Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Palliative care at Massey

VCU Massey Cancer Center has been at the forefront of palliative care for decades. In 2005, the program earned the prestigious Circle of Life Award for its pioneering approaches to symptom management and for its commitment to making palliative medicine part of the definition of high-quality care. Today, Massey’s leadership is exemplified by its training and its research as well.

In 2012, Massey and Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU jointly earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for their palliative care programs, making them the first and only certified palliative care programs in Virginia. The Joint Commission’s certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to excellence, and just two dozen programs have been awarded the certification. The Gold Seal is one of many accolades Massey has received for its palliative care.

Massey provides patients with a continuity of palliative care across the continuum of need through three different venues:

Massey’s palliative care leaders are internationally and nationally recognized in their fields.

  • Program director Egidio Del Fabbro, M.D., is an expert in palliative medicine and known for his clinical and research interest in cancer-related fatigue and cachexia (involuntary loss of weight caused by disease). Del Fabbro has furthered Massey’s tradition of innovation by creating a supportive care clinic where cancer patients can receive advanced pain and symptom management on an outpatient basis.
  • Patrick Coyne, M.S.N., A.P.R.N., F.A.A.N., co-founder and clinical director of the program is a world-renowned pain specialist who was named one of the 30 most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2013.  
  • Clareen Wiencek, Ph.D., C.N.P., A.C.H.P.N., nurse manager of the Thomas Palliative Care Unit, serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Award-winning palliative care

Massey has earned an abundance of national and international awards for palliative care.

  • 2013: Re-accredited as a European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Designated Center of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care
  • 2013: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine honors Patrick Coyne as one of the 30 most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine
  • 2012: The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®, making Massey the first and only certified palliative care program in Virginia, and one of only 24 in the U.S.
  • 2010: European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Designated Center of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care
  • 2009-10: Veterans Affairs Palliative Care Leadership Training Center
  • 2009: VCU Educational Innovation Award for helping to create the Palliative Care Leadership Program and the Virginia Initiative for Palliative Care
  • 2009: National Palliative Care Consensus Panel Quality of Care Award for best interdisciplinary high-quality care (one of seven national winners)
  • 2008: Hematology Oncology News International HOPE award for clinical excellence for integration of palliative care into regular cancer care
  • 2007: LifeNet Award for service in organ transplantation
  • 2006: Best University Program, awarded by the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care
  • 2005: AHA Circle of Life Award; at that time, Massey’s program was one of only three in the nation to win the prestigious Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association. The award is given for innovation in the field of palliative care
  • 2003 to present: National Palliative Care Leadership Center for Cancer, originally awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Center to Advance Palliative Care
  • 2000: Milibank Memorial Fund Pioneer Award