Kathleen Foley

Kathleen Foley

Dr. Kathleen M. Foley is an Attending Neurologist in the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. She is Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and holds the Chair of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Pain Research.

In 1981, Dr. Foley was appointed chief of the newly formed Pain Service within the Department of Neurology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It was the first designated pain service in a cancer center in the United States. Dr. Foley was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science for her national and international efforts in the treatment of patients with cancer pain. She is currently Director of the Project on Death in America of the Open Society Institute. This project is focused on transforming the culture of death in America through funding initiatives in research, scholarship, and clinical care.

Dr. Foley has focused her career on the assessment and treatment of patients with cancer pain. She has defined the epidemiology, classified the common causes and defined the common pain syndromes that occur in this patient population. With her colleagues, she has developed scientific guidelines for the treatment of cancer pain with analgesic drug therapy through clinical pharmacologic studies of opioid drugs.

Dr. Foley is a past President of the American Pain Society and a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Neurology and the International Association of the Study of Pain. She has received numerous awards and honors including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Cancer Society, the David Karnovsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Frank Netter Award of the American Academy of Neurology.

As an expert consultant to the World Health Organization Cancer and Palliative Care Unit and as past director of a WHO Collaborating Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Foley chaired three expert committees resulting in the publication of three WHO Monographs: Cancer Pain Relief (1986), Cancer Pain Relief and Palliative Care (1990) and Cancer Pain and Palliative Care in Children (1996).

Dr. Foley lives in New York with her husband, Charles Foley. They have two sons, Fritz and David.