a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Building the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel


Getting the Chair of Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center
Howard Hiatt Physician
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

In 1963, shortly after Hermann Blumgart's retirement he... I was approached the then chairman of the Department of Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital, Jack Fine, who said to me, 'You're my candidate for this chair'. He said, 'It's time that...' I said, 'I'm really so involved, Jack, in, in lab work, it's just wonderful and I, I can't do it'. He says, 'It's time there was somebody with the experience that you've had who would look at the application of what you've been doing to medical issues'. That was in contrast to the view of the chairman of that department... of that committee. A very distinguished professor of medicine at Harvard, whom I had known both as my teacher and then as my colleague, who said to me, 'You know, your name has been mentioned as a candidate for the Blumgart professorship. But', he said, 'I don't see any relevance to what you've been doing to a department of medicine'. He said, 'You know, if you were a candidate for the chairmanship of the department of biochemistry here, I'd consider you very, very seriously'.

So, it was over, it was with that kind of reservation on the part of some of the people that my candidacy was looked at, and I really doubted that it would come to anything. But, I remember in 1963, I was in the cold room having done a sucrose gradient and taking drops, and at 5.30 in the afternoon, Jack Fine opened the cold room door, he said to me, 'Stop what you're doing'. I said, 'I can't, Jack'. 'No, no, stop. You've done it, you're, you're going to be the new chairman of the department of medicine'. And that was how that news came to me, in the cold room on the second floor of the Yamins Building. Well, I did think about it seriously. I did have reservations. But, the notion of really looking at what this new science might mean to medicine was very attractive, and I, without too much hesitation, I took the position. And, on April 1st, I think, of 1963 I took the chairmanship of the department.

Born in 1925, American Howard Hiatt set up one of the first medical oncology research and training units in the US and has headed up some of America's most prestigious medical institutions. Hiatt attended Harvard College and received his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1948. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described mRNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate mRNA in mammalian cells. From 1991 to 1997, he was Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he began and directs the Academy's Initiatives For Children program. He is also committed to helping disadvantaged people access decent health care.

Listeners: Milton C. Weinstein

Milton C. Weinstein, Ph.D., is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health he is Academic Director of the Program in Health Decision Science, and Director of the Program on Economic Evaluation of Medical Technology . He is best known for his research on cost-effectiveness of medical practices and for developing methods of economic evaluation and decision analysis in health care. He is a co-developer of the CEPAC (Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications) computer simulation model, and has conducted studies on prevention and treatment of HIV infections. He is the co-developer of the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which has been used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular prevention and treatment. He is an author of four books: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values; Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine,the report of the Panel of Cost Effectiveness in Health and Medicine; Clinical Decision Analysis; and Hypertension: A Policy Perspective.He has also published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed medical, public health, and economics journals. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Weinstein received his A.B. and A.M. in Applied Mathematics (1970), his M.P.P. (1972), and his Ph.D. in Public Policy (1973) from Harvard University.

Tags: Beth Israel Medical Center, Jack Fine

Duration: 2 minutes, 55 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008