The Charlie Sanders legacy

Few lives connected to North Carolina have been more accomplished than that of Charles Sanders, cardiologist, hospital administrator, pharmaceutical company chairman, philanthropist. About the only thing Sanders tried at which he didn’t succeed was a campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1996.

But if that wasn’t a good fit, virtually everything else Sanders has tried in life was. He was an esteemed cardiologist and surgeon. As CEO of Massachusetts General Hospital, he oversaw unprecedented expansion, improvements in services and the hospital’s rise to prominence as one of the finest in the United States. Then he took over Glaxo, Inc., and brought the pharmaceutical company from the 65th largest in the world to the second largest.

Along the way, Sanders was called on to lead interventions by medical organizations in answer to world crises such as earthquakes.

As leader of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, he has led expansion of medical care access and research around the world. Leaders from around North Carolina and the Triangle gathered last week to kick off the Charles A. Sanders Legacy Fund for the FNIH. This will be a fitting tribute and a constructive hallmark for Charlie Sanders (that’s how he prefers to be known) who remains active.

His has been a successful life, but one that contributed much to the welfare and particularly the health of humankind. The doctor has wasted not a moment of it.