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The role of chance in my career


Initiatives for Children
Howard Hiatt Physician
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Among my extracurricular activities was a five- or six-year period spent at the, in part at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences where I established a program called Initiatives for Children. I did this shortly after I came to the Brigham and before I got heavily involved in work here. It was a part-time activity. It seemed to me that the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which is a venerable organization, had a number of issues on its agenda, but nothing concerned with children, and since there was no dispute but that children represent the most fragile members of our society and the people that we have to, or should be, worrying about most, I thought we could encourage members of the Academy to join me in a range of issues that we would approach.

It was a successful venture in the sense that very early on I was able to recruit Fred Mosteller who had retired from Harvard and who was very interested in the possibility of looking at education in much the way that he had looked at medical practices, and I suppose that was the most successful of the ventures we undertook. Fred and a group of colleagues from around the country did undertake studies of educational programs and subjected them to... and evaluated them in much the fashion that he evaluated the approach to cancer treatment and to other medical procedures. Books were published and many seminars were held and I think young people were encouraged to continue the work that began there and that was a chapter that I was glad to be associated with, but when I became more involved at the Brigham, particularly with the work in global health, I did give that up.

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: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Initiatives for Children, Fred Mosteller

Duration: 2 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008