The two men Modern Healthcare will induct into its Health Care Hall of Fame this year made their mark in similar ways. They took on unpopular causes whose successful resolution moved their institutions onto a higher plane.
Dr. Charles LeMaistre, who served as president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for 18 years until his retirement in 1996, chose to make cancer prevention the centerpiece of his administration. That's not a comfortable position to be in at an institution that traditionally put basic research and advancing clinical science first.
No doubt his ongoing involvement with the American Cancer Society nudged him toward that path, as did the national campaign against smoking that gathered steam throughout his career. But it takes leadership to get institutional buy-in from a clinical and research science community that too often is more attuned to getting the next National Cancer Institute grant or signing up sick patients for clinical trials.
As reporter Rachel Landen notes in her profile, LeMaistre didn't slight that mission as he broadened M.D. Anderson's horizons to take on the social and environmental causes of cancer and the screening programs that can detect cancer early and make it a more treatable disease.