Dear Simms/Mann and UCLA Community,
It is with some degree of sadness that I announce that I have decided to step away from the day-to-day operations of the Center as its Director. This has not been an easy decision for me as the Center is like my own child, and I have invested an abundance of my heart, mind and soul. The calling of my family’s needs and my worldview that, “You only have one life, make it meaningful” has led me to this place. I am stepping away to be with my father who turned 90 this past year and my new grandchildren. As of the end of June 2018, I will move from the foreground of the Center to the background in an emeritus role.
It has been 25 years since the Dean of the UCLA School of Medicine recruited me from my research to develop a comprehensive center for patients with cancer and their families, and 38 years since I began in this field. I knew from my and my colleagues’ research that there were significant psychosocial needs and meaningful interventions that could make a difference for those touched by cancer. When I began the strategic plan for the Center in 1992, those interventions were not offered in any medical setting, nor anywhere in the world. From the outset, I understood the intense financial burdens caused by cancer and its treatments, and I set a goal to offer psychosocial care without fees, relying instead on philanthropic support to fund the Center. For a quarter of a century, the Center has been able to provide its care based on the generosity of the grateful and the incredible skills, knowledge and abilities of an amazing team. I am deeply proud of what has been accomplished over my tenure as the Founding Director of the Center. We have served well over 50,000 patients and families, we have had over 30,000 participants at our Insights Into Cancer free public lectures, and we have trained over 100 professionals now advancing the field of psycho-oncology across the country and world. We expanded the Center, which originally served women only, to all adults with cancer. In addition, we have added and now have psychiatric support, spiritual care, an integrative specialist and a boutique.
I am deeply grateful to the Simms/Mann Family Foundation, and in particular Vicki and Ron Simms, for their tremendous support and involvement in the Center. Their support for programs oriented to helping others over multiple decades is a testament to their commitment to improve the lives of people touched by cancer and to envision a Center that represents the best of integrative care. We would not exist without them.
I am grateful to our Advisory Board and our many donors, large and small, who have been so generous who have sustained us, enabling us to expand and flourish! We could not have expanded without you.
I am grateful to the patients and families who have enriched my life so deeply and meaningfully. It has been an honor and a privilege to walk with you through often difficult and painful experiences, and you have taught me countless life lessons. I will miss being part of your lives.
My staff is extraordinary–creative, capable and forward thinking. I will miss seeing you each day and most importantly, being here to problem-solve, collaborate, and nurture your growth. You have taught me much about leadership, teamwork and cohesion. I will miss my colleagues at UCLA who are smart, cutting edge and highly dedicated in all aspects of caring about cancer and the people it affects. I will miss the meetings and the collaboration!
Finally, I want to thank my family and friends who have had to share me with many people, often at inopportune times. I am grateful to you for your patience, compassion and support of my long hours at the office and my weariness when I arrived home.
The Center will be in the best hands moving forward. Dr. Kauser Ahmed, with whom I have worked closely for 15 years, will be at the helm. She will be a remarkable leader who thinks clearly, is compassionate and caring and a strong team builder. She will bring her unique skills and greatness to this position; I know that she also embodies all of the most important values that I hold dear.
Thank you all for the memories and an amazing quarter century of my life.
With love and gratitude,
Anne Coscarelli, Ph.D.
- To make a gift in honor of Dr. Coscarelli, which will be directed to a fund in her name to function as an endowment that will help the Simms/Mann Center continue its vital work, please visit www.cancer.ucla.edu/Coscarelli or mail a check to:
Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF)
8-950 Factor Bldg
Los Angeles CA 90095-1780
- Please make your check payable to Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation and include a note indicating your gift is in honor of Dr. Coscarelli.
- The staff at the JCCF is happy to answer any questions you may have at (310) 206-0675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.