He’s a curve-ball hitter by night, but Dr. H. Rex Greene is better known for his work in the field of oncology.
Greene, 53, who began a one-year term as president-elect of the Los Angeles County Medical Association this month, is a board-certified internist, hematologist and medical oncologist.
His challenge as president-elect is twofold finding ways to preserve the safety net for residents of Los Angeles who do not have health insurance, and reaching out to the diverse physician population in the area.
“Admittedly, it’s a tall order,” he said, “but my goals are to work with the county system and to keep the Board of Supervisors committed to the public health issues. Additionally, I am looking for ways to bond young doctors, residents and medical students into the organization (LACMA) in an effort to see how we can make their lives easier.”
Greene has been an active, committed opponent of the legalization of euthanasia whose passion about the subject dovetails with his day-to-day practice. In addition to caring for his private patients, he writes and lectures on pain management, cancer treatment and end-of-life care.
Greene is a believer in a strong work ethic and, just as important, in finding ways to unwind.
“I’m passionate about my work, particularly in the field of bioethics, but I’m also good at finding ways to leave the stress behind,” Greene said.
He makes the rounds daily through the vegetable and formal flower gardens at his Altadena home, saying it’s the sure-bet way to de-stress. “Everything’s on automatic timers, but its necessary for me to talk to the plants each day,” Greene said.
He also tries to spend a few hours each week playing sand court volleyball. But it’s the one week a year spent at fantasy baseball camp that is Greene’s favorite pastime. “Would you believe it, I can still hit a curve ball, but I can’t run anymore,” he said.
Greene says it’s his play-hard, work-hard ethic that is the catalyst energizing him for his various roles in the health care field.
He maintains offices in Pasadena and is on the staff of Huntington Memorial Hospital, as well as St. Luke Medical Center in Pasadena and L.A. County-USC Medical Center. He was chief of staff at St. Luke in 1989 and became president of the medical staff at Huntington Memorial in 1997.
Additionally, Greene has been active in LACMA, the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.
Collecting dust on the shelves at the Greene home are two medical novels that he is hoping to find a publisher for. “I write when I can find time, as it’s fun, but so far I’m an unsuccessful author,” he said.
Greene intends to get the attention of the business community as the president-elect of LACMA by passing on the message that it’s time to look beyond the bottom line when it comes to public health care issues.
“I think the business community has abandoned the needs of the other residents of our county and is creating a public health care system that could annihilate health care for everyone,” he said. “We need to work together to find common solutions to common problems.”
By Julie Sable