publication date: Jan. 11, 2019

Letter to the Editor

The Waun Ki Hong we knew and admired

Irwin Krakoff

have had the privilege of accepting young men and women into medical oncology fellowship programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Vermont Cancer Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center and I have watched many of them shine as they took on both academic and community oncology positions throughout the United States and the world.

Waun Ki Hong was special.


Rosemary Mackey and Irwin Krakoff with Waun Ki Hong outside the couple’s home in Savannah, GA


He came for his interview in 1973 at MSKCC speaking hard-to-understand English, but with a passion and clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. He worked incredibly hard and took with him the scientific rigor in his work that he learned from his mentors including Joe Burchenal and Dave Karnofsky.

I continued to stay in touch with him when he returned to the Boston VA as the lone medical oncologist and as he undertook his seminal work to preserve the larynx of patients with head and neck cancer. This, as history tells us, was just the beginning of the many advances that Ki made, that have impacted the lives of patients who are forever grateful to him and hundreds of his trainees who benefited from his mentorship.

In 1983, when I was recruited to rebuild the medicine division at MDACC at a time when its clinical trials had lost some of their luster, … Continue reading The Waun Ki Hong we knew and admired

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