Nationally Recognized Supportive Care Services Expert Joins Cedars-Sinai

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

Scott Irwin, MD, PhD, Will Integrate Oncology Supportive Care Throughout the Health System

Scott Irwin, MD, PhD, FAPM, FAPA, a nationally recognized expert in the fields of oncology supportive care, palliative care psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine has been named medical director of Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Irwin will oversee oncology Supportive Care Services at the Institute and across Cedars-Sinai Health System. The services are designed to maximize the well-being of cancer patients and their loved ones through an interdisciplinary cancer care team that includes clinical social workers, nurses, palliative medicine physicians, psychiatrists, registered dieticians, rehabilitation specialists and spiritual care practitioners. Irwin’s role additionally will extend to serving as a member of the leadership team for psychosomatic medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.

“I’m excited to join Cedars-Sinai because the institution shares my belief that – in relation to cancer care and beyond – the dignity of the person comes first, whether you are a patient or a family member,” Irwin said. “I feel that Cedars-Sinai and the Cancer Institute are special places.”

The author or coauthor of more than 100 articles, chapters and abstracts, Irwin also will lead research – currently funded by the National Palliative Care Research Center – into the feasibility and safety of using ketamine for the treatment of depression in patients with head and neck cancers. Irwin additionally will investigate the impact of supportive care services on patients’ psychosocial and cancer outcomes, as well as the impact on health system utilization.

“Dr. Irwin brings expertise in all aspects of supportive care services that help patients and families better cope with the stress of cancer treatment,” said Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. “His academic and research leadership will not only enhance our supportive care services but also will contribute to improvements in the field at a national level.”

Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Irwin served as director of Patient and Family Support Services at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He also held the positions of director of Palliative Care Psychiatry at the UC San Diego Health System and associate professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. In addition, he was the founder and chief of Psychiatry and Psychosocial Services at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine.

“Dr. Irwin has been an innovator in the field of supportive care services as well as in whole-person, patient- and family-centered cancer care,” said Robert Figlin, MD, FACP, deputy director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine. “Under his leadership, we look forward to an expansion of Supportive Care Services’ staff and programs.”

Irwin earned a bachelor’s of Science in psychobiology from UCLA. He received both his doctorate in neurosciences and his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.