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Promise and Progress - Reflections of Martin D. Abeloff: 3

Special Commemorative Issue: The Abeloff Era - Building Upon a Tradition of Excellence

Reflections of Martin D. Abeloff: 3

Date: April 1, 2007


Johns Hopkins is ##1, in my opinion, in the country. Martin Abeloff has played a key role in making it the best. He is a doctor, not just an administrative head. He cares about cancer patients and has put together impressive teams to fight the disease. He is totally dedicated, wonderful, sweet guy. I can’t help but have the greatest admiration and respect for him. I wish he was not retiring as director.

Sidney Kimmel  

Gentle in Touch, Gentle in Words            

As I have gotten to know Dr. Abeloff, there is one word that continues to come to mind. It is the word gentle. Countless patients have commented on his ability to be both gentle in touch and word. He recognizes the true needs of people in distress, and he comforts in ways he may not even appreciate. He sees value in the spiritual, the emotional and the mental health of patients, their families and his staff. He recognizes the talents of all employed at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. He welcomes the voices of others and listens with interest. He can command attention in a room with just his quiet presence. His love of music, the arts and family are evident. Gentle is a word offered for a few, but so fitting for Dr. Abeloff.

Louise Knight, M.S.W.

Director of Patient and Family Services    

Martin Abeloff embodies all that it means, in our day, to be truly human. His sensitivity, caring and humility are paired with his professionalism and knowledge to create in others loyalty and trust. The lives he touches, the people he inspires, and the patients he heals bear witness to his accomplishments. It has been an honor to support his work at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Hank and Linda Spire The Seraph Foundation  

We admire Dr. Abeloff’s dedication to scientific discovery. He has led the charge in the day-to-day fight to better understand and treat cancer. We applaud his determination to bring the best people to the task, and we thank him for 15 years of inspired leadership.

Michael Hirschhorn

President of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation  

Heart and Soul Marty has been the ideal department chair and Cancer Center director. When I arrived in the late 1980’s, the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center was the home of outstanding research but only in a few areas of research priority. Marty has grown both the Department and the Center into a world-renowned Translational Cancer Research hub. The number of outstanding researchers and the number of areas of research excellence have expanded exponentially. But his wisdom, integrity, and passion are his greatest strengths, and the ones that have greatly influenced the heart and soul of this exceptional place!

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D.

Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli

Professor of Oncology Professor of Pathology  

Leading by Example

It is said that the great leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. Marty spent the last 15 years making it possible for us to be leaders. The best way we can repay him is to emulate his example, giving all, taking little, and laying the foundation for the future.

Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Investigator Director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins  

Marty, thank you for 18 incredible and enjoyable years as my colleague, mentor, and boss. As with your many other qualities, I will always value your integrity and compassionate leadership. On a personal note, thanks for being a “closet” Mizzou fan and for all the great movie, book, and concert recommendations and discussions. Sharon Krumm, PH.D.

Director of Cancer Center Nursing    

I am not a scientist, and therefore, I am not qualified to comment on the medical aspects of Marty’s contributions to cancer research and treatment. I am, however, qualified to speak of his role in the non-medical aspects.            

Marty has been the driving force for the last 15 years in making the Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine the premier center in the world for diagnosis, treatment, and research in all aspects of cancer. As an inspirational administrator and as a humane and kind physician, he has been a paragon of that rare breed of selfless, imaginative giants. I must also add, on a less ethereal note, that Marty’s making the Weinberg Building a world-class facility it has been one of great pleasures of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

Shale D. Stiller President and CEO The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.    

Honest Abe-loff

When I think of great leaders, I think of President Abraham Lincoln-integrity, courage, fairness, compassion and vision. Marty Abeloff is the Abraham Lincoln of Cancer Center Directors. We are blessed to have him lead us.

Donald Coffey, PH.D.

Catherine Iola and J. Smith Michael

Distinguished Professor of Urology Professor of Oncology, Pathology, and Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Associate Director for Training and Education    

I first met Dr. Abeloff when he was a member of the search committee for the new Director of the Department of Surgery. I remembered his kind face and smile as I was asking so many questions. He was so enthusiastic about me coming here and working with Oncology to further patient care and research. We have done so much over the past four years, with the joint hire of Suzanne Topalian and with the availability of research collaboration with Drew Pardoll, Steve Baylin and Liz Jaffee. My surgeons Nita Ahuja, Rich Schulick and Malcolm Brock have seen the benefit, as has the research.

Julie A. Freischlag, M.D.

William Stewart Halsted Professor and Director of the Department of Surgery  

We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have visionary leadership in the Cancer Center over the last 30 years of our history. Both Drs. Owens and Abeloff have been in the vanguard of cancer center directors in innovation and national leadership. Marty’s accomplishments in faculty and program development, construction of new facilities, and bringing the whole institution together in the area of cancer research are without parallel.

Ross C. Donehower, M.D.

Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor in Clinical Investigation of Cancer Professor of Oncology and Medicine Director of Medical Oncology  

Dr. Abeloff’s vision, leadership and support have been instrumental in the success of the Molecular Imaging Program. His tremendous expertise has been invaluable in providing new perspectives for cancer imaging. Most of all, this is done with gracious charm and humility. Zaver M. Bhujwalla, PH.D. Professor of Radiology and Oncology Director of the Cancer Imaging Program   A Gracious and Humble Colleague It is not possible for me to fully articulate in a few sentences the respect and admiration I have for Dr. Martin Abeloff. In brief, I believe he has been the model of a dedicated and visionary leader, a compassionate and focused physician and a gracious and humble colleague, all of which will have secured his place along side of the previous great leaders of Johns Hopkins.          

In thinking about his accomplishments, I believe there is very little else Marty could have accomplished during his tenure as Cancer Center director. He did not only maintained our traditions, but expanded our capabilities through his vision for the future of cancer care and oncology research. His dedication to his faculty and their goals has always been evident in his actions and work. He has successfully sought to secure philanthropic support for the Cancer Center, with the singular purpose of sustaining his faculty and their collective research and patient care missions.            

 I think it is particularly important that I point out how Marty assisted us in the creation of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences. His selfless championing of this important position was done at some risk to his own department. But despite this fact, and in typical Abeloff fashion, he understood the added value that creating the new department would have on the greater missions of both the Cancer Center and Hopkins. This singularly important moment in the lives of those of us in the new department has not and will not be forgotten and will continue to elevate the way in which we are meeting our own goals to this day.            

In sum, it is clear that Martin Abeloff, M.D., will be considered one of the great leaders in the best traditions of Johns Hopkins. A man whose singular purpose was to lead an enterprise that made real and lasting contributions to his fellow man cannot and will not be forgotten, but his leadership will certainly be missed. Thank you, Marty, for all you have done for us. Godspeed.

Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D.

Director of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences

Professor of Oncology and Urology

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