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Giants in Chest Medicine |

Giants in Chest Medicine: James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, ScD (hon), Master FCCP FREE TO VIEW

Richard S. Irwin, MD, Master FCCP
Author and Funding Information

FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: None declared.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: See video interview of James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, ScD (hon), Master FCCP online at journal.publications.chestnet.org.

Editor-in-Chief, CHEST, and from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Richard S. Irwin, MD, Master FCCP, American College of Chest Physicians, 2595 Patriot Blvd, Glenview, IL 60026


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;150(4):759-760. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.08.1436
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Figure Jump LinkJames E. Dalen, MD, MPH, ScD (hon), Master FCCPGrahic Jump Location

As a mentee and colleague of James (Jim) Dalen, it is with great pleasure and a sense of pride, that I write this editorial. As a Professor of Medicine and my first Chairman of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Medical Center, Jim hired me to be his first Chief of Pulmonary Medicine on January 1, 1979. Although I had the good fortune to work with Jim for only 9 years before he moved to the University of Arizona, we have periodically kept in touch over the past 37 years, during which time I have continued to be influenced by him. It was Jim who encouraged me to join the American College of Chest Physicians in 1979 because it was a medical society that treated its members as family, and it was Jim who encouraged me to think of society and health-care picture issues and needs when making important leadership decisions and not participate in self-serving silo thinking.

Jim’s academic career has been divided between three medical schools. During the time spent at each, he achieved great things and nurtured great ideas that helped transform medicine. From 1967 to 1975, he was a member of the faculty of Harvard Medical School (and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital). From 1975 to 1988, he was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he served as Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine from 1975 to 1977 and then as Chairman of Medicine from 1977 to 1988. From 1986 to 1987, he served as Interim Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at the Worcester Campus. Jim left Massachusetts in 1988 to become the Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine until 2001 and then Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Arizona from 1995 to 2001.

While at Harvard and the Brigham, he and his colleagues began to systematically study how to diagnose and treat pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary embolism (PE) and published seminal works on pulmonary angiography to diagnose PE, urokinase to treat PE, the identification and classification of three clinical syndromes associated with PE, and how best to treat pulmonary hypertension due to mitral valve disease. While at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Medical Center, he and his colleagues were among the first to question the safety of the pulmonary artery flotation catheter. By partnering with Jack Hirsh, Jim and Jack conceived of, developed, and published the first American College of Chest Physicians Antithrombotic Clinical Practice Guidelines, the prototype of trustworthy guidelines and among the very first evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. The current practice of treating atrial fibrillation with anticoagulants began with these guidelines. This practice has prevented thousands of strokes. Moreover, Jim helped nurture and supported Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work, which led to the creation of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the discipline of mindfulness-based stress reduction. While at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Jim was a leader among the early group of deans of major medical schools who recognized the importance of integrative medicine and supported the need for an organization to promote integrative medicine in the academic environment. With the active participation of Andrew Weil, this led to the creation of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Jim was also instrumental in the establishment of the University of Arizona College of Public Health. As Dean Emeritus and Executive Director of the Weil Foundation, Jim continues to be an advocate for public health, social justice, and health-care reform and has yet to put down his pen.

Jim stands as an important part of establishing the foundation of modern medicine. Of all that he has accomplished, it is interesting to note that in his video interview (Video 1), he cites his work on creating the antithrombotic guidelines as the work of which he is most proud. The creation took place while he was President of the American College of Chest Physicians.

I was a recipient of Jim’s passion in mentoring others and teaching others. He was and continues to be a terrific teacher who could and often would make teaching points with self-deprecating humorous stories. He has always been a great story teller. I learned a lot from him, and for that I am and will be eternally grateful to him. I encourage all to view the interview to hear Jim’s words of wisdom (Video 1).

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Figure Jump LinkJames E. Dalen, MD, MPH, ScD (hon), Master FCCPGrahic Jump Location

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