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Edward Hughes, a pioneer in health policy, dies at the age of 80

EVANSTON, Ill. — Edward FX Hughes, a health policy pioneer and professor of strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, died Sunday, January 23. He was 80 years old.

Hughes founded the university’s Center for Health Services and Policy Research and was its director for 17 years. He was also director of Kellogg’s Health Enterprise Management Program and founder of Kellogg’s joint MD-MBA program.

He is believed to be the first physician employed by a business school, serving more than 45 years in the Northwest.

“I adored Ed Hughes,” said Northwest President Morton Schapiro. “He was a great friend and advisor who worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Northwest. His transformative efforts to incorporate the voices of faculty into university governance have paid off mightily, and his countless devoted students can attest to his brilliance and humanity. Ed will be greatly missed.”

A surgeon by training, Hughes graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1966 and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in 1969.

He played a central role in the development of the Kellogg curriculum for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries and was co-director of the school’s biotechnology program for many years.

In addition to his academic role, Hughes was elected President of the Faculty Senate for the 2015-16 academic year. He also served in the formal office of former President of the Faculty Senate in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

“Ed’s leadership in the faculty Senate is still evident today as he initiated its transformation into an effective forum for shared leadership,” said Robert Hariman, professor in the School of Communication. “No detail was too big or small for his careful consideration, and his good humor, decency and kindness were second to none.”

“Ed leaves a profound legacy of advancing the study of healthcare at Kellogg. In addition to being a talented physician, he was an admired teacher to countless students and a highly respected expert in the healthcare ecosystem,” said Kellogg Dean Francesca Cornelli. “I will always remember his kind smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

David Dranove, Kellogg’s Walter McNerney Distinguished Professor of Health Industry Management, said Hughes’ reputation as an effective teacher is evident in the admiration of his former students.

“At every public event, countless alumni would turn to him for advice, advice, or just to say a kind word,” Dranove said.

Phyllis Breit, Hughes’ assistant for over 20 years, described him as a mentor, friend and caring boss.

“Ed’s students became more than just students as he followed their paths in life as teaching and mentoring was his greatest passion,” said Breit. “Ed worked endless hours to get a job done and made sure it got it right with just the right words because he knew people depended on him.

“You always knew where you stood with Ed, and he knew how to admit when he was wrong — the mark of a true man,” Breit said. “Family and friends always came first and his new granddaughter was the light of his life; He was genuinely pleased when you mentioned Margot Lane. The world was a better place with Professor Edward FX Hughes and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Throughout his career, Hughes emphasized the need for health professionals to develop managerial skills.

Joel Shalowitz, associate professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg, first met Hughes in 1980. He said that back then there weren’t many models of what a doctor could do outside of clinical work.

“He broadened my perspective on teaching and research and emphasized the importance of management education in delivering quality healthcare,” Shalowitz said. “Students loved his teaching style and he loved them back and stayed in touch with many of them long after graduation.”

Stephen Shortell, professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, said Hughes’ work on health policy “helped establish Kellogg and Northwestern as one of the leaders in this field.”

“He will be remembered for his many contributions and the impact of those he influenced will live on,” Shortell said.

He is survived by his loving wife, Susan Lane (Mooney) Hughes, Ph.D., of West Falmouth, Massachusetts and Evanston, after 55 years; his sons Edward Francis Hughes, IV of New York, NY; and John Patrick Hughes (Kellogg, ’05) of Arlington, Vir.; daughter dr Dempsey Lane Hughes of Evanston; daughter-in-law Kristen Welker of Arlington, Vir.; and granddaughter Margot Lane Welker Hughes of Arlington, Vir. He is also survived by his sister Elizabeth Craig of North Falmouth, Massachusetts; his brother Paul Hughes of Sparta, NJ; his sister-in-law Martha M. Mooney of Belmont, Mass.; and several nieces and nephews.

A wake will be held Thursday, January 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Chapman Funeral Home at 584 West Falmouth Highway (Route 28A) in West Falmouth, Mass. On Friday, January 28, there will be a visitation from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and funeral services from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., all at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, 481 Quaker Road in North Falmouth, Massachusetts. A burial will follow at North Falmouth Cemetery and a reception at 2 a.m. at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, 350 Quaker Road in North Falmouth, Mass.

Plans for a memorial service in Northwestern are in development for spring 2022.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Edward’s name to the Boston Latin School, Amherst College, and the Coalition to Save Buzzards Bay.

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