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Surgeon, Cancer Researcher Yvedt Matory Dies at 48

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 20, 2005; Page B06

Yvedt Love Matory, 48, a breast cancer surgeon, clinical researcher and founder of an online business that sought to use new technology to shorten patient hospital stays, died April 15 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Needham, Mass. Her death was a result of complications arising from melanoma.

Dr. Matory, who grew up in Washington, was an associate surgeon in the Division of Surgical Oncology and co-chairman of the Women's Cancer Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She also was the author of numerous medical journal articles on breast cancer, with a special interest in its links to African American women.

Yvedt Love Matory also founded a company to monitor patients after their release from the hospital. (Mainframe Photographics)

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At the height of her medical career, in the late 1990s, she decided that she needed additional skills to start a business that would use computers and remote monitoring equipment to help deliver health care to patients after their return home from the hospital. Remote monitoring was one of her research specialties.

She began working on a master's degree in business administration at Columbia University in 1998, even as she kept up her practice and her work at Brigham and Women's -- and shortly before giving birth to twins.

"She always had an entrepreneurial bent," her husband, Randall Kennedy, a writer and Harvard Law School professor, recalled. "Once she found out she was expecting, I thought she would say [of business school], 'Good idea, but maybe for a later time.' But she didn't. She plowed ahead."

"For whatever reason, I'm pretty good at time management," Dr. Matory told a Columbia Business School alumni publication. "I found out that I got into business school at essentially the same time I found I was expecting. So I just did it. I studied as I traveled -- about six hours round-trip between Boston and New York -- and typically between 9 p.m. and midnight when everyone else was asleep."

She received her degree in 2000 and established HospitalCareOnLine the same year.

The daughter of a surgeon, she was born on a U.S. Air Force base in Misawa, Japan, where her father was in the service. She attended Shepherd Elementary School in Washington and graduated from Sidwell Friends School.

As a child, she was interested in medicine. At her father's side, she learned about chemistry and practiced suturing and knot-tying in his surgical laboratory at the Howard University College of Medicine. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1977 and received her medical degree from Yale University Medical School in 1981.

She was an intern at Yale University Hospital and a resident at Howard University Hospital, as well as a fellow at the School of Medicine at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo and at the National Cancer Institute. She finished her training in surgery at New England Deaconess Hospital and completed a surgical fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center before joining the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1992.

She built a successful clinical practice in Boston and published significant scientific research, much of it involving methods of attacking cancers by mobilizing immunological responses. She became an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School in 2000.

Dr. Matory retained a lifelong interest in African art and Japanese culture and became, in recent years, an accomplished pianist. On April 10, she played the Allegro of Mozart's Sonata in G, K. 283, at an adult student recital at the New School of Music in Cambridge. She had resumed piano lessons after a long hiatus, primarily to encourage her son. She was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and served on the board of trustees of Sidwell Friends School. She also devoted considerable time and energy to the American Cancer Society.

"Yvedt was a remarkable person, very talented, very vivacious," said Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rosenberg was Dr. Matory's mentor when she held a medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in the mid-1980s. More recently, he was her physician.

Survivors include her husband of 19 years, of Dedham, Mass.; three children, Henry William Kennedy, Thaddeus James Kennedy and Rachel Elizabeth Kennedy, also of Dedham; her father, Dr. William E. Matory, and her stepmother, Dr. Rita Rigor-Matory, both of Washington; a sister, Elizabeth Felicity Matory of Washington; and three brothers, Dr. William E. Matory of Virginia Beach, Dr. James Lorand Matory of Cambridge and Marine Capt. William Joseph Matory of Washington.

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