AHNS has become apprised of the passing of the following members. We would like to acknowledge their contributions and participation in AHNS over the years:
Dr. Eduardo Mendez, MD, Seattle, WA
Dr. Gabriel F. De Freitas, MD, Duluth, MN
Sir Donald F. Harrison, Surrey, England
Dr. Chris O’Brien, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Adolph Meihlke, Gottingen Germany
Dr. Philipp M. Stell, Haxby, York, England
Dr. John S. Lewis, Pelham, NY
Dr. James Ryan Chandler, Miami, FL
Dr. John M. Lore, Jr., Buffalo, NY
Dr. William W. Montgomery
Dr. Paul LoGerfo, New York, NY
Dr. John Arthur, Bal Harbor, FL
Dr. Harry McColl, Colorado Springs, CO
Dr. Delmar Weaver, Culpepr, VA
Dr. Thomas Anglem, New Orleans, LA
Dr. Grover Batten, Honolulu, HI
Dr. Randolph Clark
Dr. Robin Anderson, Newbury, OH
Dr. Oliver Renaud, Chicago, IL
Dr. Henry Riegler, Bismarck, ND
Dr. George Richardson
Dr. John Hendrick, Shreveport, LA
Dr. Mason Morfit, Englewood, CO
Dr. Hugh F. Biller /Wells, ME
Dr. Paul H. Ward /Pauma Valley, CA
Dr. Arnold Komisar /New York, NY
Dr. Samuel R. Fisher/Durham, NC
In Memory of Dr. Eduardo Mendez:
It is with incredible sadness that I share the news that Eduardo Mendez, MD, MA, Professor of Otolaryngology-HNS at the University of Washington, passed away on January 5th, 2018 with his family at his side.
Eddie received his MD with honors from the University of Maryland in 1999 after his undergraduate years at Princeton. He completed his Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Residency training at the University of Washington in 2005 followed by Fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction. Dr. Mendez later completed a Masters in Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of Washington in 2010. He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington in 2006, quickly rose through the ranks, and was recently promoted to professor. Eddie became an Associate member of the Clinical Research Division Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2016, was co-director of Head and Neck Oncology Program at the University of Washington, Director of the Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, and Director of the Head and Neck Translational Research Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Eddie Mendez was simply a star; a true “triple threat”. He was an outstanding clinician/surgeon, a dedicated and effective teacher, and an investigator who provided substantial insights and progress in managing the most challenging condition in our specialty. Eddie dedicated his entire career to the treatment of Head and Neck cancer, and he has improved the lives of countless patients with this affliction. Although facile in all aspects of head and neck surgery he was one of the pioneers in Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) which has become a critical component of the treatment in patients with oropharyngeal cancer. He always maximized the patient experience, developed the most appropriate treatment pathway for each of them, and worked to cure their cancer while maximizing speech and swallowing outcomes.
Dr. Mendez was an exemplary teacher, both in the daily one-on-one interactions in the clinic and the operating room as well as didactic sessions both locally and nationally. He instilled the continuing process of inquisitive thought, responsible work, and advancement of knowledge to all his trainees. In 2013 Eddie received the Trachy Award for the outstanding education in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
Dr. Mendez had an amazing passion and acumen for research and truly brought his work from bench to bed-side. He led an NIH-funded research laboratory, and his early studies to examine the genetic expression of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma blossomed into multiple efforts to identify novel treatment pathways for patients with head and neck cancer. One of the landmark projects that will likely lead to a fundamental change in oral cavity cancer care is occurring due to his identification of an inhibitor AZD1775 to alter WEE1 in the tumor cell cycle. His Phase One study showed definitive results in reducing or eliminating oral cancers, and allowing more minimal approaches to preserve form and function, and additional clinical trials are in progress.
Most importantly, Eddie Mendez was a wonderful human being. He was a loving husband and father to his wife and daughters Emma and Julia. His energy was penetrating and invigorating, and it benefitted all those he touched. He will be remembered for his kindness, thoughtfulness, wonderful sense of humor, and being a great friend. Eddie Mendez was one of a kind and will truly be missed.
In honor of Eddie, an endowment is being established in his name to help continue his legacy and work in Head and Neck cancer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the University of Washington, Department of Otolaryngology, Eduardo Méndez Endowment, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356515, Seattle, WA 98195.
International Lecture and Traveling Scholar Award
The American Head and Neck Society is mourning the loss of one of our members and a great leader in our discipline, Professor Chris O’Brien AM. Professor O’Brien was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in 2006 and although his initial treatment was successful, after a valiant and courageous battle, he passed away on June 4, 2009.
Professor O’Brien led a life unparalleled by many. He graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1976 and then completed his residency and surgical training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He decided to specialize in head and neck surgery and undertook clinical fellowships in head and neck surgery and oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital, in England and at the University of Alabama, USA, returning to Australia in 1987 to join the staff of RPAH as a consultant head and neck surgeon. There he contributed to the expansion of the clinical service, making it one of the largest in the country, and also established a comprehensive head and neck database. That database is the largest in Australasia and one of the largest in the world.
He also established a basic research program and an international clinical fellowship program under the umbrella of the Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, which he founded in 2002.
Professor O’Brien has two postgraduate degrees from the University of Sydney – a Masters of Surgery for his basic research in microvascular surgery and a Doctorate in Medicine for his work on the management of metastatic cancer in the neck. He is the author of over one hundred scientific papers and 17 book chapters and he has been honoured with invitations to many countries and institutions as a visiting professor and guest lecturer, including invitations to give numerous prestigious named lectures: the Hayes Martin Lecture in Washington in 2004, the Eugene Myers International Lecture in Los Angeles 2005, the inaugural Jatin P Shah Lecture in Prague 2006and the Semon Lecture in London 2008. He was also made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in recognition of his contribution to the training of young British surgeons. His published works contributed significantly to our understanding of the patterns of metastatic spread of cutaneous malignancies and their management.
In 1998, Professor O’Brien founded the Australian and New Zealand Head and Neck Society, a multidisciplinary society comprising of surgeons of all disciplines, radiation and medical oncologists and allied health professionals. He was President in 2004. He served on Council of the AHNS from 2005-2008. He was a founding member of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies, and served on its council throughout his active career. In 2003 Professor O’Brien became Director of the Sydney Cancer Centre, based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney, while maintaining all of his clinical, teaching and research responsibilities. He has developed a proposal to transform the Sydney Cancer Centre into a $250 million world-class comprehensive cancer centre, supported by the Government and philanthropic funds raised by him. This dedicated Head and Neck Cancer centre will be called, “Life House – The Chris O’Brien Cancer Centre”. This project is moving forward with great momentum and is scheduled to open in 2012.
Professor O’Brien is widely known to the people of Australia for his many appearances over the last 12 years on the award winning reality TV program RPA. He was made a Member the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to medicine, on Australia Day in 2005. He was to receive the highest civilian Honor, AO, (Officer of the Order of Australia), from the Prime Minister of Australia, on the Queen’s Birth Day celebrations, in the first week of June, but unfortunately, he passed away, only hours before the ceremony. This Honor was bestowed upon him posthumously, and was received by Mrs. Gail O’Brien. His book entitled Never Say Die depicted his personal battle with cancer and also served as an inspiration to those suffering from all forms of cancer. In 2008, AHNS established the Professor Chris O’Brien Fund, which in part, sponsors the AHNS/ANZHNS Chris O’Brien Travelling Fellowship Award, an award to encourage international exchange of information concerning surgical science, practice, and education and to establish professional and academic collaborations and friendships. The first recipient of this award is Professor Carsten Palme. The International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies established “The Chris O’Brien Symposium” at its quadrennial congress, the first of which was presented in Seoul, Korea, during the 4th World Congress of IFHNOS.
If you would like to make a donation to the AHNS Chris O’Brien Fund, please go to https://www.ahns.info/foundation/pledge.php.
To make a contribution to the Chris O’Brien fund in memory of Dr. O’Brien, please click here.
Professor O’Brien, fondly called by his family and friends “Dr. Gorgeous” is survived by his wonderful wife, Gail, and their three children, Adam, Juliette and James, who dearly loved him.