Six months ago, Hurricane Harvey crashed into the Gulf Coast of Texas and carved a record-setting path of destruction through the Houston area.
Tragically, many lives were lost, more than 200,000 homes were flooded and 39,000 people were forced to evacuate. In the end, the storm resulted in damages totaling $180 billion.
But it didn’t stop the people who live here. During the storm, they assisted federal forces, local police, and fire and rescue personnel in rescuing thousands from the floodwaters. They volunteered their time and resources to shelter, clothe and feed those left with nothing. When the waters receded, they stepped up to help their neighbors recover by moving debris and water-logged furniture to the curb, and tearing out ruined drywall, carpet and flooring. They’ve helped rebuild homes and lives.
I hadn’t yet arrived in Houston when Harvey hit, but Dr. Marshall Hicks and former colleagues shared with me stories of the heroic efforts to keep patients and the institution safe.
Having spent 20 years as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and hospital administrator at MD Anderson, I wasn’t surprised to hear of the solidarity and sacrifice shown by our amazing employees. But I was extremely impressed and proud.
Texans learned a lot from what has happened. The region has rebounded and it is undergoing a transformation.
The same is true for the nation’s top-ranked cancer center. The past year has been one filled with transition, and we’ve learned many things. My personal process of learning, unlearning and re-learning has been underway as I visit many areas of the institution. As a team we are learning together and improving. Our culture is changing. And we are transforming this beloved institution.
I continued to follow MD Anderson’s progress over the past few years as I served as president and chief executive officer of the University Health Network in Toronto. And I continued to be inspired by the excellence of the institution’s people, the world-class care provided to patients, the groundbreaking research conducted by leaders in our field, the innovative approaches to cancer prevention that is saving lives, and the outstanding educational opportunities being offered to our future leaders.
In the pages of this report, you’ll read about some of the institution’s highlights from the past year. They’re quite impressive.
MD Anderson’s first full-time president, R. Lee Clark, M.D., believed working together to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care was the best way to make significant gains against cancer. His vision continues today, not only in our approach to treating patients, but also in our team-science research, outstanding education and training resources, and our all-encompassing strategy for cancer prevention.
The reality is there is no team like MD Anderson. And there is no group of people I would rather work with as we join forces with our patients and their loved ones in our fight to end cancer. It is together that we are Making Cancer History®. We are team #endcancer!