Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island Honors Milton W. Hamolsky, MD, with the 2013 Human Dignity Award

PROVIDENCE, RI – Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island (HHCRI) honored Milton W. Hamolsky, MD, with its annual “Human Dignity Award” presented at an annual breakfast held Tuesday, September 24.       

Hamolsky, a member of the HHCRI board of directors, is considered a pioneer within the Rhode Island medical profession.  He was the first full-time physician-in-chief at Rhode Island Hospital and a major catalyst for the creation of a medical school at Brown University.  Today, HHCRI is the major teaching affiliate for hospice and palliative medicine of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

“It is with great joy and gratitude that we honor Dr. Hamolsky today with our 2013 Human Dignity Award,” said Diana Franchitto, President & CEO of HHCRI.  “I am thrilled to recognize someone who is so important and special to the medical community here in Rhode Island.  He is a champion for the values we share at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and we are indebted to him for his work in this community and across the profession.”

The Human Dignity Award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to enhancing human dignity and meaning at the end of life.  Started in 2011, the award was created in memory of Martin Temkin, a former HHCRI board member, long-time benefactor, and staunch hospice advocate.

“It is beyond fitting to honor Dr. Hamolsky today for his commitment to the dignity of the patient,” saidJoseph Chazan, MD, who helped present the award.  “Above all, Dr. Hamolsky recognizes and respects the sanctity of the patient/doctor relationship and the need for humanism and compassion in the treatment of patients, especially those in hospice care.”

A 1943 graduate from Harvard Medical School who finished first in his class, Hamolsky began his career at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston as chief medical resident.  From there he left to serve in the Army, before earning a Commonwealth Fellowship that allowed for a year of research in France, where he developed the T3 uptake test, which is still used to evaluate human thyroid function.

Hamolsky began working in Rhode Island in 1963 when he was offered the position of physician-in-chief for the Department of Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital.  As part of the offer, Hamolsky also took on a professor’s role with the Brown University’s six-year Biomedical Sciences program, which he was instrumental in transforming into the Brown University medical school. 

In addition to helping attract some of the brightest medical minds to build subspecialties of internal medicine at Rhode Island Hospital, Hamolsky also served as:  senior consultant to Miriam Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital; physician-in-chief at Women and Infants Hospital; chairman of the Rhode Island Heart Association; president of the Rhode Island Diabetes Association; and, Governor of the American College of Physician.  In 1987, Hamolsky retired from his work at Rhode Island Hospital, only to take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer for the state’s Board of Medical Licensure & Discipline, a position he held until the end of 2001.

Dr. Hamolsky thanked the members of HHCRI for their dedication to caring for people in their last stages of life.  “Hospice is one of the best groups of human beings I have ever been associated with.  They are the most compassionate, committed, dedicated people I know,” said Hamolsky.  “This is the gold standard.” 

The awards breakfast was held at the Providence Marriott and included comments from Vince Mor, PhD, who sits on the HHCRI board of directors and reflected on why the award was created, as well as, Rabbi Leslie Gutterman, who recounted Dr. Hamolsky’s many remarkable accomplishments and contributions to the Rhode Island medical community.


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