The Board’s Distinguished Pathologist Award was established by the Board of Directors of USCAP for recognition of distinguished service in the development of the discipline of pathology. This award is presented to an individual who is recognized for making major contributions to pathology over the years.
These candidates are proposed by the Executive Committee and the Awardee is selected by the Board of Directors at the Interim Meeting for presentation at the Annual Meeting.
David Lee Page, MD
January 20, 1941 – October 18, 2019
2021 USCAP Board’s Distinguished Pathologist
Dr. Page was born in New York City, the only child of Constance Rose and Robert Clinton Page, MD. When David was seven years old, the family moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where his dad was the Public Health officer for Aramco dealing with entomology and preventive medicine. Around age 10, he went on school trips and became involved in research studies on the role of flies in the spread of trachoma blindness as well as surveys of the incidence of malaria in certain districts.
In 1958 David matriculated at Yale University where he majored in Russian History and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He entered the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (graduating with Alpha Omega Alpha honors) where he was exposed to sophisticated Surgical Pathology focused on clinical utility. After a residency spent at Massachusetts General, Johns Hopkins, and Vanderbilt, he joined the Pathology Department at Vanderbilt Medical Center in 1972. It presented a wonderfully challenging environment where important clinical decisions were made frequently with open, friendly and constructive criticism. Tom Brittingham and David Rogers gave criticism and praise freely as needed. No one felt they needed to put others down to look good. Absent was the competitive atmosphere of diverse labs and departments fostering non‐cooperation and competition found elsewhere.
David fought to maintain such a mutually supportive atmosphere within the Division of Anatomic Pathology. He helped to establish the Fellowship in Surgical Pathology with a subsequent focus in breast pathology. Although Dr. Page published many studies on endocrine pathology, including a textbook, it was at this point that he focused on many of the unanswered questions related to the surgical care of women with breast cancer. These studies continued and advanced for the next 30 years, and he became the world leader in this field because of his creativity and emphasis on how pathologic studies can help patients with breast cancer.
A teacher, mentor, and educator, he trained over 100 Fellows to follow in this field, including his son Rob, and he wrote the definitive textbook on breast cancer summarizing his work, Diagnostic Histopathology of the Breast.
For all his accomplishments and legacy, there was much more to him. He did not limit himself to histopathology and epidemiology. He taught his fellows to review the charts and visit the patients who were to have frozen sections the night before their surgery. He personally came to the operating room to pick up biopsy specimens and to discuss options with the surgeon, and then he followed the patient if still in the hospital. He demanded collaboration and congeniality, and he was kind to all around him.
David had a wonderful family. His wife of 56 years, Lauren, who predeceased him, was central in his life and was known for her hospitality to the families of David’s trainees. His daughter, Emily Pierre, is a ESL teacher and administrator in Boston, son Robert N. Page MD a dermatopathologist in Knoxville, and grandchildren Elizabeth and Rebecca were the source of his greatest joy.