Dr. R. Lee Clark Jr brought a broad-based cancer surgery experience to MD Anderson Hospital for Cancer Research when he became its first Surgeon-in-Chief and full-time salaried physician in 1946. He performed major surgery until 1971 including major head and neck operations, thyroidectomy, mastectomy, radical melanoma and sarcoma surgery, gastric and abdominal-perineal resection, and even hemipelvectomy. He initiated major programs in radiation therapy and mammography breast screening, and organized teams of specialists in a group practice providing multidisciplinary cancer care. Dr. Clark was elected into membership by the James Ewing Society (currently the Society of Surgical Oncology), the Southern Surgical Association, and the American Surgical Association, and was a founding member of the Society of Head and Neck Surgery. The Society of Surgical Oncology honored him with the Lucy Wortham James Award in 1965 and the James Ewing Lecture Award in 1977. Dr. Clark also provided invaluable leadership in the American College of Surgeons, leading a fledgling Committee on Cancer into a robust organization that became the Commission on Cancer. The College of Surgeons honored him with their Distinguished Service Award in 1969. Dr. Clark recruited major surgical leaders and personally designed the new hospital that opened in 1954, described in Time magazine as “the most modern, most ingeniously designed hospital in the U.S.” R. Lee Clark, Jr. was an accomplished and busy clinical surgeon, a visionary and charismatic leader, and an organizational genius. Indeed, he was one of the first pioneers in the specialty of surgical oncology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas