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and nutritional deficiencies after treatment for head and neck cancer.

• Continued and expanded investigation into patient support issues, such as patients’ and families’ “return to normalcy” once treatment is completed.

• Hiring a nurse educator to teach professionals at Vanderbilt and throughout the community about symptoms and their control.

• Hiring a clinical psychologist to direct the psycho-oncology program’s clinical efforts, and continued research into such issues as cognitive effects of chemotherapy.

• Hiring of a parish nurse and establishing research into spiritual issues related to cancer.

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