ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF P&S GRADUATES RUN THE GAMUT OF medical and surgical fields in basic and clinical science, medical administration and teaching, government service, writing, international health, and humanitarian causes. In addition to comprising some of America’s finest clinicians, P&S graduates have conducted benchmark scientific studies, discovered the causes of dreaded diseases and developed the vaccines to cure them, headed medical schools, universities, major pharmaceutical concerns, and government agencies, edited and authored leading scientific texts and lay literature, and taken mankind’s ever restless curiosity into the genome and literally out of this world. The following selections excerpted or adapted from profiles published in P&S are hardly exhaustive. Consider it rather a potpourri of “greatest medical hits” — not the kind you dance to, but the kind on which you model your life.

Benjamin Spock’29
Baruch Blumberg’51
Keith Brodie’65
J. Lawrence Pool’32 MSD’40
Calvin H. Plimpton’51 MSD Robin B. Cook’66
Margaret Morgan Lawrence’40
P. Roy Vagelos’54
Harold Varmus’66
Martha M. MacGuffie’49
Donald A.B. Lindberg’58
Eve Slater’71
Paul Marks’49
Story Musgrave’64
George D. Yancopoulos’86 Ph.D./’87 M.D.

Benjamin Spock’29
J. Lawrence Pool’32 MSD’40
PHOTO CREDITS:
BY ELIZABETH WILCOX;
Margaret Morgan
Martha M. MacGuffie’49
PHOTO CREDITS:
BY PETER WORTSMAN
Rebel Doctor With a Cause:
Benjamin Spock’29
“Trust Yourself,” says the first chapter heading of the late Benjamin Spock’s classic, “Baby and Child Care,” the best-selling child-rearing manual of all time. His advice, “You know more than you think you do,” returned the ultimate authority in child rearing from the doctor to the parent. For parents of the post-World War II Baby Boom generation, the book was their bible — as it still is to the grown-up Baby Boomers and their babies. As a pediatrician, Dr. Spock challenged the traditional split between physical and mental health and slipped a pinch of Freud and healthy dollops of common sense in with the booster shots. A tireless political activist in later years, he repeatedly staked his reputation on the inseparability of pediatrics, politics, and peace.
— Fall 1993 issue

A Pioneering Neurosurgeon:
J. Lawrence Pool’32 MSD’40
Notable among neurosurgical trailblazers, J. Lawrence Pool ushered in multiple innovations, including the introduction of the microscope to operate on cerebral aneurysms and the development of the myeloscope to pinpoint problems of the lower spine. His reputation as a surgical innovator and his consummate skill in the OR made him the second American ever to receive the prestigious Medal of Honour of the World Federation of Neurological Sciences. Born in a bygone era of gaslight and horse-drawn buggies, or as he puts it in his lively memoir, “Adventures and Ventures of a New York Neurosurgeon” (1988), “an age of cholesterol and coal,” Dr. Pool likes to joke that the Neurological Institute “was founded in 1909 and I was founded in 1906, which makes me the statelier institution!”
— Fall 2001 issue

Yes, There is Balm in Gilead:
Margaret Morgan Lawrence’40
A distinguished child psychiatrist, former member of the psychiatry faculty at P&S, and director of the Developmental Psychiatry Service of the Division of Child Psychiatry (of which she was a co-founder) at Harlem Hospital Center, Margaret Morgan Lawrence was the third African-American woman to attend P&S. She and her predecessors, Agnes O. Griffin’23, who became an ophthalmologist, and Vera Joseph’36, former director of the Smith College Health Service, helped open doors that were previously closed to blacks, and in particular to black women. Author of two influential books, “Mental Health Teams in the School” (1971) and “Young Inner City Families” (1975), plus countless articles in the field of child psychiatry, Dr. Lawrence was the first child psychiatrist to practice in Rockland County, where she helped found the Community Mental Health Center.
— Fall 1989 issue

Out of Anguish Into Africa:
Martha M. MacGuffie’49
Martha “Bobby” MacGuffie is founder, president, and prime mover of the Society for Hospital and Resource Exchange (SHARE), a non-profit organization she created in 1988 to bring U.S. medical technology and manpower to people who need it most. A respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon, she divides her time between a busy practice in Rockland County, N.Y., and an even busier practice in the bush of western Kenya, tending to the diverse medical needs of AIDS orphans and anyone else who needs help. Other medical missions undertaken on a moment’s notice have included the treatment of African victims of the 1998 terrorist bomb at the American embassy in Nairobi and the emergency care of survivors of Rwanda’s bloodbath at a refugee camp in Goma, Zaire. She has received many honors, including the Lions Club International Humanitarian Award, once given to Mother Teresa.
— Winter 2000 issue

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Paul Marks’49
PHOTO CREDIT: PAUL MARKS BY ADAM STOLTMAN

Baruch Blumberg’51

Calvin H. Plimpton'51 MSD

P. Roy Vagelos'54 MSD

Donald A.B. Lindberg'58
At the Cancer Command:
Paul Marks’49
Research scientist, teacher, medical administrator, and national health policy adviser, Paul Marks has been a leading player and tactician in the war against cancer.
Former dean of P&S and past president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the nation’s oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer, Dr. Marks’ influence in the field of cancer research reaches around the country and the world. He directed seminal work on a class of cytodifferentiation agents, chemicals that have the capacity to induce cancer cells to resume normal growth and development. Clinical studies demonstrated the ability of such agents to induce remission in patients with certain cancers. He has applied his combined talents as a world-class scientist and a strong administrator to reinvigorate research at the molecular level and refocus clinical care to encompass non-invasive alternatives to surgery.
— Fall 1995 issue

A Lifelong Commitment to Curiosity That Took Him Around (and Out of) This World:
Baruch Blumberg’51
Baruch Blumberg, the intellectual polymath and 1976 Nobel Prize recipient who circled the globe on a scientific odyssey that led to the discovery of the hepatitis B virus and the development of the vaccine to prevent it, embarked more recently on a new journey of discovery — this one, literally, out of this world. Director, since 1999, of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., his institutional mission is the study of the origins of life on Earth and the search for life elsewhere in the universe. A prerequisite for the search for extraterrestrial life is a clear understanding of life in all its forms on Earth and the ability to detect signs of life in the most unlikely places. Among other projects, Dr. Blumberg is supervising the cultivation and study of “extremophiles,” primitive microscopic organisms that live under extreme geothermal and harsh climatic conditions, which scientists believe are among the oldest animate forms on Earth. They may contain genetic clues to the origin of life on Earth and, possibly, lead the way to the discovery of life forms elsewhere in the universe.
— Fall 2002 issue

An Educator Not Afraid to Stick His Neck Out:
Calvin H. Plimpton’51 MSD
In the course of a long and distinguished career, Calvin H. Plimpton, clinician-educator par excellence, piloted three great institutions of higher learning through turbulent times and played a pivotal role in directing others. A former member of the faculty at P&S for the better part of a decade, he took a two-year leave of absence, 1957 to 1959, to serve as chairman of the Department of Medicine, assistant dean of medicine, and chief of staff of University Hospital at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and later served on its board of trustees. Subsequent tenures at the helm of Amherst College and SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn were followed by a return in 1984 to Lebanon as the 10th president of AUB, following the assassination of his predecessor. Of the challenge, he told a reporter for the Cape Cod News at the time: “A lot of things are discouraging. Have you tried treating cancer lately? It’s a very discouraging disease ... but you don’t give up.” Thanks in no small part to his efforts, AUB survives today and continues to set a standard for higher education and intellectual freedom in the Middle East.
— Spring 2001 issue

Former Merck Chairman and CEO, Not the Retiring Type:
P. Roy Vagelos’54
P. Roy Vagelos, former chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., who led the company through an unparalleled period of drug discovery and financial success, was dubbed “King of the Medical Molecule Makers” by Fortune magazine. Under his tenure, for four consecutive years, Merck was voted “America’s most admired corporation” in Fortune’s annual surveys. Among the successful drugs launched under his watch were Mevacor and Zocor, cholesterol-lowering agents; Vasotec, an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor for high blood pressure; and Proscar, an effective prostate-shrinking agent. A renowned enzymologist and the author of more than 100 scientific papers, he had been a senior scientist at the NIH and founder and director of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis when he was recruited by Merck as senior vice president for research in 1975. He was named president and chief executive officer in 1985 and chairman of the Board of Directors in 1986, positions he held until his retirement in 1994. On leaving Merck he joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a dynamic biotech start-up firm, as chairman of the board. Serving in his “spare time” as chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Vagelos was tapped in 2002 by New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey to head a state commission to overhaul the state’s public research universities.
— Spring 1991 issue

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A Digital Pioneer at the National Library of Medicine:
Donald A.B. Lindberg’58
In 1966 Donald A.B. Lindberg, then a junior member of the pathology faculty and director of the diagnostic microbiology lab at the University of Missouri in Columbia, devised the world’s first automated laboratory system, putting medical informatics on the map and fundamentally changing the practice of medicine. His reputation in the burgeoning field spread like wildfire. In 1984, he brought his medical and informatics know-how to Washington as director of the National Library of Medicine and managed, in his close to two decades at the helm, to oversee the library’s transformation from a distinguished, albeit dusty, repository of medical books and papers to a cutting-edge electronic clearinghouse of biomedical knowledge.
— Fall 1998 issue

A Surgeon in Space:
Story Musgrave’64

Best known to the general public as payload commander and lead repairman on STS-61, the first Hubble Space Telescope servicing and repair mission in 1993 (a stunningly successful effort that helped reveal distant reaches of the universe never before visible to the human eye), Story Musgrave flew all five space shuttles: Challenger in 1983 and 1985, Discovery in 1989, Atlantis in 1991, Endeavour in 1993, and Columbia in 1996. A mathematician and engineer by training, he was a member of the team that designed and developed the Skylab Program, America’s first space station, as well as various parts of the space shuttle program, including the space suit. Ted Koppel of ABC “Nightline,” who interviewed him live from space during the Hubble repair mission, asked Dr. Musgrave if the effort was worth the time and risk. His eloquent reply made history: “We have no choice, sir. It’s the nature of humanity. ... And maybe I’m not just a human up here, you know, now life is leaping off the planet. It’s heading for other parts of the solar system, other parts of the universe. ... It isn’t simply politics. It isn’t simply technology. ... You could look at it as maybe the essence of life.”
— Fall 1997 issue

Leading by Listening:
Keith Brodie’65
A leader, according to Keith Brodie, president emeritus of Duke University, is “someone who takes people where they might not have thought they wanted to go or might not have thought they had the capacity to go. But, of course, they’re very happy when they get there.” Having shepherded Duke through a formative decade, first as chancellor, from 1982 to 1985, and then as president, from 1985 to 1993, Dr. Brodie helped reshape the school’s reputation from respectable regional contender to national front-runner and one of the country’s top research institutions. Among other notable achievements, he doubled Duke’s endowment, substantially increased the level of corporate giving, promoted interdisciplinary research, and helped boost the applicant pool.
— Winter 1998 issue

The Master of the Medical Thriller:
Robin B. Cook’66
The author of “Coma,” “Harmful Intent,” “Blindsight,” and other widely read medical thrillers (a genre he helped launch), Robin Cook has written novels read around the world. Firmly believing that entertaining books can be a powerful educational tool, he sees his novels as an effective form of preventive medicine. “Instead of having a Rolodex in my office with hundreds of patients,” says the surgeon and ophthalmologist-turned best-selling author, “I’m dealing with millions of prospective patients.” Who can ever forget the nightmare image of comatose bodies hanging from wires, waiting to be “farmed” for fresh organs in “Coma” (later made into a hit movie) that first sent tremors down the spines of the reading public and subsequently made him famous? As in all of his books, the ethical issues underlying the plot are viscerally imprinted on our hearts and minds.
— Spring 1992 issue

Nobel Helmsman of the NIH and Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Columbia Trustee:
Harold Varmus’66
Harold Varmus, the Nobel Prize-winning bench scientist-turned biomedical administrator, has covered more territory than most of us can dream of in the course of a single career. Now president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the former director of the National Institutes of Health (1993-1999), was named a Columbia University trustee in 2002.
At his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing to head the NIH, Dr. Varmus admitted that his preparation for the job had been unusual. That preparation included pioneering collaborative work with J. Michael Bishop on retroviruses at the University of California, San Francisco, in the early ‘70s, demonstrating that cancer genes (oncogenes) can evolve from normal cellular genes, called proto-oncogenes, the discovery that earned them the 1989 Nobel Prize. The implications of those findings not only overturned the previously held oncogene hypothesis of cancer causation, but also led to the discovery of a cluster of some 40 genes crucial to normal cellular functioning, which established a common causal pathway for cancer and offered a way to plug into the circuitry of the cell. At the NIH, he helped reinvigorate the intramural and extramural research programs and boosted the budget from under $11 billion to almost $18 billion. And thereafter, like Paul Marks’49, his distinguished predecessor at the helm of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, he has fueled his administrative style with scientific know-how and the thrill of discovery. “When the history of this age is written,” he says, “we’ll see that the 20th century was the century of Picasso, of course, but also of the atom, the computer, and the gene. And we’re in the phase of the gene right now. It’s riveting, I can tell you!”
— Fall 1994 issue

Former Assistant Secretary for Health, a Doctor First and Foremost:
Eve Slater’71
Officially confirmed on Jan. 25, 2002, though she put in time well before that, Eve Slater hit the ground running as Assistant U.S. Secretary for Health and helmswoman of the Office of Public Health and Science. At 9 a.m. sharp, on the first day she reported to work, the telephone rang and the first report came through of a postal worker admitted to the Washington Hospital Center with anthrax infection. And while the nation was shaken to the core and is still suffering the ramifications of 9/11, the anthrax attacks, and the protracted war on terror, Dr. Slater took some solace in the “rekindled interest in public health.” Her career path has bridged academic medicine, government, and industry. In 1976, she became the first woman chief resident in medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She subsequently served there as chief of the hypertension unit and joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Her next stop was Merck & Co., where she rose to the rank of senior vice president of Merck Research Laboratories (the first woman to attain this rank in the company), spearheading the rapid approval of Crixivan to treat HIV infection, among other revolutionary drugs. A strong advocate of the inclusion of health policy in the medical school curriculum, as Assistant Secretary for Health she launched the Best Practice Initiative, an ongoing effort to establish and address key factors, including substance abuse and tobacco abuse, that affect the health of the American family. She also championed the creation of electronic medical records for the general public. She resigned from the position in 2003.
— Spring 2003 issue

Scientific Wunderkind of Biotech Makes Proteins Do the Right Thing:
George D. Yancopoulos’86 Ph.D./’87 M.D.
PHOTO CREDIT: GEORGE YANCOPOULOS BY PETER WORTSMAN
George Yancopoulos, president of Regeneron Research Laboratories and chief scientific officer and founding scientist of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a cutting edge biotechnology firm committed to science-based discovery, straddles the divide between academe and industry on an intellectual footbridge of his own devising. The physician-scientist whose lab first shed light on one of biomedical science’s holy grails, the nerve-muscle interface, and the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers in multiple fields, Dr. Yancopoulos has leapfrogged freely between disciplines and domains. Listed in a 1997 survey of the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the 11 most highly cited scientists in the world, he and his scientific team at Regeneron are doggedly engaged in the study of disease situations in which the body needs to fight off or make more of various endogenous proteins. Their goal is the manipulation of these proteins to develop and produce effective therapeutic agents. Among the agents closest to making a splash is Axokine, a drug to regulate obesity, which appears to outperform by far any other agent on the market. Other agents developed by Dr. Yancopoulos include cytokine antagonists or Traps that hold great promise for the regulation of such immunologic disorders as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
— Winter 2002 issue

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