|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 Americas 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 mankinds 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.
Trust Yourself, says the first chapter heading of the late Benjamin Spocks 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 Pool32 MSD40
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 Lawrence40
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. Griffin23, who became an ophthalmologist, and Vera Joseph36, 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. MacGuffie49
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 moments 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 Rwandas 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
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 nations 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, 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. Plimpton51 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? Its a very discouraging disease ... but you dont 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 Vagelos54
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 Americas most admired corporation in Fortunes 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 states public research universities.
Spring 1991 issue
A Digital Pioneer at the National Library of Medicine:
Fall 1997 issue
Leading by Listening:
Winter 1998 issue
The Master of the Medical Thriller:
Robin B. Cook66
Spring 1992 issue
Nobel Helmsman of the NIH and Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Columbia Trustee:
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 Marks49, 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, well see that the 20th century was the century of Picasso, of course, but also of the atom, the computer, and the gene. And were in the phase of the gene right now. Its riveting, I can tell you!
Fall 1994 issue
Former Assistant Secretary for Health, a Doctor First and Foremost:
Spring 2003 issue
Scientific Wunderkind of Biotech Makes Proteins Do the Right Thing:
George D. Yancopoulos86 Ph.D./87 M.D.
Winter 2002 issue