The Enormous Lift of Hicks and Hahn

The Enormous Lift of Hicks and Hahn


Leonard Zwelling

Perhaps the most frequent criticism I get as a blogger is that my prose is too vitriolic and rarely has anything nice to say about anything.


My goal from the beginning has been to shine a light on the corruption and wrong-doing I saw occurring at the institutions I love—MD Anderson and the US Congress.

I am afraid that the Congress is still tied up in knots plagued by a lack of leadership and aimless non-direction as well as profound splits among the three Republican parties—mainstream, Tea Party and Trump, and the two Democratic parties—mainstream and very far left. There can be no consensus as the US spirals into a parliamentary form of government with a president who thinks he’s a king. The federal government is in disarray and our adversaries in Asia and Russia are trying to take advantage of our poorly articulated foreign policy strategy and values. I can’t really even think about addressing this in a meaningful way.

I can discuss health care and I do. But again, the five-party system has precluded a constructive solution to the problems that predated ObamaCare aa well as those created by the 2010 ACA legislation. The uncertainty that has proliferated since the Republican threat to repeal and replace became real with the Trump election has only made matters worse as costs and prices rise and those Americans now covered are petrified that the good that came out of ObamaCare will be reversed.

The blog was a little more pointed when it came to what ailed MD Anderson. Talk about a lack of leadership! Even poor leadership would have been better than what MD Anderson had for the past six years—toxic leadership and corruption.

But let me finally write about some good news.

Drs. Hicks and Hahn and their allies on the Shared Governance Committee have now taken a major step toward the future and it might even be Back to the Future as MD Anderson gets right again.

The resignation of DePinho was a good start, but as this blog has been saying for weeks, it was not enough. Those who promulgated the poison policies of the FORDs needed to be removed. Now, they have been. Three cheers for MD Anderson. Three cheers for Hicks and Hahn.

Clearly there was wisdom in the appointment of the acting president and COO. They have at least steadied the ship. My understanding is that the institution is operating in the black now and things are back on a reasonable keel.

Now for the truly monumental lift.

The new president must be someone who values the challenge of clinical cancer care as well as research and education. He or she must exemplify the core values of discovery, caring and especially integrity. This person will have to raise a call to arms of all the faculty and staff akin to what John F. Kennedy did in his inaugural address. “Ask not” is definitely what the new president’s message has to be for it will be from the bottom up that MD Anderson heals.

In the mean time, as the wheels of bureaucracy grind toward the selection of a new president, let us take a moment and thank Drs. Hicks and Hahn for a job well done. That was some heavy lifting—but they did it and we are all better off for them having the courage and wisdom to do so.

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