A Tribute to Rodger J. Winn, MD

Author: William T. McGivney PhD
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Our world has lost a good, caring, and dedicated man; a husband, father, grandfather, doctor, and leader. Rodger J. Winn, MD, died a few weeks ago, after fighting the good fight against esophageal cancer. My earliest remembrance of the good Dr. Winn was walking down the cavernous halls of an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. I had not “grown up” in the world of oncology, so Rodger set out to introduce me. I marveled that we could not travel more than 3 steps when a colleague, friend, or student would greet Rodger warmly and pause for a few moments to catch up. Watching Rodger then and through the years made me realize that while he may not be President of ASCO, he certainly was the long-term “Mayor of ASCO”. Rodger moved earnestly and with ease and grace among the many constituencies of the oncology community. People looked up to this jovial, short, stocky man for leadership. He was a master at dissolving and resolving differences and bringing groups together in ways that would benefit patients. Nowhere was this leadership and skill more evident than in the development of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. Dr. Winn is the “Father of the NCCN Guidelines.” Recognizing the needs to address variability in oncology practice and affirm a scientific, evidentiary basis for practice, he led and nurtured a guideline program that has become the most successful, important, and influential of any of the 35,000 attempts at developing, communicating, and implementing...

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