Davis, Kathy

Davis, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Kathy Davis
  • Founder and Director of KU Kids Healing Place
  • Expert on pediatric palliative care
  • Renowned advocate for holistic approaches to pediatric palliative care

Dr. Kathy Davis began her career as a special education teacher working with orthopedically handicapped children. Today she is a leading expert in pediatric palliative care and Director of KU Kids Healing Place at KUMC.

Dr. Davis’s role in founding and directing KU Kids Healing Place has made it one of the nation’s leading programs for pediatric palliative care. Dr. Davis’ selfless commitment to helping children is best illustrated by the words of her nominator; “Kathy has dedicated herself since 1974 to improving the lives of ill children and helping families with terminally ill children deal with end of life issues.”  Dr. Davis and the KU Kids Healing Place utilize a holistic approach to pediatric palliative care that is rarely found in other programs. Her program includes children with chronic illnesses, terminally ill children, and provides support for families.

One of Dr. Davis’s residents wrote that “She teaches young physicians and nurses to have compassion in ways they never knew they could,” and inspires every person she meets. It is that compassion that influenced Dr. Davis to develop novel programming and educational material on the psychosocial needs of children with chronic illnesses. She adapted her research for live and distance-learning technologies in order to reach out to the regional and national community.  A colleague of Dr. Davis wrote that she “has and continues to have an impact on children with chronic or life-threatening illness and their families; this impact is not only seen with individual patients at the University of Kansas Hospital, but across the country.” Her methods are nationally respected and she is often invited to speak at conferences and other educational gatherings in order to share her unique vision on pediatric palliative care.

Dr. Martha Barnard wrote, “The University of Kansas should be proud that she [Dr. Davis] was educated from her baccalaureate to her doctorate degrees in its classrooms,” the Emily Taylor Center could not agree more.

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