Dr. Robert Parker is honored by the American Cancer Society
DIRECTOR OF SBUMC PEDIATRIC CANCER PROGRAM HONORED BY AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY WITH NATIONAL AWARD
Robert I. Parker, M.D., Director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stony Brook University Medical Center, received the 2008 American Cancer Society (ACS) Lane Adams Quality of Life Award. He received the award at a ceremony in Los Angeles on May 9.
Marion E. Morra, ACS Board of Directors,
Robert I. Parker, M.D.,and
Elmer E. Huerta, M.D., ACS National Volunteer President..
The Lane Adams Quality of Life Award recognizes individuals who have made a difference through innovation, leadership, and consistent excellence in providing compassionate, skilled care, and counsel to persons living with cancer and their families. The ACS honored what the Society calls the unsung heroes of cancer care who give hope and provide “the warm hand of service,” a phrase coined by the late Lane W. Adams, an ACS executive vice president for which the award is named.
“Dr. Parker has gone above and beyond the call of duty when caring for children with cancer and other diseases,” says Richard N. Fine, M.D, Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and a former Chair of Pediatrics at SBUMC. “The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program he started has become one that families on Long Island can count on for world-class care, and it is a program that has brought much hope to families who have seriously ill children.”
Dr. Parker began the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in 1991 when he first came to SBUMC from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., where he spent 11 years. Since that time, 60 percent of the children diagnosed with cancer in Suffolk County have received their treatment through the program. Dr. Parker is recognized by his colleagues and staff as a physician whose face lights up when he sees the children he cares for (as do the faces of his patients) and a pediatrician who does whatever is necessary to ensure that the children and their families get the care and support they need, especially during the difficult times encountered during treatment.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award from the American Cancer Society,” says Dr. Parker. “The ultimate joy for me as a pediatrician is helping children when they need medical care the most. Seeing these kids grow up to be healthy, happy and productive adults is better than any recognition I could ever receive,” he emphasizes, noting that he and his team treat with the intent to cure these children, as well as maintain a focus on doing what is necessary to enable the them to become well-adjusted adults.
“I also see this award as a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our team of incredibly compassionate and motivated individuals, and within a very supportive hospital,” adds Dr. Parker.
Under Dr. Parker’s direction, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stony Brook has become a top regional program for cancer care. The program is part of the Children’s Oncology Group, an international organization of more than 220 pediatric oncology programs that sponsors the most promising treatments for childhood cancer through clinical trials.
Support programs for patients and families have also grown significantly during the past 10 years. Most notably, the School Re-Entry Program, a collaborative effort of physicians, nurses, child life specialists, and educational liaisons that facilitates a child’s return to school after treatment, has received national attention as a model program. Other unique family support programs developed by Dr. Parker and his team include an educational award given to every “graduate” of the program to help defray the costs of post-high school education.
A pediatric oncologist since 1978, Dr. Parker lives in Setauket, N.Y., with his wife, Margaret Parker, M.D., Director of Pediatric Intensive Care at SBUMC, and their four sons.