Dr. Nathalie Johnson named an 'Oregon History Maker'
Legacy breast cancer surgeon, advocate and survivor receives one the state’s highest honors
A native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nathalie Johnson, M.D., medical director of Legacy Cancer Institute since 1996, moved to Oregon in 1992 with a passion for healing women diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, Dr. Johnson, who is a breast cancer survivor herself, has become a national leader in the field of breast cancer research and awareness. Along with being a breast cancer surgeon, she is a prolific speaker, author, singer and advocate.
Her many contributions to the state of Oregon were recognized this month by the Oregon Historical Society’s (OHS) most prestigious honor – the 2017 Oregon History Makers Medal.
“As one of America’s most respected breast cancer surgeons and most eloquent advocates for breast cancer prevention and awareness, Dr. Nathalie Johnson has helped to ensure that Oregon is ‘ground zero’ in the fight against cancer. She is truly changing history for the better for countless individuals and families,” said Kerry Tymchuk, Executive Director, Oregon Historical Society.
First awarded in 2009, the History Makers Medal is regarded as one of Oregon’s most prestigious honors and is presented annually by OHS to individuals and organizations that are positively shaping the history, culture and landscape of Oregon. Previous winners include Phil Knight, Ann Curry, Gus Van Sant and Gert Boyle.
During her 21-year career at Legacy, Dr. Johnson has developed a nationally recognized, multi-specialty cancer care program with locations throughout the region so patients can get care close to home. She was instrumental developing the Legacy Health Tumor Bank and the Good Samaritan Comprehensive Breast Center, which has evolved into four nationally accredited Breast Health Centers that offer the latest in breast cancer screening and diagnostic technology. Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, Legacy Cancer Institute became first in the country to receive American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer Network Cancer Program accreditation, which means patients get care closer to home. Legacy is still Oregon’s only network cancer program and is also the first cancer provider in the state to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
“Dr. Johnson is a transformational leader in the fight against cancer,” said George Brown, M.D., chief executive officer, Legacy Health. “In addition to building an award-winning cancer program, she is also a gifted collaborator who understands the key to winning the fight against cancer requires working with others in the healthcare community.”
Dr. Johnson is active in regional and national healthcare initiatives including having served on the Executive Committee of the OHSU Knight Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, Susan G. Komen Board of Directors of the Oregon Affiliate, and the Care Oregon Board of Directors. She is a member and participant in the Society of Surgical Oncology, Western Surgical Association, American Society of Breast Surgeons, North Pacific and Pacific Coast Surgical Associations and the International Society of Surgeons.
About the Oregon Historical Society
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.
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