C. Holland, MD has been central to the establishment of
psychosocial oncology as a subspecialty within oncology dealing
with the psychological, social, and behavioral aspects
of cancer. In the 1970s, she recognized the need to treat
the emotional trauma experienced by many cancer patients
and their families, and ultimately became the founder
of the field of psychosocial oncology.
With two Fellows, Dr. Holland started the Psychiatry Service
at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in
1977, developing the methods for diagnosing and treating
psychiatric in people with cancer. The Service achieved
departmental status in 1996 and Dr. Holland became Chair
of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
The Center’s psychiatry program has become the country’s
largest training and research program in psychiatric oncology.
Dr. Holland conducted some of the first epidemiological
studies of the psychological impact of cancer on individuals
and their families, studying how cancer affects patients,
their families and care givers, and how psychological
and behavioral factors affect risk of cancer and survival.
Dr. Holland is credited with putting psychosocial and
behavioral research on the agenda of the American Cancer
Society in the early 1980s, leading to the creation of
the Society’s scientific advisory committee on psychosocial
and behavioral research. The Society awarded her its Medal
of Honor in 1993. She also is the founding President of
the American Society of Psychosocial Oncology (APOS) and
Psycho-oncology Society (IPOS), which provide international
and national networks for clinicians and researchers in
A graduate of Baylor University in Waco, TX, Dr. Holland
earned her medical degree from the Baylor Medical School
in Houston. She interned at St. Louis City Hospital and
had residency training at Malcolm Bliss Psychiatric Hospital,
Washington University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Holland held appointments in the Department of Psychiatry
at the State University of New York at Buffalo between
1956 and 1973 and at the major teaching hospital where
she served as Director of Psychiatry.
In 1972-1973, Dr. Holland served as a Special Consultant
in the Soviet Union on a National Institute of Mental
Health Joint Schizophrenia Research Study. In 1974, she
became Assistant Chief of the Psychiatric Consultation
Services, Montefiore Hospital, Albert Einstein College
of Medicine. In 1977, she became Chief of the Psychiatry
Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and
Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical
College, becoming Vice-Chairman of the Cornell Department
of Psychiatry in 1996. In 1989, Dr. Holland was appointed
to the first endowed chair for psychosocial oncology, the Wayne
E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology. In the same
year, she published, as senior editor, the first text
on psychosocial oncology, The Handbook of Psychooncology, Oxford
University Press. In 1998, her new Textbook of Psycho-Oncology
was published by Oxford University Press. In the fall
of 2000, Dr. Holland published, with medical journalist
Sheldon Lewis, The Human Side of Cancer, HarperCollins.
She is co-founder of the Psycho-Oncology journal and serves
on several editorial boards, including Cancer.
A Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the
American College of Psychiatrists, and a former President,
as well, of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr.
Holland has served on national committees for the National
Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental
Health. She was elected as a Fellow in the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Science in 1995. The
American Psychiatric Association awarded her its Presidential
Commendation in 2000.