Harry Hynes, M.D., Ph.D., was a champion of community based oncology who focused on his patients and his belief in clinical trials to find the best care possible, a legacy that lives on in the National Cancer Institute annual award named for him to honor excellence in the field.
As a newly married immigrant from Ireland, he arrived in Wichita, Kansas in 1959 with a loan for the airfare, a determined vision and desire to help people. His path took him to the Mayo Clinic where he completed both an oncology residency and a Ph.D. in hematology, and later in 1983, to a successfully funded grant application to participate in the first NCI supported community-based cancer research network. Participation in the network ensured that his patients and their families had the advantage of not having to travel to comprehensive cancer centers to receive state-of-the-art treatment.
Dr. Hynes’ research vision brought key people together for the betterment of oncology aside from organizational politics. He involved primary care physicians in partnership with oncologists; nurse specialists as partners with physician investigators; and administrative staff as vital to overall success. Since the patient population for clinical trials of cancer prevention, early detection and supportive care were not always part of the general oncology practice, he personally contacted primary care physicians whose practices reached the target populations, and further fostered their engagement by sending them to research meetings, recognizing their clinical trial accrual efforts, and including them as co-authors. The Wichita, Kansas program he founded received continuous NCI funding for over 30 years.
To learn more about Dr. Hynes, visit his page at the Cancer Center of Kansas.