Getting to know Stephen Hahn, M.D.

In February, Stephen Hahn, M.D., was named MD Anderson’s deputy president and chief
operating officer. In this role, he’s responsible for day-to-day
management of the institution, ensuring excellence across all
business, clinical and faculty matters. Hahn joined MD Anderson in 2015 as division head,
department chair and professor of Radiation Oncology. Prior to that,
he served as chair of the Radiation Oncology department the University
of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine from 2005 to 2014.

As a radiation oncologist, Hahn specializes in treating both lung cancer and sarcoma. His research focuses on the molecular
causes of the tumor microenvironment, particularly the study of
chemical signals that go awry (known as aberrant signal transduction
pathways), and the evaluation of proton therapy as a means to improve the
efficiency of radiation therapy.

We recently sat down with Hahn to learn a little more about him.
Here’s what he had to say.

What word best describes you?

Energetic.

What brought you to MD Anderson?

I got the opportunity to lead the Radiation Oncology division at the
world’s No. 1 cancer center, where there was a great culture and
environment for patient care.

What made you go into oncology?

I’ve always had an interest in cancer.

What prepared you for your role?

I served as chair for nine years at the University of Pennsylvania
and was on the practice plan and finance committees.

What was your first job?

I served ice cream at Friendly’s (a chain of ice cream shops based
in the Northeast).

What do you most enjoy away from work?

Working out and spending time with my wife, Lota, and my four
children, Chris, Rob, Emma and Caroline. We like to travel together.

What’s something you’ve learned from patients?

Appreciate every day with family and friends.

If you couldn’t do what you’re doing now, what would you do?

If I were a doctor, I’d practice full-time patient care. If I
weren’t a doctor, I’d run a vineyard and winery.

How do you manage stress?

Exercise.

What makes you happiest?

My family and my rescue dog, Baci (which means kisses in Italian).
We recently adopted her; she’s part Labrador and part Doberman.

When are you most creative?

In the morning. I like to wake up around 4 a.m. to read and work
out. I like to have a clear mind before getting caught up in the day.

Best or worst advice ever received?

Best: It’s not about me. Don’t take it personally. Don’t take it home.

Worst: Never get married. I’ve been married for 33
years, and if I’d listened to that advice, I’d have missed spending my
life with my best friend.

What’s one thing you’d like employees – or patients – to know
about you?

I always try to put our patients and MD
Anderson
first.

What’s one thing you’d like employees – or patients – to know
about MD Anderson?

There’s no better place in the world to receive and deliver cancer care.

A longer version of this story originally appeared in Messenger,
MD Anderson’s quarterly publication
for employees, volunteers, retirees and their families.

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