U-M cancer nurse wins national caregiver award
Lita Smith works with breast cancer patients at U-M Cancer Center-added 04/30/2012
Ann Arbor - A University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center nurse practitioner has been selected to receive the 2012 American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award, a prestigious national prize for cancer caregiving.
G. Lita Smith, M.S., R.N., A.C.N.P., a nurse practitioner in the Breast Care Center and nurse practitioner supervisor at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of 11 cancer care providers being honored this year.
"It is a privilege and an honor to work with breast cancer patients and their families. I know that each patient's journey is unique and requires individualized education, guidance and support to help patients and their families navigate through a breast cancer diagnosis and the many modalities of treatment used today," Smith says.
The Lane W. 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 people living with cancer and their families.
"Lita brings a personal commitment to every patient with whom she comes in contact. Each is her mother or her sister - and she expects the rest of us to do likewise. She is the epitome of what an oncology health care provider should be," says Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research and clinical director of the breast oncology program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
After watching her mother battle breast cancer for 10 years, Smith gained an interest in medicine and helping people. She now helps patients and their families through their entire breast cancer journey, and she is also committed to fundraising for breast cancer research and education.
"Like light in the darkness, Lita fights hard for me and with me," says Lori A. Eastman, one of Smith's patients. Eastman nominated Smith for the award. "She has made me feel as if I were the most important patient in her practice, and I know she treats all of her patients with the same concern, kindness and dedication."
The American Cancer Society has recognized cancer caregivers through the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award since 1988. The awards advisory group includes longtime national society volunteers, including Vicki Adams Quan, the daughter of Lane W. Adams, the former executive vice president of the American Cancer Society who coined the term the "warm hand of service" and made attention to compassionate care a legacy of his service.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony in Dallas on Thursday, May 3.
Written by: Nicole Fawcett