Memoirs of a Life in Medicine


Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: 33 b&w photos Published: August 2004

General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs, Duke University, Medicine and Health > Medical Humanities

William G. Anlyan, a dedicated doctor and gifted administrator, was a leader in the transformation of Duke University Hospital from a regional medical center into one of America’s foremost biomedical research and educational institutions. Anlyan’s fifty-five-year career at Duke University spanned a period of extraordinary change in the practice of medicine. He chronicles those transformations—and his role in them—in this forthright memoir.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1925, and schooled in the British tradition, Anlyan attended Yale University as an undergraduate and medical student before coming to the relatively unknown medical school at Duke University in 1949 for an internship in general and thoracic surgery. He stayed on, first as a resident, then as a staff surgeon. By 1961, he was a full professor of surgery. In 1964, Anlyan was named dean of the medical school, the first in a series of administrative posts at the medical school and hospital. Anlyan’s role in the transformation of the Duke University Medical Center into an internationally renowned health system is manifest: he restructured the medical school and hospital and supervised the addition of almost four million square feet of new or renovated space. He hired outstanding administrators and directed a staff that instituted innovative programs and groundbreaking research centers, such as the Cancer Center and the Physician’s Assistant Program.

Anlyan describes a series of metamorphoses in his own life, in the world of medicine, in Durham, and at Duke. At the time of his prep school upbringing in Egypt, medicine was a matter of controlling infectious diseases like tuberculosis and polio. As he became an immigrant medical student and then a young surgeon, he observed vast advances in medical practice and changes in the financing of medical care. During his tenure at Duke, Durham was transformed from a sleepy mill and tobacco town into the “City of Medicine,” a place where patients routinely travel for open-heart surgery and cutting-edge treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Anyone interested in health care, medical education, and the history of Duke University will find Anlyan’s memoir of interest.


"This book is written in a warm, personal style and is an easy read. . . . It seems clear that Duke University Medical Center was a leader in recognizing the need for change, as well as an effective force at working out certain problems to implement change. Dr. Anlyan's enlightened leadership is clearly evident in this transformation." — Norton J. Greenberger , Journal of the History of Medicine

“Anyone interested in how the Duke Medical Center climbed into the top echelon of such institutions during the last thirty years or so of the twentieth century will certainly want to read Bill Anlyan’s memoir. While amply recognizing the valuable help that many of his predecessors and colleagues gave, he piloted the ship during the crucial years—and in this book he explains clearly how he did it." — Robert F. Durden, author of Bold Entrepreneur: A Life of James B. Duke

“Bill Anlyan has been a giant at Duke University and an important leader of twentieth-century academic medicine. This extraordinary book, written in a warm personal style, details the development and accomplishments of a remarkable human being. It is a fascinating read and provides an important perspective on Duke Medical Center’s development under his leadership.” — Dr. Ralph Snyderman, Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University (1989–2004)

“Bill Anlyan has been one of the most outstanding leaders in academic medicine. Knowing him has been one of the great pleasures of my life and career. This book is not only about his metamorphoses but also the metamorphoses of American medicine and medical education.” — David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., Sixteenth U.S. Surgeon General and Director, National Center for Primary Care

“Bill Anlyan’s memoir documents Duke’s development as a highly regarded academic medical center in the words of one who helped guide it for five decades. I have often been grateful for his straightforward advice during my years as president; historians, members of the Duke and Durham communities, and anyone who enjoys candid autobiographies by interesting people will now be grateful for this book.” — Nannerl O. Keohane, President, Duke University (1993–2004)


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Dr. William G. Anlyan is Chancellor Emeritus of Duke University and a Trustee of The Duke Endowment. In his half-century of service to Duke, he has been a surgeon and professor of surgery, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Among his many honors are the Abraham Flexner Award, the highest honor given by the Association of American Medical Colleges; the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Duke University Medical Alumni (an award now renamed in his honor); and the North Carolina Award, the highest accolade the State of North Carolina can bestow. Dr. Anlyan lives in Durham.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations viii

Prologue xii

Acknowledgments xv

1. The Road to North Carolina 3

2. Becoming a Doctor 11

3. Intern and Resident 27

4. First Years as a Surgeon and Administrator 49

5. Building the Duke Medical School Faculty 67

6. Changing the Institution 82

7. Transforming Medical Education 93

8. Raising the Money 103

9. Building for Excellence 121

10. Evolving With The University 144

11. Building Links to the Community in Durham and Beyond 153

12. The Changing National Scene 161

13. The Changing World 176

14. Transitions: On Presidents and Chancellors 200

15. Effecting Change Beyond Duke 208

16. Family Bonds 215

Epilogue: Lessons of Experience 226
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3378-4
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