Montclair, NJ - Jan Huston-Pryor, M.D., medical director of the Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center Breast Health Program and a Mountainside Medical Group physician, has been named a finalist, posthumously, for Physician of the Year in the 2017 NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes Awards. The Healthcare Heroes program honors individuals and organizations that are making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in New Jersey.

The announcement was made by John Fromhold, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center, at a memorial service in her honor on May 23, 2017. Addressing her family, team members, patients, and friends, he also said, “Dr. Huston was a pioneer in women’s breast health. Jan’s affiliation with Mountainside Medical Center was a constant source of pride for myself and all of her colleagues at the hospital.  Her immeasurable commitment to her family, to her patients and to the community-at-large ensures that while she will be greatly missed, she will never be forgotten. Let us remember that the power of one person can truly change the lives of many.”

Rev. Richard Sommers began the memorial service by reminding everyone how much she loved her husband, family, and profession. While we grieve her untimely death together, we celebrate the privilege to have had known this remarkable woman. Diane Hoffman, a general patient of Dr. Huston’s practice said, “Dr. Huston floated into a room with that huge glowing smile on her face and she made you feel like anything was possible.”

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Her husband, Jonathan Pryor, said Jan was an angel on earth. Her patients and friends knew she was always there for them. Having adopted 10 children, taking care of the 170 million orphans in the world was her personal mission. Jonathan ended his tribute to his wife with a quote by Mother Teresa, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

In her nomination and selection as a Healthcare Heroes Finalist by an esteemed panel of independent judges, Dr. Huston-Pryor was described as a dedicated physician and an extraordinary person who served as medical director of the Mountainside Medical Center Breast Health Program and as a Mountainside Medical Group physician. She was a beloved colleague, a valued mentor and a strong advocate for women’s health.

Dr. Huston began her career as a nurse, practicing for several years and then attending medical school. She served as a vascular and general surgeon, until her professional calling led to providing diagnosis and surgical treatment of breast disease. In 1999, she founded her own practice to offer patients access to skilled female specialists with a heightened sensitivity to the physical and emotional needs of women with breast health concerns. A leader in her field, Dr. Huston was an early proponent of the evidence-based approach to medicine now being widely embraced by colleagues.

She was a key investigator for a study of the BreathLink test, using chemical biomarkers to evaluate the rapid point-of-care breath test for breast cancer. Known for her kind-hearted communication and genuine enthusiasm for the health and well-being of others, Dr. Huston is remembered for coaxing an easy laugh or a smile from those around her. With skill, care and commitment to her patients, she consistently made a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of her patients, their families and the communities she served. 

Dr. Huston also led a personal life of great meaning and purpose. She was a mother of 12 children, from elementary school into adulthood, and a grandmother to four. She and her husband, Jonathan, adopted 10 children from other parts of the U.S. as well as Mexico, Russia, China, Guatemala and Ethiopia.

The Healthcare Heroes Awards recognize health care professionals in nine categories, including Physician of the Year, Hospital of the Year, Innovation Hero, Nurse of the Year, Education Hero, Volunteers, Public Health and Workplace Wellness. The winner in each category is announced at a ceremony held at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey on June 20th.