Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng receives Dr. Ali Al-Johani Award for exceptional patient care

Pulmonologist’s work honored as ‘invaluable to transplant patients’
Drs. Guang-Shing Cheng and Nancy Davidson
Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng (left) received the Al-Johani Award on Feb. 4 from Dr. Nancy Davidson. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng, a pulmonologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has received the 2020 Dr. Ali Al-Johani Award. The award recognizes exceptional medical care and compassion to transplant patients and families.

“Dr. Cheng is a key member of our pulmonary group,” said Dr. Nancy E. Davidson, director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Clinical Research Division, who presented the award to Cheng on Monday. “Everyone knows about the amazing clinical care she provides as well as her research excellence in all things related to pulmonary complications and transplant.”

Awardees are nominated by their fellow caregivers at Fred Hutch and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and chosen by a committee that includes the clinical research division director and representatives from nursing, clinical faculty, and quality and patient services.

Cheng joined Fred Hutch in 2012 to focus on improving outcomes for cancer patients with lung diseases. Her main research interest is bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, or BOS, a rare but deadly complication of blood stem cell transplant. According to a colleague who nominated her for the award, that work has been “invaluable to our transplant patients.”

“(Cheng) is delightful and responsive, always with patients’ interests at heart,” her colleague wrote. “She readily communicates with patient concerns and is willing to answer a call and give advice at any time of the day.”

As she accepted the award, Cheng said it was particularly meaningful because it came from her colleagues at Fred Hutch and SCCA.

“You are all my heroes because you are the ones innovating and bringing new treatments to patients with cancer,” she said. “My father died of an aggressive lymphoma while I was in college, and while he wasn’t able to benefit from the treatments that are available today thanks to the innovations of faculty here and elsewhere, it’s very important to me to be able to support those efforts to make transplants and other therapies as successful as possible.”   

The Dr. Ali Al-Johani Award, which comes with a cash prize and a crystal plaque, began in 2001 with a contribution from its namesake, a former Hutch leukemia patient who wished to reward excellent patient care in gratitude for the care he received. Previous winners include:

Jake Siegel is a former staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Previously, he covered health topics at UW Medicine and technology at Microsoft. He has an M.A. from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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