David G. Nathan, MD, Wins Lifetime Impact Award at Boston Children’s Hospital Innovation Summit

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David G. Nathan, MD

David G. Nathan, MD, President Emeritus of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Physician-in-Chief Emeritus of Boston Children’s Hospital, was recently honored as the inaugural recipient of the Boston Children’s Hospital Lifetime Impact Award at the Hospital’s second Annual Global Pediatric Innovation Summit in Boston. In addition to his leadership at both Harvard teaching hospitals, Dr. Nathan was a pioneer in pediatric hematology/oncology and continues to be a mentor to generations of leading clinicians and physician-scientist researchers.

Lifetime Impact Award

The Boston Children’s Lifetime Impact Award recognizes a clinician and/or researcher who has devoted his entire career to accelerating innovation in pediatric medicine. It also provides national and international recognition to an individual who has made extraordinary and sustained leadership contributions throughout his career to improve health care in the field of pediatrics. The presentation of the Lifetime Impact Award and companion Rising Star Award in a ceremony at the Seaport World Trade Center on October 31 marked the culmination of a 2-day summit that brought together innovators and thought leaders from across the globe to examine opportunities in pediatric innovation.

Patient-Centered Researcher

“With the selection of David Nathan as the inaugural recipient of Boston Children’s Lifetime Impact Award, we have set the bar high for this new honor,” said Boston Children’s President Sandra L. Fenwick, MPH. “David is the consummate patient-centered researcher who is not only a giant in the development of the field of pediatric hematology/oncology but also a superb leader and teacher. His legacy lives in the greater excellence he has brought to Boston Children’s and Dana-Farber, his scientific discoveries, and the many leaders in clinical medicine and research who call him a mentor.”

In nominating Dr. Nathan for the award, David Williams, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s and Associate Chairman of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber, called his mentor a “proverbial ‘triple threat’” who “combined outstanding clinical care, research, and teaching leadership,... while he also steered two major academic institutions to greater heights.”

Education and Experience

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1955, Dr. Nathan trained in internal medicine at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the National Cancer Institute. At NCI, he was exposed to children with leukemia at a time when multiagent chemotherapy was improving the survival of young patients. This, combined with his interest in the production of red blood cells, led him to pediatrics. Under Dr. Nathan’s leadership, the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s and Dana-Farber developed as the country’s premier program.

A Life’s Work for Patients

“It is difficult to imagine another individual whose impact on the field of pediatrics has been so broad and deep,” Stuart H. Orkin, MD, Chairman of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber and Associate Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s, wrote in seconding Dr. Nathan’s nomination. “His influence has been felt by those in research laboratories, by those at the bedside, and, most importantly, by the patients to whom he has dedicated a life’s work.” ■

Disclosure: “Taking on Tomorrow” features IBM as its premier sponsor. Additional corporate partners include Philips Healthcare, Genzyme, Claritas Genomics, Deloitte, Verizon, RCN, Alere Analytics, Siemens Healthcare, American Well, Cerner Corporation, Shire, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Alexion, Cisco, Astra Zeneca and Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation. Summit Association Partners include the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, The Institute for Pediatric Innovation, The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council and Mass Technology Leadership Council. Media partners feature Modern Healthcare, Boston Business Journal, WBUR-90.9 FM (Boston’s NPR News Station), MIT Technology Review, Clinical Informatics News, and Bio-IT World.