Richard Payne Wins Award for Leadership in Healthcare

Richard Payne, the Esther Colliflower Professor of Medicine and Divinity at Duke Divinity School, has been awarded the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Health Care by the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN).

Dr. Payne is an internationally-known expert in the areas of pain relief, palliative care, oncology, and neurology. HCCN, a national nonprofit organization focused on spiritual care, gave the award during its May 12 Annual Convocation Ceremony in New York, at which chaplains from around the world renewed their commitment to spiritual care.

“The Pioneer Award is so meaningful to me because of the quality and reputation of the HealthCare Chaplaincy,” said Payne. “I am flattered beyond belief to be included on the list of previous awardees whom I consider mentors and heroes of the practice of humanistic health care.”

In presenting the medal, Rev. Eric J. Hall, HCCN’s president and CEO, called Payne ”an iconic figure” in health care and spiritual care.

“He has a profound commitment to science and, moreover, to patients during vital points in their health care,” Hall said. “As such, he has made both enormous contributions to the field and an enormous difference in people’s lives.”

Payne is also the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo. He has more than 275 publications in his fields of expertise, has edited four books, and led the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York from 1998 to 2004.

In looking at the health care landscape, especially in light of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Payne offered this advice: “Changes in the way we care for those who are seriously ill and dying and their families must be patient-centric; that is, they must be based on the goals and values of the patient and respectful of their cultural and religious beliefs. We cannot allow palliative care to simply become a component of the ‘business’ of health care delivery.”

HCCN introduced the Pioneer Medal five years ago to recognize distinguished leaders in the field as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration. Payne is one of two recipients of the award this year, along with Larry VandeCreek, a researcher for the profession of health care chaplaincy and and former director of research at HCCN.