The Frits Huyse Award 2019 goes to:
Fritz Stiefel, Lausanne University
written by Frits Huyse (Amsterdam) & Wolfgang Söllner (Nuremberg)
Fritz Stiefel, professor of consultation-liaison psychiatry at Lausanne University, Switzerland, is the 2019 winner of the Frits Huyse Award for outstanding contribution to the development of consultation-liaison psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine and integrated care.
When in 2006 Fritz Stiefel was promoted to full professor in consultation-liaison psychiatry and psychosomatics at the Centre Hospital Universitaire de Vaudois, Lausanne one of the referees for that position stated: ‘Dr Stiefel is one of the leading and most respected scientists in psycho-oncology, palliative medicine and C-L psychiatry [-]. With no doubt, he merits the promotion to a ‘fuull’ professor.’ Full mistakenly spelled as ‘fuull’! Probably the referee sensed that Fritz Stiefel would become more than a full professor in Lausanne. He would become one of the most charismatic leaders in the world of psychosomatics and C-L psychiatry.
Born in the German part of Switzerland, being married to a French woman, working in the French part and being trained by Jimmy Holland -the founder of psychooncology- in the Sloan Kettering Memorial in New York, Fritz is fluent in German, French and English needed for high quality professional communications. The combination of his psychiatric-, psychosomatic- and psychotherapeutic training, his focus on communication, his ability to translate this knowledge in well formulated original research questions made him a successful applicant for grants at the Swiss National Foundation as well as the Swiss Cancer League, which resulted in a long list of high quality publications.
Consequently, he was asked for several editorial boards. His research focus on the improvement of the doctor-patient communication made him a leader in the field of psychooncology and palliative care. Fritz Stiefel was the initiator and lead author of two international consensus conferences on communication training in oncology. He was president of the Swiss Society for Palliative Care (1999-2005) and vicepresident of the Swiss Cancer League (2006-2007).
A second focus became the improvement of integrated health service delivery for -as we now call them- ‘the complex medically ill.’ He became one of the driving forces behind the international INTERMED-workgroup, where he is renowned for his clarity, straight forwardness, his ability to share, his drive, his knowledge, his level of organization and his dedication to the treatment of the complex medical ill. Last but not least, he is an excellent psychodynamically trained clinician and teacher, who has researched and published on ethical issues and psychodynamic concepts and treatment approaches in consultation-liaison psychiatry.
All this in combination with his lack of narcissism has been an enormous stimulans for his colleagues and trainees; the prime reason to select him for the Frits Huyse Award.