Christina A. Nguyen
I first met Professor Slack during a clinical computing practicum for GHHP 50: The Quality of Health Care in America, a Harvard College class he had previously taught and for which he was a continued guest lecturer, supporter, and friend. He later became my long-term advisor for independent research in health policy and for my Cordeiro Fellowship as I studied the impact and utilization of health IT on patient-physician relationships. As I navigated my academic and personal life, and encountered both hardships and successes, Professor Slack showed me what it is like to be a true mentor, constantly an unwavering teacher, supporter, and confidant. He is a model physician whose natural empathy connected him to others, the father of cybermedicine and a pioneer in his field and others, and in it all, a really, truly good person. He always asked me how my mom and brother were doing. Like he did his grandchildren, he would smile and tell me to hold up my fingers for the number of times he may have told me a story more than once—whether it be about family, his service in the wars, initiatives about standardized testing…the list goes on. He inspired dreams and set an example through his own visions and resilience, as an advocate for others and fighter in life; he embodied the true meaning of empathy and of empowering others. I will miss buzzing into DCI in Coolidge Corner and walking down to your corner office to see you working on your computer, and the conversations, experiences, and hopes we would share. Thank you so much for your mentorship and for everything, Professor Slack—for the mark you have made on the world, for the legacy you have left in your family and in medicine as we know it. I send my very warmest wishes to Carolyn and family. He spoke of all of you always, in person and in writing, and would tell me stories of you as we stood next to the family photos he had hanging by his desk. Professor Slack was and always will be one of the very best people I know. So lucky are we and the world to have had him.