It is unusual for anyone to have the interest and energy to play an active role in more than a few of the trade associations in our business. Milton Liebman was the exception. Over his long career, Liebman, the 2005 recipient of the Service to Industry Award, literally covered the industry’s trade organizations coast to coast. In the East, it was the Healthcare Marketing Communications Council (HMCC); in Chicago, the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association (MHMA); on the West Coast, the Medical Marketing Association (MMA). In addition, he contributed time and talent to the Association of Medical Publications and the Coalition for Healthcare Communications. Milt’s resume of service to the industry is long and deep.
He joined the PAC (now the HMCC) in the early 1970s, and wrote the About PAC column for the PACER, the organization’s newsletter, for 13 years. He served on the association’s Board of Directors for two years, was a second vice president one year, and gave his time to numerous committees. In 1986, the PAC recognized his many contributions with its President’s Award.
Milt became a member of the MPAC (now the MHMA) in 1976. Between 1983 and 1987, he wrote the View from the East column in the monthly newsletter, served 2 years on the Board of Directors, and was chairman and member of the Inter-Council Committee for 6 years. The group gave him its Sweeney Award for his service.
For almost 20 years, Milt also found time to be a member of the Medical Marketing Association, serving as its liaison for that organization and the HMCC.
Most importantly, in 1974, he was a founding member of the Association of Medical Publications (AMP), and was the only person to serve 2 terms as president (1979 and 1992). He played a leading role in the development of the AMP and he served as a consultant for a number of years. With the Coalition for Healthcare Communications, he participated in the shaping of the organization’s activities, serving as the group’s Internet site manager and writing news reports.
He accomplished all this against the background of a successful career in publishing that began when he joined Medical World News in 1962 as an associate editor, later becoming managing editor. In 1967, he moved to Hospital Practice as associate publisher, and in his 30 years with the publication, went on to become publisher, executive vice president, and then president. When HP was sold in 1996, he became a contributing editor to Medical Marketing & Media.
In his mid-fifties, Milt was found to have cancer of the vocal cords. After surgery, his voice was reduced to a husky whisper. This did not deter him from returning to the business of selling journal space and managing a publication. In fact, given his straightforward, “it doesn’t matter” attitude about his voice, we all listened to him more carefully, adjusted to his way of speaking, and Milt remained a fixture in the business. His voice even became the trademark of his later years.
Milt Liebman died in December 2003. He will be remembered for his accomplishments in publishing, for his support of many of our trade associations, for the counsel and good advice he gave young people, for the good friend he was to many, and for the warmth of his personality—particularly the look of knowing amusement he would gently interject into a conversation.
And, when we think back on him, we will remember the courage we heard in his voice when he spoke to us in a whisper.