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The one hundred honoree: Lucy Kalanithi, MD

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Lucy Kalanithi, MD

Mass General Giving

With the insight of both a physician and a caregiver, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi brings a truly unique perspective to the importance of caregiving, end-of-life care, bereavement, and resilience in medicine.

Dr. Kalanithi is the widow of Paul Kalanithi, MD, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air. This meditation on mortality and meaning spent 12 weeks at number one on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. Dr. Kalanithi helped to complete the manuscript after Paul’s passing.

In an essay she wrote for the New York Times, titled “My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became A Widow,” Dr. Kalanithi reflected on the book: “Before he died, Paul asked me to shepherd the manuscript of his book to publication. Doing so, over the past months, I have felt I am continuing to help Paul live out his life, and to give this gift to our daughter.”

A clinical assistant professor of Medicine on faculty at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Kalanithi completed her medical degree at Yale, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society. She completed her residency at the University of California-San Francisco, and her postdoctoral fellowship training in healthcare delivery innovation at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center. Dr. Kalanithi is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

She was a speaker at TEDMED in 2016 and has appeared on NPR, PBS Newshour, Yahoo News with Katie Couric, The New York Times, Elle and Charlie Rose. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.