Colleagues here and around the globe mourn Kian Ang
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Kian Ang, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for Global Academic Programs and professor in Radiation Oncology, passed away June 19.
Ang joined MD Anderson in 1984 and quickly became beloved colleague, mentor and friend to many.
“Dr. Ang was the quintessential gentleman who combined his skills and talents with humble nature,” says Thomas Buchholz, M.D., provost and executive vice president ad interim as well as head of the Radiation Oncology division and chair of the Radiation Oncology department. “He was a great mentor to me and countless others.”
Ang. Who also held Radiation Oncology’s Gilibert H. Fletcher Distinguished Memorial Chair, made significant contributions to refining head and neck cancer therapy by developing regimens in preclinical models for testing in multi-institutional trials.
“Dr. Ang was the true ‘triple threat.’ He was an expert clinician, a highly accomplished clinical and translational scientist, and a respected educator.” Says Randal Weber, M.D., Chair, Head and Neck Surgery. “ He was a leader in translating laboratory discoveries into new and novel treatments for patients and changed the way head neck cancer is treated worldwide.”
In addition to being an accomplished physician-scientist, Ang expanded his service last fall by becoming vice president for Global Academic Programs (GAP). He brought his expertise and vision for international clinical research collaborations to GAP’s Sister Institution Network.
“His GAP responsibilities for Dr. Ang’s passion for making a difference on global health and is reflective of his own International heritage.” Buchholz says.
Ang was born in Indonesia and was educated in Europe at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, where he received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Radiation Biology.
“Dr. Ang’s quick wit and sense humor endeared him to colleagues around the globe.” Weber says.
Ang’s connection to bell-ringing tradition
Ang also is connected to one of MD Anderson’s most beloved traditions: the bell – ringning at the end of radiation treatment. In 1996 , one of Ang’s patients, Navy admiral, told Ang “when the job was done” he wanted to use a Navy Tradition of ringing a bell. At his last treatment, patient brought a brass bell, rang it several times and donated it to And and the staff. Other head and neck patients continues the tradition, and it wasn’t long before all radiation patients began ranging the bell in celebration. Today, bells are used in many clinics throughout MD Anderson.
“His caregiving skills were matched by his ability to connect, communicate and help patients with their cancer experience,” Buchholz says.
A Life of honors
Ang served as president of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) from 2005 to 2006, and chair of its Board of Directors from 2006 to 2007. Ang also was the chair of the Head and Neck Committee of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a cooperative group sponsored by the national cancer Institute that is dedicated to advancing radiation treatments through clinical trials research.
His accomplishments as a physician-scientist are evident through his many awards and honors. Ang was the 2011 ASTRO Gold Medal recipient, for which his nominators wrote:
“Kian Ang is unique. There is no one in the U.S., or even in the world, who has distinguished himself as a master clinician & teacher, a long –term funded laboratory investigator, and a creative clinical investigator whose work has changed the practice of cancer care.”
But Ang’s professional achievements were not his only pursuits. Buchholz says his colleague’s life was “very balanced.”
“At work , he was structured and focused ; but he also was a great family man to his wife and two children and was a superb athlete on top of everything else- especially on the tennis court and ski slopes.”
A memorial service at MD Anderson will be held in the weeks ahead. Watch for details to be added to his article.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that any memorial donations be made to:
MD Anderson Cancer Centre
Dr.Kian Ang Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 4486
Houston, TX 77210-4486