KIRKLAND,Wash., June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eric Taylor, M.D., medical director of EvergreenHealth's Radiation Oncology Center, accepted the American Cancer Society's (ACS) prestigious 2013 National Volunteer Leadership Award May 23rd in a breakfast ceremony in Atlanta that commemorated the Society's 100th anniversary. While Taylor says he is honored and humbled to receive the award on the centennial of the ACS, he hopes there won't be a second centennial for the organization.
"Hopefully, the Society won't exist in another 100 years because then our job will have been accomplished. We'll have eliminated the disease, cancer," says Taylor
For the past 30 years, Taylor has been doing his part as a physician and volunteer to see that day come about. It's a mission he shares with his father, the late Dr. Willis J. Taylor. The elder Taylor also was a radiation oncologist in Seattle and gave nearly 40 years of service to this community and the nation through the Society, eventually becoming National President of the American Cancer Society.
Taylor himself served nearly 10 years on the ACS National Board of Directors, having already served as a division, state and county board member. His service, he says, was inspired by both his parents who "instilled these values that you give back and do other things beyond what your job is to have an impact."
In citing Taylor's many volunteer contributions to the ACS, the Society made clear his impact on the fight against cancer over these past 30 years, for example:
- Helping to lead two state-wide mammography campaigns in the 1980s, enrolling facilities to offer reduced-cost screening to women whose insurance did not cover the lifesaving test, which was not mandated by state law at the time
- Exercising his commitment to being a good steward of contributors' funds by assisting in the merger of four states into a single Northwest Division in the late 1990s
- Raising funds for the Society's advocacy arm, the ACS Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in the 2000s through creating the innovative Seattle Research Breakfast, which is now copied nationwide.
A humble man who sees himself as "just one of three million cancer volunteers across the country," Taylor counts his own advocacy work for ACS CAN as one of the two volunteering opportunities that most stand out for him. "Through advocacy you can have a greater impact on reducing the burden of cancer on society. By appropriate changes to public policy, more dollars can be directed to research and providing better access to quality care," Taylor points out.
Taylor also spent a significant part of his volunteer efforts in helping consolidate the independent divisions of the Society. He sees that as an act of stewardship, eliminating unnecessary spending. "By consolidating functions, an organization can more successfully focus on its mission while being a better steward of donors' dollars," says Taylor.
At the same time that he was a national level and division level volunteer with ACS, Taylor was very active with the Puget Sound affiliate of Komen for the Cure. He served as chair of the grants committee and then president of the affiliate's board of directors. In recognition of his service, he received the affiliate's lifetime achievement award. Taylor is also on the medical advisory board of Seattle's Cancer Lifeline.
Taylor's passion for service and stewardship extend to his work at EvergreenHealth. In addition to directing the medical center's radiation oncology center, Taylor serves on the EvergreenHealth Foundation Board of Trustees. There, he is also the major gifts co-chair for the Cancer Center Capital Campaign, responsible for raising the funds to create the Halvorson Cancer Center at EvergreenHealth. And he played an active leadership role in implementing EvergreenHealth's recent partnership with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
As busy as he is with his volunteer work, Taylor says his first love is working with patients with cancer. He considers it a privilege to care for them and be part of the process. "It is an honor to help patients fully understand not only their diagnosis but the entire treatment process and answer any questions they might have. And there is no limit to the time we provide," says Taylor.
His softly lit, quiet office overlooks a Japanese garden, purposefully offering a soothing and comforting experience for his patients and their families. The setting ensures that a newly diagnosed patient with cancer can learn about their cancer in an environment that is supportive, guided carefully by Taylor. He helps them process this new information in a way that helps them move forward to the next step, which is treatment and care.
"I encourage patients to invite as many family members or friends as they would like to ensure they are ready to move through the experience with the confidence they need to face what is ahead. A consultation with a family always takes as long as necessary and sometimes an hour-and-a-half or more. Only the patient determines when the conversation is complete," he says.
It is another expression of his compassion and covenant with patients who seek not only treatment, but an experience of healing and care.
As Taylor looks to the future as a physician, patient advocate and volunteer, he also sees his role as advocating in the political arena to change healthcare in a way that results in a guarantee for all patients in America who are facing cancer to have the best health care possible.
EvergreenHealth, a public hospital district and community-based healthcare organization established in 1972, offers a breadth of services and programs that is among the most comprehensive in the region. More than 950 physicians provide clinical excellence within more than 80 specialties, including cardiac, oncology, surgical care, orthopedics, a neuroscience institute, women's and children's services, hospice care, pulmonary care, a sleep disorders center and home care services. EvergreenHealth serves more than 400,000 residents in its primary service area of northern King and southern Snohomish counties with EvergreenHealth Primary Care, a network of primary and urgent care practices, and its main hospital campus in Kirkland, Wash. EvergreenHealth also provides emergency care at two sites; its main hospital campus and the EvergreenHealth Redmond Medical Center. In addition to clinical care, EvergreenHealth offers extensive community health outreach and education programs, anchored by EvergreenHealth Nurse Navigator & Healthline, a 24/7 nurse consultation service. For more information, visit www.evergreenhealth.com.
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