St. Luke’s has honored Dr. Philip Salem Director of Cancer Research at St. Luke’s Hospital in a beautiful reception and dinner on Wednesday, April 4 from 6-8 p.m. The hospital had invited all faculty and administrative staff for this event. Dr. David Fine introduced Dr. Salem. He said “I have traveled with Dr. Salem and I have seen something phenomenal. The bond between him and his patient is beyond description. This is a doctor who is adored by his patients and he, too, loves them like family. That bond doesn’t exist anymore in this century. Dr. Salem embraces his patients and they become his family”. He also said “Philip Salem has written a great deal in medicine, but in addition he is a renaissance intellectual and there are three books written about him”.
In July 2004, a book authored by Australian journalist Peter Indari entitled “Philip Salem – The Man, The Homeland, The Science” was launched. Two new books about his life and his achievements are in press. The first authored by Lebanese journalist Maha Samara and entitled “Philip Salem – The Rebel, The Scientist and The Humanist”. The second is authored by Mrs. Frances Mourani, an American journalist, and is entitled “This Man from Lebanon, a Daring Arab Intellectual and a Leader in Cancer Research”.
Also, Dr Fine announced that St. Luke’s has decided to bestow on him the title Director Emeritus of Cancer Research.
Dr. Salem gave a brief speech in which he described his story with St. Luke’s. After his affiliation for 21 years with M.D. Anderson, he crossed Bertner Avenue in September, 1991 and became the first director of the cancer program and Director of Cancer Research at St. Luke’s. He described the evolution of this program over the last 20 years and he also described the contributions of St. Luke’s in research. One of the major contributions is the participation in two national studies on chemoprevention of breast cancer. These studies are a milestone in the history of medicine because for the first time it was shown that cancer can be chemopreventable. As a result of these trials, we now know that women who are at risk of developing breast cancer in the future can cut that risk by half if they take Tamoxifen or Evista. He also spoke about the benign phase of cancer and how this is an opportunity for doctors to intervene therapeutically and reverse the process thus preventing the development of cancer.
Dr. Salem also thanked St. Luke’s for establishing a cancer research chair in his name. This is now his legacy.