It is with tremendous sadness that I write to inform you of the sudden and unexpected passing of Dr. Marie-France Demierre, director of the Skin Oncology Program in Dermatology at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Dermatology and Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) on April 13.
Dr. Demierre received her medical degree and clinical training in medicine and dermatology at McGill University. She came to Boston University Medical Center for a skin oncology fellowship in 1995 where she worked under the supervision of Dr. Howard Koh and was recruited back to head the program in 1997. As director of the Skin Oncology Program at BMC, Dr. Demierre developed and expanded a highly regarded service for interdisciplinary care of melanoma patients and a photopheresis program for patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) and other disorders.
Dr. Demierre was internationally recognized for her clinical expertise in the management of melanoma and CTCL. She worked at the forefront, participating in numerous multicenter trials of new therapies for advanced melanoma and for CTCL. She was especially dedicated to melanoma prevention and public education regarding safe sun practices, as well as to patient quality of life, writing and lecturing extensively on these topics. For many years, she led the BUMC Annual Skin Cancer Screening and volunteered for the annual screening of the Boston Red Sox, where she discovered numerous early malignancies and unquestionably saved lives. She also testified repeatedly before the Massachusetts Legislature in favor of stricter regulations for the indoor tanning industry and helped document the increase in melanomas among young women who had used tanning beds. She pioneered educational programs for mothers of newborns and young children regarding life-long risks of unprotected sun exposure. In 2009, Dr. Demierre was honored for her efforts in raising awareness of sun safety, skin cancer and melanomas with the President’s Award from the Women’s Dermatologic Society. She also was honored in 2009 by the Boston Red Sox as a Medical All Star for her tireless community work promoting sun safety awareness and education to children, teens and their parents.
Dr. Demierre was a highly regarded clinician, researcher, teacher, mentor, colleague and friend whose colleagues and patients held her in the highest esteem. She will be remembered for her enthusiasm, open-mindedness, spirit of volunteerism, and loyalty to her family, friends, institutions, and always to her patients.
At this very sad time, the BMC/BU community joins together in mourning the loss of Dr. Demierre. I know that you join me in sending deepest sympathies to her husband and children. Please keep her in your memory and her family, colleagues and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Rhoda M. Alani, M.D.
Herbert Mescon Professor and Chair
Department of Dermatology
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center