Chapter 10: A Lesson on Sharing Credit with Colleagues


Chapter 10: A Lesson on Sharing Credit with Colleagues



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In this chapter Dr. Benjamin tells a story about Dr. Nick Bachur presenting the results of the studies of Adriamycin in his laboratory. Dr. Bachur stated, "All the work was done by Dr. Benjamin." This made a deep impression on Dr. Benjamin, who learned about the importance of giving credit to junior people. This is one of the "tricks" he says of an effective department chair.



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - The Leader; The Researcher; The Clinician; The Administrator; The Educator; The Leader; The Mentor; Formative Experiences; Leadership; Mentoring; On Leadership


Robert Benjamin, MD:

The other thing that Nick Bachur taught me, because he is associated in everyone’s mind with the initial clinical pharmacology studies of Adriamycin, but during my second year, there was an internal meeting at NCI among the various branch chiefs. So both Peter Wernick and Nick Bachur were presenting at this meeting to the NCI hierarchy, and I was invited just to attend but not to present anything. So Peter presented the clinical story of Adriamycin, because we had by that point treated about sixty patients and had some pretty impressive results in patients with solid tumors, so clearly this was a really important drug, and then Nick presented the clinical pharmacology and showed the things that had been done. It went in that order, and then at the end of Nick’s talk, he said, “And I want you all to know that the work that Dr. Wernick presented and the work that I presented are all done by one of our clinical associates, Dr. Benjamin.” And that, again, made a tremendous impression on me because he lost nothing by saying it, because his name is always associated with the work, but my name is associated with the work.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Certainly a lot of people don’t think to do that.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

And Dr. Wernick hadn’t thought about doing that. But I’ve tried subsequently in my career working with junior faculty and fellows to always try to give them the credit rather than me, because it doesn’t hurt me at all and it helps them. So, an important life lesson from Dr. Bachur.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

A lot of generosity there.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

But that’s the trick, I think one of the tricks, to be an effective department chair or section head or whatever, it’s you’ve got to be able to promote and give credit to the junior people around you, because that’s what stimulates them to do good work and to want to keep doing it. If you go through all of the hard work and it ends up being stolen from you by your boss, that’s not the boss you want to be working for.So, anyway, I don’t know how much time we have.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

We have until eleven-thirty. Is this a good—

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Chapter 10: A Lesson on Sharing Credit with Colleagues