Nancy Lee Harris (BA ’65, MD ’70)

The Stanford Medicine Alumni Association has announced that Nancy Lee Harris, MD, will receive the prestigious J. E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine. She will be honored at a dinner held on the Stanford campus on December 5.

Dr. Harris is the Austin L. Vickery Professor of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School.  She is Editor of the Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital for the New England Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Harris obtained her B.A. Degree in English from Stanford University and her M.D. from Stanford Medical School.  She interned in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and trained in Pathology at Beth Israel in Boston.  After a research fellowship in Hematopathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, she joined the staff of that institution in 1980.  In 1985 she became Director of Surgical Pathology and in 1992 Director of Anatomic Pathology.  She also served as Program Director for the Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Residency Program and for the Hematopathology Fellowship Program.  She relinquished those administrative responsibilities to become Editor of the Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital for the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002.  She continues an active diagnostic and consultation practice in Hematopathology.

Dr. Harris’s research has focused on the relationship of lymphoid neoplasms to the normal immune system.  Her studies range from investigations of the biology and pathology of Hodgkin’s lymphoma to the study of nodal and extranodal small B-cell lymphomas, including follicular, mantle cell and MALT lymphomas, to the study of large B-cell lymphomas in the mediastinum and in specific extranodal sites.  Having trained in hematopathology in an age of multiple classifications of lymphomas, Dr. Harris became interested in establishing consensus in the classification of lymphoid neoplasms.  Working first with the International Lymphoma Study Group and then with the World Health Organization, Dr. Harris and colleagues published the Revised European American Classification of Lymphoid Neoplasms (REAL) in 1994 and in 2001, published a WHO Classification of Tumours of the Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. The classification was updated with a 4th edition in 2008, and an interim update is planned for 2015.  This classification represents the first true international consensus on the classification of hematologic neoplasms, and established a paradigm for arriving at consensus among pathologists and clinicians on disease classification. 

In editing the clinicopathologic conferences at Massachusetts General Hospital, which are published as the Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Harris has taken on the responsibility for educating readers about the contribution of pathologists, both laboratory medicine and anatomic pathologists, to the diagnosis and management of disease.  

The J. E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award was first conferred in 1983. The award is named for the former Stanford University president who, in 1953, recommended that the Stanford Medical School be moved from San Francisco to join the main educational and research Stanford campus in Palo Alto.