Columbia Ob/Gyn announces Edmée Firth Prize for outcomes research in ovarian cancer

October 8, 2021

Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology announced the first annual Edmée Firth Prize for Outcomes Research in Ovarian Cancer. The prize honors Edmée Firth and her family and is meant to reduce the burden of ovarian cancer and improve outcomes for women with the disease.

Targeted towards patient-oriented translational and outcomes research, the prize supports novel projects that develop new directions in ovarian cancer research. Priority areas of interest include early detection, strategies directed toward reducing the toxicity of therapy, maintenance therapy, precision therapeutics, and treatment of relapsed disease. For more information on the award, eligibility, and selection criteria, visit columbiaobgyn.org/edmee-firth-prize.

The award will be in the amount of $25,000 to $50,000. The prize is supported by a generous gift from the family of Edmée Firth, who passed away in 2021 after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer.

About Edmée de Montmollin Firth

Born in Switzerland, Edmée de Montmollin Firth received the baccalaureate from the Lycée Francais in New York, attended Barnard College and graduated from Boston University. She spoke fluent French and German, and what she wryly termed “ambulatory” Italian and Spanish. 

As the first Executive Director of the Shakespeare Globe Center North America, she headed the American effort to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. She was Executive Director of the Musician’s Emergency Fund and the Wethersfield Foundation. Edmee served on the Boards of the MacDowell Colony, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, New York City Opera, and the Brookdale Center on Aging, as well as the Advisory Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York Council for Weil Cornell Medicine. She was Co-President of the International Friends of the Festival d’Aix en Provence.

Executive Director, since 1991, of the Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, she made transformative grants for Aging, Arts, Education and Social Services, supporting programming for the underserved audiences, assisting New Yorkers with basic needs and connecting them to support services to help improve and enrich their lives.

Edmée adored the opera, travel, entertaining and above all, her three children and eleven grandchildren. Edmée and her husband  Nick travelled broadly, and made homes in New York City, Bedford, NY and St. Remy de Provence. Wherever they were, Edmée found and nurtured a legion of friends, whose kindness sustained her in recent years.

She was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in 2016. She fought aggressively and was treated by top doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center with the most advanced treatments and clinical trials. Despite moderate success and multiple remissions, she died in March 2021, a little more than 5 years after diagnosis . She approached her illness as she did her life — with gallantry, and grace.