Dr. Lau­rie Glim­cher

Modern Healthcare - - PHYSICIANS - — Steven Ross John­son

With her ground­break­ing re­search and ef­forts to pro­mote women in the field, Dr. Lau­rie Glim­cher has es­tab­lished her­self as a pi­o­neer within the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.

Last year, the world-renowned im­mu­nol­o­gist hit an­other mile­stone when she be­came the first fe­male pres­i­dent and CEO of the Dana-Far­ber Can­cer In­sti­tute in Bos­ton. Glim­cher says it’s a great time for can­cer re­search, adding that she hopes to build upon her work on can­cer treat­ments that ac­ti­vate the body’s own de­fenses to fight off the dis­ease.

Dana-Far­ber was es­tab­lished in 1947 and em­ploys over 4,500 peo­ple who sup­port more than 450,000 pa­tient vis­its a year. The in­sti­tute is in­volved in about 900 clin­i­cal tri­als.

Dr. Ellen Gravallese, a pro­fes­sor of medicine at the Univer­sity of Mas­sachusetts Med­i­cal School and di­vi­sion chief of rheuma­tol­ogy at UMass Memo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter, be­lieves that de­spite pos­si­ble fed­eral fund­ing cuts to re­search, Dana-Far­ber is poised for suc­cess un­der Glim­cher, whom she called a men­tor. Gravallese was a post­doc­toral re­search fel­low in Glim­cher’s lab­o­ra­tory at Har­vard Med­i­cal School.

“If the ex­per­i­men­tal work was not pro­gress­ing, she had the bril­liance to ap­proach the ques­tion with an en­tirely new in­sight or strat­egy, al­ways in­sist­ing on get­ting to the an­swer,” Gravallese re­calls.

While at Har­vard, Glim­cher used her own re­search dol­lars to pay for lab tech­ni­cians who could help doc­toral fel­lows main­tain a work/ life bal­ance af­ter they started fam­i­lies.

When Glim­cher was dean of Weill Cor­nell Col­lege of Medicine, she cre­ated a pro­gram to pro­mote greater di­ver­sity among the in­sti­tu­tion’s fac­ulty, es­tab­lished ma­ter­nity leave and day-care cen­ters, and added two fe­male depart­ment chairs where there pre­vi­ously were none. Fam­ily has played a big role in Glim­cher’s own ca­reer. While at Har­vard, a no­table re­search col­lab­o­ra­tor was Glim­cher’s own father, Dr. Melvin Glim­cher, who was chair of or­tho­pe­dic surgery at Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hospi­tal. Glim­cher’s old­est son, Dr. Hugh Glim­cher Auch­in­closs, is a car­dio­tho­racic sur­gi­cal fel­low at Mass Gen­eral, and her first hus­band, Dr. Hugh Auch­in­closs Jr., was a trans­plant sur­geon there.

“So, com­ing back to Bos­ton, to Har­vard, and es­pe­cially to Far­ber, was just a dream job for me,” Glim­cher said.

She adds that be­ing a physi­cian helps her main­tain a pa­tient per­spec­tive.

“I think we all, no mat­ter if we’re in the lab­o­ra­tory, or in an ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice, or at the bed­side of a pa­tient, to me, the pa­tient is al­ways the cen­ter of ev­ery­thing that we do,” Glim­cher said. “When I wake up in the morn­ing I never have to won­der why I am go­ing to work.”

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