As long as William Cannon, MD (’88), can remember, becoming a physician has always been his life’s calling. When deciding which medical school to attend, he originally planned to apply to programs that, at the time, had more name recognition than Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (Stritch). However, he realized that Stritch was the right choice for him. “There was a sense of family and an atmosphere of warmth, spirituality, professionalism and personal responsibility,” recalls Dr. Cannon of his first impressions of Stritch.
The characteristics Dr. Cannon describes above could be applied to him as well. He has spent his medical career at Loyola University Health System (Loyola) caring for patients, educating medical students and taking on leadership roles that help define medicine at Loyola. After earning his medical degree from Stritch, he completed his residency in internal medicine and general pediatrics at Loyola University Medical Center. He served as medical director of primary care and managed care and vice chief of staff of Loyola University Hospital. Most recently, he was appointed chief of staff. At Stritch, he serves as assistant professor of general internal medicine and general pediatrics, and chairs the Financial Aid Committee.
The values Dr. Cannon learned from his family and Loyola’s Jesuit Catholic philosophy continue to motivate him to “to do more.” He regularly contributes to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence Fund to help offset the enormous debt students incur as a result of rising tuition costs. “Because of this burden,” he said, “these talented physicians are unable to share their altruism for the next decade, which is very problematic.” Dr. Cannon recognizes that the combined support of all Stritch alumni, faculty and friends could make the critical difference for these students.
As chief of staff, Dr. Cannon’s vision is to maintain the quality of care and smooth operations of the medical and dental staff. As medicine changes at a rapid pace, the future lies on health-care providers working in teams versus individuals. He noted that the medical center expansion project is part of the response to that change. “The physical building was designed to encourage that teamwork, much like the Loyola Outpatient Center. We are being proactive in our approach to patient care.”
Dr. Cannon is proud of the changes he has witnessed and been a part of during his 20 years at Loyola. “It has been fascinating to see Loyola from many different angles. As a medical student, resident, faculty member, primary caregiver and as chief of staff, I have been privileged to meet many outstanding and truly committed people in every area.”
When asked about the challenges facing health care, Dr. Cannon replied, “Medicine changes every day. It’s sometimes frustrating, painful and tragic. The way we choose to deal with those changes is often the most difficult yet rewarding part. The good news is these experiences help us grow to become better people, doctors, teachers, husbands, wives and parents.”
For more information on the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, contact Shawn Vogen, assistant dean, Office of Development, Stritch School of Medicine, at (708) 216-5642.