I find it difficult to know where to start in eulogizing Rodger. He was both a brilliant colleague and a very good friend. He was the moving force for orchestrating the development of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and he orchestrated that development in ways that were collegial and knowledgeable and always from the perspective of ensuring high-quality care for patients.
He will certainly be missed by his family and friends, and from the NCCN perspective, he is largely responsible for what the organization has become. In the early years, the NCCN was just a handful of cancer centers banding together to try to keep the determination of appropriate care for cancer patients in the hands of physicians. Rodger had the vision to see that developing guidelines to document the care given at academic cancer centers could help physicians retain the ability to designate appropriate care.
He pulled panels together with his ability to look at the big picture, his lively curiosity and quick understanding, and his force of will and considerable charm. He had a special talent for knowing when to talk and when to listen and how to ask questions that put discussion into context. As what he called a “hardhat oncologist,” he earned the respect of many of the “stars” of the oncology world and he was able to bring multidisciplinary panels together and help them reach consensus. When in the guidelines' infancy it was not at all clear that competing centers could agree on how...
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