Distinguished Chairman of Pathology at
LIVINGSTON, N.J.-- As a ten-year-old child, Robert V.P. Hutter decided that he wanted to become a physician, and as a high school student his area of greatest interest was focused on psychiatry. At the start of his second year of medical school at The State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, Dr. Hutter was one of three top students chosen to present the first of three lectures to his second year classmates in pathology. The topic of his lecture was a summary of the textbook of pathology. The preparation for that lecture, along with the course on pathology and the encouragement of his professor, moved Dr. Hutter away from psychiatry and launched him on a distinguished career in pathology that has spanned 46 years.
“It has been a very fulfilling field for me and I am very proud of the staff that remains at Saint Barnabas,” relates Dr. Hutter, who recently retired after serving as Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, for the past 27 years. “Over the years, I believe our department has been very effective in providing high quality and timely services for patient care.”
Dr. Hutter says he was originally attracted to pathology because, at that time, it was one of the most scientifically precise fields. While the pathologist remains the unseen specialist behind patient care, the role of these practitioners is integral to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. By studying human tissue, pathologists help to determine the nature of a disease and anticipated prognosis of patients.
“The data that pathologists provide to physicians are fundamental elements in the care of patients,” says Dr. Hutter. “The physician managing a patient is supported in selecting appropriate therapy for a patient when evidence derived from body tissue or fluids of the patient is examined and diagnosed by the pathologist.”
In addition to his role as Chairman at Saint Barnabas, Dr. Hutter was also a Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey––New Jersey Medical; Professor of Pathology (Adjunct) at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University; and Professor (Adjunct) of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Center for Bio-medical Engineering. Before coming to Saint Barnabas Medical Center, he had been an attending pathologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and later a tenured professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He has served as consultant for many state and national hospitals and centers, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA.
Over the years, Dr. Hutter’s special interest has been in the area of clinical cancer research. He is internationally recognized for his leadership in a broad range of activities related to cancer diagnosis, treatment and management. Over the past four decades he served the American Cancer Society (ACS) in more than 40 different positions, ranging from task force and committee chairman to National President in 1981-82. He was honored by the National American Cancer Society as an Honorary Life Member in 1989. The New Jersey Division of the ACS presented Dr. Hutter with its Physician Award in 1980. He has been a major force on the national American Joint Committee on Cancer, having served as Chairman; Honorary Fellow of the American College of Radiology; Chairman of the Cancer Committee of the College of American Pathologists; and serving on 16 editorial boards of major publications in cancer and pathology.
Dr. Hutter has especially enjoyed his nine-year role as Editor-in-Chief of CANCER, the Interdisciplinary International Journal of the American Cancer Society. CANCER publishes 200 to 250 pages of peer-reviewed scientific research every two weeks and is a highly regarded scientific journal.
“It was tremendously fulfilling to be on the cutting edge of what was happening in the field of cancer research,” relates the esteemed physician.
In a career that has spanned decades, Dr. Hutter has had the pleasuring of building a team composed of several individuals who followed him from one of his original positions as Chief of Anatomic Pathology and Cytopathology at Yale-New Haven Hospital to New Jersey and, ultimately, to Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Dr. Hutter expresses his pleasure with and high regard of the current pathology staff and counts among his closest colleagues the new Chairman of The Department of Pathology, who has been a long-time associate.
“It has been a personal honor and privilege for me to have worked with Dr. Hutter for more than 30 years,” says Robert R. Rickert, M.D., the new Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Saint Barnabas. “Speaking for our entire departmental staff, we are committed to continuing the tradition of excellence that has characterized his tenure as our chairman and leader.”
Other team members at Saint Barnabas include several individuals who trained with Dr. Hutter as residents.
“I was thrilled to see the growth of our former residents as they completed their training, pursued areas of special interest and then were teaching me,” recalls Dr. Hutter. “When we had an opportunity to bring former residents back to serve on the staff, we were fortunate that everyone who was asked accepted. It has also been a pleasure to observe their growth through their personal lives with courtships, marriage, children and grandchildren.In his retirement, the Livingston resident plans to spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren and to enjoy plans that had been deferred during the working years. As to whether he will miss the daily challenges and rewards of his former career, Dr. Hutter replies that, “one looks forward, not back,” and adds that, appropriately, the pathology staff at Saint Barnabas is also looking to the future.
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