Dec 22, 2016
ASCO CEO and Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Board of Directors Member
What led you to oncology?
CH: It was my passion for service and science combined that brought me to a career in medicine. Once I was in training and I saw the unique challenges of cancer care, along with the exciting promise that rapid progress in molecular biology and therapeutics offered, I was pulled in that direction. The opportunity to help and guide patients and families confronting what were often the greatest and scariest obstacles they faced was rewarding to me. I have to add that in my clinical care and translational research I have not been disappointed. I have witnessed a gradual but remarkable evolution and improvement in care and outcomes that continues to excite and inspire me!
What’s the last book you read?
CH: I just read Nutshell by Ian McEwan. It is an imaginative and gripping story told from an extraordinary perspective—the unborn son of a woman plotting murder. It has nothing to do with medicine and science, everything to do with ethics and morality, and it highlights the possibility of knowing the right thing to do but being unable to act.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
CH: Given the time, I love to surf in the summer and ski in the winter. I read, and I exercise...so that I can enjoy great meals!
Do you have a personal motto?
CH: I have always tried to treat others as I would want to be treated myself. It is not as easy to achieve as one might think!
What career could you see yourself in if you weren’t an oncologist?
CH: If I could really write, I would be a writer. But I could see myself in a number of careers. In fact, the older I get, the more I think I could have done a number of things.
What changes do you envision for the field in the next 10 years?
CH: I recently heard a quote, attributed to a leader in computer technology, that change is always slower than we think over the short run (1 to 3 years) but actually much greater over the longer term (10 years). I think that this is true in medicine and especially oncology. Year by year, we make small steps and incremental progress, but the aggregate impact over time is likely to look like a positive revolution, with less toxic and more effective therapies.
What would you say to a young physician thinking about entering the field of oncology?
CH: It is a great privilege to care for human beings and young people should be excited to join the effort!