Dr. William G. “Bill” Woods, age 77, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Atlanta, GA.

Bill was born on October 11, 1946 in Baltimore, MD. He received his B.S. degree in biology from Bucknell University, in 1968, followed by his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. He completed his Residency in Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, followed by a Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Cornell University. Bill joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota as an instructor in 1977, and spent a year in Oakland, California in 1978, before returning to Minnesota as an assistant professor in 1979.

Bill remained on the faculty at the University of Minnesota for 17 years, becoming Director of Pediatric Hematology in 1993. Bill’s accomplishments during this time include receiving his first R01 grant on the cellular biology of hereditary retinoblastoma (1982), being the recipient of several teaching awards from the residency program, and devoting significant efforts to mentorship. Bill also began to pursue an interest in neuroblastoma, and was a vital part of an international team who performed a careful and important population-based study of neonatal screening for neuroblastoma. As Bill later shifted his focus to the treatment of children with AML, he chaired the groundbreaking CCG study that demonstrated superior survival with dose-intensive chemotherapy compared to conventionally timed therapy. Bill served as an important and guiding presence in the Children’s Cancer Group, and later the Children’s Oncology Group for more than 20 years. In addition to chairing the AML strategy group, Bill was co-chair of the individual and institutional membership committee for the merger of CCG and POG to form the Children’s Oncology Group, where he later served as a member of the executive committee, the scientific council, and then the associate chair for scientific affairs.

In 1996, Bill moved to the University of South Carolina to become Director of the South Carolina Cancer Center. Five years later, in 2001, Bill accepted a position as Professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and became the inaugural Director and Chief of the newly formed Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where he held the Daniel P. Amos Children’s Chair. During his 15 years of dedicated service, he was instrumental in transforming the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to become one of the largest and most respected pediatric hematology and oncology programs in the country. The faculty size more than tripled under his leadership, and new programs of excellence emerged in blood and marrow transplantation, sickle cell disease, hemostasis and thrombosis, and cancer survivorship. Bill also served as Associate Director of the Winship Cancer Institute from 2001-2009.

On the national front, Bill became President of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) in 2006 and used this position as a platform for advocacy. With Bill at the helm, ASPHO convened a summit meeting of stakeholders in sickle cell anemia to develop a better-funded, integrated national model for key aspects of sickle cell disease. As ASPHO President, Bill led the board through its first formal strategic planning effort and helped to establish the Career Development (now Professional Development) Committee, with a focus on supporting members’ career development at every stage by establishing dedicated workshops and symposia at the annual meeting. In recognition of his contributions to ASPHO, Bill was named the 2011 recipient of the ASPHO Distinguished Career Award.

Internationally known as a giant in the field of childhood cancer, Bill published more than 250 manuscripts in well-respected journals, has been listed in numerous “Who’s Who” publications in, and created professional collaborations that span the world. Bill Woods’ enormous impact will carry on directly through those he trained and mentored, and the many patients he treated. Though his awards and accolades are numerous, his personality, passion for the best care and cure for each child, advocacy for the underserved, and ability to connect with others remain prominent in the minds of all who knew him. A quote of Bill’s that many of his colleagues can easily recite is, “Hire good people. Nice people. And let them do their best work.”

Over the last four years, Bill leveraged his professional expertise in clinical trials and drug development along with his personal experience with ALS to provide uniquely effective ALS advocacy, including a formal presentation to the FDA, service on the Clinical Trials Team for I AM ALS, involvement in a campaign with the ALS Association, and even participating as a subject in a phase 1 clinical trial.

Bill’s personal and professional impact on so many throughout the years is unparalleled. His motto of “always do the right thing for the patient” has resonated for many throughout the years and will continue to do so for generations of physicians and patients to follow. He will be missed dearly.

Bill is survived by his wife, Kathleen, sons Elliot (Caitlin) and Andrew (Albertina) as well as four grandchildren – Lyle, Amos, Maximiliana and Antonia. Bill enjoyed spending time on the lake with Kathleen, visiting with their children and grandchildren, traveling the world with friends, and attending Georgia Tech basketball games.

A memorial service will be planned in the summer to honor Bill. Condolences may be sent to the family at The Woods Family, 3200 Howell Mill Rd NW, Unit 116, Atlanta, GA 30327.