In his long career at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, W. Jarrard “Jerry” Goodwin, M.D., has been an inspirational teacher and mentor, a skilled head and neck surgeon, a dedicated researcher, and a dynamic leader.
“I feel very fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time for my talents,” said Dr. Goodwin, who has served as director of Sylvester and professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, and will now join the emeritus faculty. “I love being a doctor, and I love being a leader. This was a perfect environment for me.”
At a December 10 virtual retirement ceremony, Dr. Goodwin’s colleagues, trainees, staffers and friends shared moving testimonials about his impact on their lives and the University of Miami.
“It is an honor to be part of this celebration,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “You helped propel the meteoric rise of our school as a research institution, inspired legions of ENT specialists, and recruited renowned cancer scientists, educators and physicians, while bringing world-class care closer to our patients’ homes.”
Many of the 165-plus attendees cited Dr. Goodwin’s personal integrity as a foundation for his leadership through the years.
“Jerry’s career has been based on integrity and a decades-long commitment to excellence that has never wavered,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester and the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “It was his presence and vision that established cancer research as a priority for our University, building clinical, research and service programs.”
Fred F. Telischi, M.D., chair of otolaryngology, moderated the 90-minute retirement celebration, which included more than a dozen video tributes from near and far.
“Ever since Jerry hired me for the faculty in 1992, he has been a steadfast friend, mentor and colleague,” said Dr. Telischi, who is also the James R. Chandler Chair in Otolaryngology. “Whatever success I have achieved, I owe in large part to his guidance.”
Building the otolaryngology program
Dr. Goodwin first came to Miami 47 years ago for residency training in otolaryngology at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. After two years in the Air Force, he completed a head and neck surgery fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, before joining the UM medical school faculty in 1980 as assistant professor of otolaryngology.
“Back then, the medical center was a small place and the department had just three faculty members,” he recalled. “It allowed me to be a practicing physician, a researcher, and a leader all at the same time. I feel like I was very lucky to start my career at a time when you could do all those things and do them well.”
Roy Casiano, M.D., professor and vice chair of otolaryngology and director of rhinology, recalled his training as a resident under Dr. Goodwin. “We both had young families and formed a friendship and a love for our department and our university that has endured through the years.”
From 1985 to 1989, Dr. Goodwin taught at Yale University before returning to UM to succeed Ryan Chandler, M.D., as the second chair of otolaryngology. Serving in that role for 11 years, he developed a modern, subspecialty-oriented department and hired Thomas Balkany, M.D., and Dr. Telischi, who became the third and fourth chairs of the department.
“One of Jerry’s visions was to build an ear institute, and that became part of our department’s clinical and research powerhouse,” said Dr. Balkany, Hotchkiss professor and chair emeritus of the department. “And I will always remember the personal moments, like talking with Jerry first thing in the morning about our department. I never drank coffee before then, but I got in the habit and have never stopped.”
Donna Lundy, Ph.D., professor and chief of speech pathology, thanked Dr. Goodwin for hiring her at a time when there were few speech pathologists in otolaryngology departments. “I have learned so much from you over the years,” she said.
Through his strength of character, courage, and commitment to patient care, Dr. Goodwin steadily grew the otolaryngology department while developing active collaborations with biomedical engineering and other UM programs, said Dr. Telischi. “Jerry laid the foundation for all these successes.”
Leading Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
In 1993, Dr. Goodwin became CEO of the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, including Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Three years later, he became Sylvester’s director, leading a prolonged phase of growth and financial success. “One important aspect of Jerry’s vision was to expand our footprint,” said Dr. Nimer. “We now have eight satellites that help us to meet the needs of our growing and diverse community.”
Dr. Goodwin was a personal friend of Harcourt Sylvester, whose $27.5 million gift launched the cancer center, and his daughters Jayne Malfitano and Laura Cameron. “Our family respects and admires your leadership and courage,” said Malfitano, who is president of the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, and a member of the UM Board of Trustees, UHealth Board of Directors, and Sylvester Board of Overseers.
“When we dedicated our father’s statue in 2010, I remember your beautiful words: ‘Mr. Sylvester, we are glad to have you back on our campus.’ ”
Another longtime Sylvester supporter also paid tribute to Dr. Goodwin at the celebration. “You have played a big role in the life of our organization,” said Susan Dinter, chair of the Board of Directors of The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research. “Your support through the years has really been appreciated.”
Donald Weed, M.D., professor of otolaryngology, co-leader of the Head and Neck Site Disease Group, and the W. Jarrard Goodwin Chair in Head and Neck Oncology Surgery, credited Dr. Goodwin with introducing him to cancer research. “He was the best kind of mentor, inspiring me in a rewarding academic career,” he said. “I hope I can repay others along the way.”
Dr. Goodwin was also a mentor to Francisco J. Civantos, M.D., who is now co-director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery/Otolaryngology and the Virginia M. Horner Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Oncology Research. “Jerry’s guidance has made a huge difference in my life,” he said. “He expected the best from everyone.”
A decade ago, Dr. Goodwin fostered Sylvester’s fundraising partnership with the Miami Dolphins, which led to the highly successful Dolphins Cancer Challenge (now named Dolphins Challenge Cancer). “Riding in the challenge for 10 years has enriched my life, and connected our center to the community,” said Dr. Goodwin. “The Miami Dolphins have been an extraordinary partner for us.”
Dr. Goodwin also thanked the Sylvester board for its support through the years, “It truly takes a community to grow a comprehensive cancer center, and our board has been a catalyst for that success. I congratulate Dr. Nimer for pushing Sylvester over the finish line and achieving the National Cancer Institute designation last year.”
In 2008, Dr. Goodwin stepped down as director, and continued as medical director. “Jerry is a gifted surgeon and thoughtful leader, who loves his patients, colleagues and this cancer center,” said Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D., professor and chief of hematology, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and the William J. Harrington Chair in Hematology. “Your legacy will always be part of the DNA of this cancer center, and we will always be thankful for you.”
Focusing on surgery and research
For the past 12 years, Dr. Goodwin has maintained his busy head and neck surgery clinical practice, and participated actively in research and educational activities, including the Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Tumor Conference, held every week for more than 50 years. He also participated actively in many national otolaryngology and oncology societies, and invested his time as an active member of medical school and medical group committees.
In addition, Dr, Goodwin has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, dealing principally with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of head and neck cancer. “One of his research interests was the impact of lifestyle and diet on head and neck cancers, and he investigated many vitamins and supplements,” said Dr. Telischi.
Reflecting his commitment to residency training, Dr. Goodwin recently established the Anthony J. Maniglia and W. Jarrard Goodwin Otolaryngology Residency Endowment Fund. It honors the memory of Dr. Maniglia, a pioneer in head and neck surgery at the University of Miami, as well as his own service. The fund will provide support for the residents' research, education, and professional development in the Department of Otolaryngology.
In retirement, Dr. Goodwin plans to stay in Miami and work on his golf game. After receiving a new golf bag as a retirement gift, he quipped, “My goal is to shoot my age on an 18-hole round of golf. But to do so, I would need to be a few years older.”
He also thanked his wife Sharon for her support, adding that they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They plan to spend more time with their three daughters, Melissa, Amanda and Courtney, and eight grandchildren.
Wrapping up the retirement celebration, Dr. Telischi called for a virtual toast to Dr. Goodwin, saying, “Congratulations on a job well done.”