Meet the Board

Maurie Markman, MD, explains his passion for gynecologic cancer research

Along with his interest in ovarian cancer research, particularly intraperitoneal therapy, he enjoys reading, swimming and home-cooked meals.

Maurie Markman, MD, vice president for clinical research at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, is also an editorial board member for HemOnc Today, as well as editor for a review journal, Current Oncology Reports, and a series of books, “Current Clinical Oncology.” In addition to authoring, editing and co-editing numerous medical articles, editorials and books, Markman serves as chairman of the Medical Oncology Committee of the Gynecologic Oncology Group and previously served as chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group.

He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and recently served as chairman of its Gynecologic Cancer Program Subcommittee. He is currently chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Subcommittee of the ASCO Patient Communication Committee and co-chair of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists/ASCO Task force.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not practicing medicine?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and my four children, as well as swimming, playing basketball and reading.

If you hadn’t gone into hematology/oncology, what would you have done?

It’s a little difficult to answer that question because for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a doctor. However, since two of my children are going to become lawyers, and because I’ve always enjoyed law, my guess is I probably would have practiced law in some capacity.

But truly, as long as I can remember, being a doctor is what I wanted to do. In medical school, I realized I wanted to be an internist. I liked the thought process involved in handling complicated issues. I also realized that every aspect of internal medicine was more complicated when dealing with patients with cancer, and I thought this would be an enormous challenge.

Maurie Markman, MD
Maurie Markman

The other aspect of becoming involved with hematology/oncology is that, even from the time I was a resident, I found that I made a difference when I took care of patients with cancer. They were very appreciative of what could be accomplished and what I could do for them. Because it’s such a difficult, complex and emotional field, it’s one that can be very gratifying.

Who do you consider a mentor?

My first academic mentor in the oncology arena was Stephen B. Howell, MD, director of the cancer pharmacology program at the University of California San Diego. He helped me become involved in and assisted in setting up my academic career. Together, the two of us did a lot to work in the area of intraperitoneal therapy.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My earliest mentor was my family physician/internist, who, unfortunately, died of pancreatic cancer many years ago. His advice was to make sure I approached the practice of medicine as a people’s doctor. There is nothing more rewarding than that. I took his advice very seriously and I certainly agree with it.

What would you consider one of your biggest successes in your specialty?

I’ve been involved in the development of a number of strategies, including the development of intraperitoneal therapy in ovarian cancer. However, I would argue the most important thing, which I think and hope I’ve done and continue to do, is to insist upon — for myself and others — viewing and thinking critically about everything we do as physicians. It’s crucial that we absolutely strive for and base our decisions on, as much as possible, solid, evidence-based medicine and phase-3, randomized trials. I believe to my core that the future of medicine has to be evidence-based.

What do you think will have the biggest influence on hematology/oncology in the next 10 years?

I would hope the biggest influence will be an agreement by all involved, including government and physicians, to push for medical decisions based on evidence from randomized, phase-3 trials. I am concerned that decisions are, unfortunately, going to be made solely based on cost. I fear cost may be the overriding consideration, but my hope is for evidence-based decisions.

What kind of diet and exercise regimen do you have?

I have no particular diet. I love to eat with my wife, who is a phenomenal cook. So to keep my weight down, I keep active with activities like bike-riding and swimming. It’s very important to stay physically fit; I accomplish that through exercise. When you have a wife who is a phenomenal cook, it’s hard not to eat her cooking.

What is your favorite restaurant?

My wife’s kitchen is my favorite restaurant. We live in Houston, though, and there are several really good restaurants. So aside from my wife’s kitchen, I would have to say Ruth’s Chris Steak House is my favorite.

What is the last book you read/art collection you saw/CD you bought? Why, and what did you think of it?

The last book I read and would recommend to everyone in the medical field is Taming the Beloved Beast by Dr. Daniel Callahan. He is a well-known writer, former director of the Hastings Center and has written extensively, over a number of decades, on the subject of how we pay for medical care and related issues with technology and technology control. It is a wonderful, thought-provoking book, and I would encourage everyone to read it. It’s very sobering.

What is your favorite travel destination?

I like to travel anywhere my kids are. I have four children: One is in Washington, D.C., two are in Boston and one is in Ann Arbor, Mich. Anytime my wife and I have an opportunity to see them, we take it. My daughter is moving to New York next year, so I will be looking forward to going there soon. – by Christen Haigh

Maurie Markman, MD, vice president for clinical research at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, is also an editorial board member for HemOnc Today, as well as editor for a review journal, Current Oncology Reports, and a series of books, “Current Clinical Oncology.” In addition to authoring, editing and co-editing numerous medical articles, editorials and books, Markman serves as chairman of the Medical Oncology Committee of the Gynecologic Oncology Group and previously served as chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group.

He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and recently served as chairman of its Gynecologic Cancer Program Subcommittee. He is currently chairman of the Gynecologic Cancer Subcommittee of the ASCO Patient Communication Committee and co-chair of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists/ASCO Task force.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not practicing medicine?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and my four children, as well as swimming, playing basketball and reading.

If you hadn’t gone into hematology/oncology, what would you have done?

It’s a little difficult to answer that question because for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a doctor. However, since two of my children are going to become lawyers, and because I’ve always enjoyed law, my guess is I probably would have practiced law in some capacity.

But truly, as long as I can remember, being a doctor is what I wanted to do. In medical school, I realized I wanted to be an internist. I liked the thought process involved in handling complicated issues. I also realized that every aspect of internal medicine was more complicated when dealing with patients with cancer, and I thought this would be an enormous challenge.

Maurie Markman, MD
Maurie Markman

The other aspect of becoming involved with hematology/oncology is that, even from the time I was a resident, I found that I made a difference when I took care of patients with cancer. They were very appreciative of what could be accomplished and what I could do for them. Because it’s such a difficult, complex and emotional field, it’s one that can be very gratifying.

Who do you consider a mentor?

My first academic mentor in the oncology arena was Stephen B. Howell, MD, director of the cancer pharmacology program at the University of California San Diego. He helped me become involved in and assisted in setting up my academic career. Together, the two of us did a lot to work in the area of intraperitoneal therapy.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My earliest mentor was my family physician/internist, who, unfortunately, died of pancreatic cancer many years ago. His advice was to make sure I approached the practice of medicine as a people’s doctor. There is nothing more rewarding than that. I took his advice very seriously and I certainly agree with it.

What would you consider one of your biggest successes in your specialty?

I’ve been involved in the development of a number of strategies, including the development of intraperitoneal therapy in ovarian cancer. However, I would argue the most important thing, which I think and hope I’ve done and continue to do, is to insist upon — for myself and others — viewing and thinking critically about everything we do as physicians. It’s crucial that we absolutely strive for and base our decisions on, as much as possible, solid, evidence-based medicine and phase-3, randomized trials. I believe to my core that the future of medicine has to be evidence-based.

What do you think will have the biggest influence on hematology/oncology in the next 10 years?

I would hope the biggest influence will be an agreement by all involved, including government and physicians, to push for medical decisions based on evidence from randomized, phase-3 trials. I am concerned that decisions are, unfortunately, going to be made solely based on cost. I fear cost may be the overriding consideration, but my hope is for evidence-based decisions.

What kind of diet and exercise regimen do you have?

I have no particular diet. I love to eat with my wife, who is a phenomenal cook. So to keep my weight down, I keep active with activities like bike-riding and swimming. It’s very important to stay physically fit; I accomplish that through exercise. When you have a wife who is a phenomenal cook, it’s hard not to eat her cooking.

What is your favorite restaurant?

My wife’s kitchen is my favorite restaurant. We live in Houston, though, and there are several really good restaurants. So aside from my wife’s kitchen, I would have to say Ruth’s Chris Steak House is my favorite.

What is the last book you read/art collection you saw/CD you bought? Why, and what did you think of it?

The last book I read and would recommend to everyone in the medical field is Taming the Beloved Beast by Dr. Daniel Callahan. He is a well-known writer, former director of the Hastings Center and has written extensively, over a number of decades, on the subject of how we pay for medical care and related issues with technology and technology control. It is a wonderful, thought-provoking book, and I would encourage everyone to read it. It’s very sobering.

What is your favorite travel destination?

I like to travel anywhere my kids are. I have four children: One is in Washington, D.C., two are in Boston and one is in Ann Arbor, Mich. Anytime my wife and I have an opportunity to see them, we take it. My daughter is moving to New York next year, so I will be looking forward to going there soon. – by Christen Haigh