Remembering Dr. Arti Hurria

ASCO and the entire oncology community are deeply saddened by the loss of colleague, friend, ASCO Board of Directors member, and geriatric oncology leader Arti Hurria, MD, FASCO. Dr. Hurria was killed in a traffic accident on November 7, 2018.

She was the George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology, director of the Center on Cancer and Aging, co-lead of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, vice provost of clinical faculty, a professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, and a medical oncologist at City of Hope.

“Arti was a brilliant researcher and mentor, and a vibrant, shining light in the field of geriatric oncology. Her passing marks the loss of someone who made tremendous contributions to the field of oncology and to ASCO,” said ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis.

Early in her career at MSKCC, Dr. Hurria worked with Dr. Bosl on a P20 grant integrating cancer care and geriatric medicine in a comprehensive cancer center. The grant built on her early interest in oncology and geriatrics, and laid the foundation for her future, in an understudied area where there was a clear need for more knowledge.

“Older adults were a vulnerable population because they had been so unrepresented in clinical trials,” Dr. Hurria said in a previous interview with ASCO Connection. “When you tried to make treatment decisions with them, you were often looking at data derived from younger patients.”

She had been recognized for her work with a Young Investigator Award and Career Development Award from ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation, and in 2013 she was presented with ASCO’s B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. Her honors were manifold and well deserved, including the International Society of Geriatric Oncology’s Paul Calabresi Award, the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award in Aging (K23), and the Frederick Stenn Memorial Award for Humanism in Medicine.

Always, her work was driven by her genuine connection to the patients she cared for. In a past interview with ASCO Connection, when asked what she would say to young physicians considering a career in oncology, Dr. Hurria answered, “The experience that comes with holding a patient’s hand during a cancer diagnosis is one that I don’t think is paralleled anywhere else in medicine, and I would welcome young doctors into the field of oncology and into the field of geriatric oncology in particular. It’s a beautiful way to live one’s life, caring for such an incredible group of patients.”

Our hearts are with Dr. Hurria’s husband and daughter, her patients and colleagues, and the many people around the world who knew, admired, and loved her. She will be profoundly missed. 

An endowed Young Investigator Award (YIA) in Geriatric Oncology in honor of Dr. Arti Hurria has been established. We invite you to give to remember Dr. Hurria and her dedication to the oncology community.