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Hospice Pioneer Receives Yale Honorary Doctorate


For immediate release
Date:    2002

Dr. Jeanne Quint Benoliel, a pioneer in the development of hospice programs in the Pacific Northwest, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Medical Sciences degree from Yale University.

One of 10 recipients of honorary degrees from a list that includes popular filmmaker Steven Spielberg and civil rights pioneer Robert L. Carter, Benoliel was chosen for her pioneering work in thanatology, the study of death and dying.

Dr. Jeanne Benoliel with fellow honoree Steven Spielberg
at a luncheon following Yale commencement ceremonies.

Speaking from her home in Fall City, Washington, the retired professor of nursing emerita from the University of Washington says that she was "very impressed to be a part of such an impressive group of people." She notes that she was "treated royally" while at Yale, attending a President's Banquet with other honorary doctorate recipients and marching into the graduation ceremony through a formal line of students. "It was quite an experience," she adds.

During her 20 years in the UW School of Nursing, Benoliel founded one of the first graduate programs in the nation to train nurses to launch community-based services for advanced cancer patients and their families. Her work has addressed the needs of entire families in confronting death and dying, emphasizing the role of the family in caring for loved ones. In addition, her research studies of terminal cancer patients and their interactions with doctors and nurses are credited with transforming the education of health care providers, again emphasizing the role of the family in providing care.

Benoliel has authored six books, among them The Nurse and the Dying Patient, Death Education for the Health Professional, and three volumes of the Annual Review of Nursing Research. She has also produced hundreds of articles, presentations and speeches and was the first nurse to serve as chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement.

Among many other honors, Benoliel was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing for her contributions to the field of cancer nursing, and awarded a Research Award from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in recognition of her four decades of research in end-of-life care. In 2002, Benoliel received the Oncology Nursing Society Lifetime Achievement Award.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently the nation’s No. 1-ranked nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service.