Dr. Anneliese Lotte Sitarz,
Pioneering Clinical Pediatric Oncologist, Dies at 87.
Dr. Anneliese Lotte Sitarz, distinguished pediatric oncologist, professor emeritus of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and one of the founding investigators of the Children’s Cancer Group at the NIH, died at her Maplewood, NJ, home on October 3rd. She was 87.
Anneliese Lotte Sitarz was born on August 31st, 1928 in Medellin, Colombia, arrived in the US in 1935 and grew up in Summit, NJ. Her father, Hans Sitarz, was an immigrant from Austria and international banker on Wall Street. Her mother, the former Elisabeth Noll, was an immigrant from Germany.
A graduate of Summit High School, she attended Bryn Mawr College where she earned an A.B. (cum laude) degree in 1950. After earning a Doctor of Medicine degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1954, she interned at Children’s Medical Center in Boston. She subsequently did her residency in pediatrics at The Babies Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
A pioneering clinical oncologist, Dr. Sitarz, practiced for more than five decades in the vanguard of pediatric hematology and cancer care. Training at Babies Hospital, where she later joined the staff and rose to the rank of professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Dr. Sitarz served on the committee established to formulate criteria by which to evaluate responses to therapy. In a landmark paper published in 1965, on which she was the lead author, Dr. Sitarz documented that patients with solid tumors could benefit from chemotherapy that had been used to treat leukemia.
During her career, Dr. Sitarz authored and/or co-authored numerous research papers, significant chapters in six books, and a large number of symposium presentations on advancements in pediatric hematology and oncology. Among her many other accomplishments, she directed the computerization a pediatric tumor registry for the period from 1948 to the mid-1980s, the oldest in the country.
A compassionate clinician attuned to the suffering as well as the science, she created and directed for many years a program called “Parents Caring for Children with Cancer,” in which a pediatric oncologist and a psychologist met once a month for a question and answer session with patients’ parents. As many parents will attest, this program was a major support factor for them as they walked through their children’s illnesses.
Dr. Sitarz was among the medical professionals honored in 2005 in an exhibition at the National Library of Medicine titled “Challenging the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians.”
She is survived by her beloved brother, Hans Walter Sitarz, along with her nieces, Cecille Sitarz Kinsey, Suzanne Sitarz Campagna, Kathryn Sitarz Spinelli, and Miriam Sitarz Anderson and her nephew, Hans Walter Sitarz, Jr.
A time of visitation will be held on Friday evening, October 16th, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm at Bradley, Brough & Dangler Funeral Home, 309 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ, with a funeral service to be celebrated on Saturday, October 17th, at 10:00 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church, 31 Woodland Ave, Summit with interment following at Fairmount Cemetery, Chatham Township, NJ. The Reverend Canon Matthew T.L. Corkern, Rector, officiating. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, 7301 Ohns Lane, Suite 355, Minneapolis, MN, 55439 at: childrenscancer.org.