Cornelius O. “Skip” Granai, MD
Cornelius O. “Skip” Granai, MD, Founder of the Program in Women’s Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, died on June 28, 2020, after a long bout with cancer.
Dr. Granai strongly believed that cancer care for women should encompass both breast and gynecologic cancers, according to his colleagues, who noted the concept was unique when he first espoused the idea at Women & Infant’s Hospital but ultimately proved to be a model for many other institutions. Dr. Granai was also an educator and a mentor. His legacy remains in the fellows, residents, and students he trained, they noted.
Keen Understanding of Human Nature
Over the course of his professional life, Dr. Granai was on the faculties of Tufts, Harvard, and Brown Universities and on the staffs of the New England Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, ultimately joining Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, where he served for more than 30 years. Dr. Granai became Director of Women’s Oncology and Executive Chief of Oncology for Care New England. That innovative, patient-centered program emphasized the importance of the arts and the heart in equal parts with medical knowledge in the practice of medicine.
Dr. Granai taught the many oncology fellows and residents he trained to keep “fighting the good fight.” Central to this belief is advocating strongly for what they learn from being at a patient’s bedside and by remembering the values and privilege that brought them to medicine in the first place. His colleagues added that his keen understanding of human nature and his caring heart showed clearly in the poetry he wrote and the music he loved. He found inspiration in the beauty of the farm on which he lived and the work he would do on it. His final speaking engagement, entitled “Moo,” blended the farm and his life-long message of the humanistic way to practice medicine.
Dr. Granai graduated from the University of Vermont in the class of 1970. He had joined Army ROTC while in college and served in the Army before going back to school. He went on to earn a master’s degree in cell biology from the University of Vermont and received his medical degree from the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine in 1977. He served a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at New England Medical Center in Boston.
Survived by a Loving Family
Dr. Granai is survived by Ann Kirby, his loving partner; his four children Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius O. (Tad) Granai IV (wife Lindsey, children Hannah and Lilah); Robert Granai (wife Audra, children Ava, Tyler, and Ella); and their mother Mary Manzi; Lily Granai and Kile Granai, and their mother Cheryl Granai; his sisters Susan Granai (husband David Van Slyke) and Mary Corrigan (husband Ed); beloved nieces and nephews, caring aunts, and cousins; his faithful dog, Jenna; and an extended family in which he would include his many colleagues.
This obituary was adapted from a tribute written by Dr. Granai’s colleagues at Women & Infants and published online at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.