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Katherine Norton DuHamel, PhD, died on October 8, 2023 at the age of 65. Her family is comforted to know that Kate has found peace and love, joining her beloved father, Notley Young DuHamel, in Heaven.
Kate was a loving, sensitive, kind, funny, and generous woman who could be both serious and silly, as suited the occasion. She was a one-woman cheering squad for every accomplishment of her sisters, her son, and her nieces and nephews. She took pride in being the first to sing Happy Birthday on your birthday morning and called her mother multiple times a week to check in, always with a funny quip or story.
Kate started coming to Little Compton at the age of 5 where she met her lifelong friend Victoria Gadsden. Partners in crime, Kate and Victoria took sailing lessons which mostly ended up with their dinghy on the rocks. “Every day with Kate was an adventure,” recalled Victoria. “She was my fearless leader.” Kate made friends easily, and shared them with her sisters, forming a merry band at the beach and the golf club.
At Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT, Kate established a reputation for scholarship, dance, and hijinks that her sisters could only aspire to emulate. Volunteering as a tutor in the Hartford public schools during the summer, Kate went on to Kenyon College where she excelled in psychology, modern and jazz dance, and the Spanish language. Kate completed her graduate work in General Psychology at the New School for Social Research, was a Predoctoral Fellow in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and received her PhD from the Ferkauf Graduate School in Psychology at Yeshiva University in New York City. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, where she was appointed Chief Postdoctoral Fellow.
As Kate’s mentor, Health Psychologist Marcia Greenleaf, PhD, recalled that Kate “stood out among hundreds of students, becoming a superb clinician and researcher in Psycho-Oncology. She traveled the world as an esteemed lecturer, attracting millions of dollars in research grants and publishing a wealth of important papers that earned her a prestigious full professorship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Weill Cornell Medical College.” Added Dr. Greenleaf, “Her patients loved her, and I loved to brag that she out-ranked me, her former professor. In the beginning, my husband, Dr. Herbert Spiegel and I were her ‘academic parents.’ Kate became a rare trusted friend and colleague.”
“Kate was a dedicated and accomplished clinician, scientist, scholar, and mentor in her field of Psycho-Oncology,” according to William S. Breitbart, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “While on the faculty at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. DuHamel conducted groundbreaking research on colorectal cancer screening in minority populations, developed cognitive behavioral psychotherapy interventions for treating post-traumatic stress disorder in bone marrow transplant recipients, and established programs to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors.”
According to Lina Jandorf, Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Kate had just finished a postdoctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She was eager to start the next chapter of her career with the focus on reducing cancer screening inequities. We must remember the great work she did through her research and with her patients. We will miss you Kate.”
Kate’s research, grant awards, studies, papers and certificates of distinction were legendary. Known as the “Stats Queen” to her friends, she mentored many Postdoctoral Fellows and tutored friends in her favorite subject. As she would say, “Math is my first language.” Kate was an inspiring speaker whose passion for justice aligned with her fundamental values. First and foremost, she used her considerable skills in the service others. Kate looked for opportunities to engage the public about the importance of cancer screening and prevention. She was invited to participate on a panel following the New York City performances of Wit, the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning play that challenged myths about cancer survival. Kate also appeared as a guest on the Today Show with Katie Couric and served as a co-investigator with the Katie Couric Colorectal Cancer Initiative.
Kate’s scholarly articles, research studies, and lectures can be found online. Her personal reflections on her work are featured in a Kenyon College Alumni Profile (http://bulletin-archive.kenyon.edu/x2239.html).
Throughout her years living and working in New York City, Kate returned as often as she could to her childhood summer haunt, Little Compton, RI --- and always for her birthday, when she swam in the early May ocean waters to mark the day, and later brag about it to her friends and family, specifically noting the air and water temperature.
Kate will be deeply missed by her mother Constance R. DuHamel, her son Kenny Ryan, sisters Stancy(Carolyn,) Lucie, Betsy, Emily (Monty,) and Charlotte (Greg,) her nieces and nephews:Katherine DuHamel, Grace Williams-DuHamel, Anna and Young (Mac) Kirk, Gabriel Brower, Gregory and Sacha Licholai, and Britney, her faithful dog, whom she loved fiercely and who was always by her side.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church, 74 Simmons Road, Little Compton, RI, on Saturday, October 21st at 10:00 am.
Condolences may be shared with Constance R. DuHamel at Brookdale Sakonnet Bay, 1215 Main Road, Apartment 258, Tiverton, RI, 02878. In lieu of flowers, Kate’s family requests that memorial donations be made to “Foundation at the Center for Motivation and Change”, a community that provided Kate with support and loving care.
To make a donation please visit: Donate to CMC:FFC Donation( give.cmcffc.org) or by mail to CMC:Foundation for Change, 519 8th Avenue, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10018
CMC : Foundation for Change
519 8th Avenue, 9th Floor, New York NY 10018