Janet Wolter, MD, 1926-2020

Janet WolterJanet Wolter, MD, former physician and professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center, died on Feb. 4. A national leader in cancer care, Wolter was a beloved researcher, mentor and friend.

Her career at what now is Rush University Medical Center began in 1963 and spanned almost 50 years. During her time here, she collaborated with endocrinologists to find new ways to treat cancer with chemotherapy and hormone therapy. She was especially interested in the treatment of breast cancer and in 1985 co-founded the Midwest’s first comprehensive breast center, today known as the Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Clinic​.​

Wolter was passionate about care teams and encouraged nursing staff to work alongside physicians before this model of care was widely practiced.

As a professor of medicine, Wolter mentored and trained many of Rush’s well-known physicians, including Philip Bonomi, MD, the Alice Pirie Wirtz Professor of Medical Oncology, and Melody Cobleigh, MD, the Brian Piccolo Professor of Cancer Research — a professorship Wolter held from 1996 until her retirement in 2009.

Wolter held several national and local leadership positions, including being a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors and the Division of Cancer Treatment of the National Cancer Institute, and president of the Chicago chapter of the American Cancer Society. She was the first woman president of the Rush medical staff and a trustee of Rush University Medical Center from 1999 to 2003.

Wolter made a lasting impression on all who knew her and will be deeply missed.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint James, 65 E. Huron St., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Janet Wolter, M.D., Endowed Research and Education Fund here at Rush.

Read more about Wolter’s remarkable career .

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