December 24, 2021 – Kristy Hammam, former editor-in-chief of WebMD and senior vice president, dies of breast cancer. She was 50 years old.
Kristy resigned from her 22-year career at WebMD in June 2021, after losing much of her sight as a result of treatment to fight triple-negative breast cancer. She shared her diagnosis and experience as a patient recently a fictional story for WebMD.
In the story, she talked about the difficulties of coping in the American health care system while dealing with cancer, and her dream was to start a non-profit organization that would help other patients who had less support than her.
Kristy was instrumental in creating the annual Health Heroes Awards to help WebMD identify prominent figures in health and medicine. From cancer survivors to life-changing researchers and young people representing the best future of health and medicine, Health Heroes have become a unique forum for the brightest lights in the industry.
Kristy began her career as a writer and editor at CNN before joining the medical news service Greenberg News Networks, where she produced a daily broadcast for Medcast. She was eventually promoted to head of programming. Greenberg was bought by Healtheon and WebMD, and she continued to grow with the company to become its editorial director, in charge of most of WebMD’s Atlanta office operations.
Kristy was known to her colleagues for the skills she brought into her work assignments and for many personal qualities that were highly valued. They admired her for her grace, kindness, compassion, and the way she made everyone feel important, such as listening with respect and seeking attitudes that may have been different from hers during the meetings. She often encouraged people to take risks and was often the first to celebrate the professional achievements and personal joys of her colleagues.
“Her door was always open,” said Kristyna, former executive assistant Mary Cooper. “She always had time for someone else.”
Mary remembers Kristy asking her to speak at a company meeting, and she refused, telling her boss she was shy.
“You’re not shy!” Kristy told her. “You may be embarrassed to address the group, but I feel like you’re doing well, so you’ll talk.”
Favorite by her associates at WebMd, Kristy encouraged the company to become more involved in its communities and organized paid volunteer days for staff.
“No one has had a greater impact on my career at WebMD than Kristy,” said Michael Smith, MD, former editor-in-chief of medicine at WebMD. “She helped shape what I am today both personally and professionally. Her influence will always be felt. “
In the office, Kristy advocated the idea of an event committee and helped organize events that have become a tradition of the company, such as a Halloween party and a Thanksgiving dinner that made many of our family feasts pale in comparison.
Kristy has been instrumental in designing WebMd over the years. For example, it played a key role in creating a medical reference for consumers to include award-winning health news, features and videos. One of the proudest moments for Kristy and her colleagues was when a video about schizophrenia was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“From the very beginning, Kristy has done an amazing job,” said Steve Zatz, MD, former CEO of WebMD. “She managed to juggle all those different responsibilities she had and perform them superbly. She could argue with celebrities and spreadsheets just as skillfully. ”
Even after she was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy, Kristy actively led the editorial team through merging with Internet Brands.
Kristy holds a degree in English Language and Art History from Emory University. She is survived by her husband Nabil, sons Milo and Evan, and their extended family.
“We think she has a lot more to do, just elsewhere,” said Kristy’s mother, Marilyn Lawson.