Students

David Huang’05
Just weeks before he was to begin his third year at P&S, David Ta-Keng Huang died in a diving accident June 11, 2003, while vacationing with fellow P&S students in Utah. A memorial service was held at P&S June 23.
Mr. Huang, a native of Taiwan, moved to Vancouver at age 14 with his family. He graduated from high school as valedictorian and excelled at rugby in Canada, in college at Princeton, and at P&S. He majored in molecular biology at Princeton, where he received his B.A. degree in 1999.
Monjri Shah’05 wrote a letter to her classmate after his death and read it at his memorial service. Part of the letter talked about his “uncanny sensitivity.” “I was having a particularly bad day. I didn’t think anyone noticed, and all I wanted to do was get back to my apartment. I passed you in the Tower 2 lobby, and we exchanged hellos. Something in my tone must have told you something, because you backtracked and said, ‘You need a hug.’ And you gave me a great big bear hug. I hope you knew that my day was a thousand times better for that.”

Faculty

Marie-Louise Franciscus
Marie-Louise Franciscus, professor emeritus of occupational therapy and director of the program from 1952 until her retirement in 1981, died April 9, 2003, after a car accident. She joined the P&S faculty in 1947 as associate director of the occupational therapy program. During her time as director of occupational therapy she expanded the program to include several master’s degree programs.



Vincent Freda, M.D.
Dr. Vincent Freda, clinical professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, died May 7, 2003. He graduated from Columbia College and attended NYU’s medical school. Following an internship at Bellevue Hospital and residency at Presbyterian Hospital, he joined the P&S faculty in 1960. Dr. Freda’s distinguished career included codevelopment of RhoGAM, an antibody that allows women who have Rh-negative blood to deliver healthy babies. Dr. Freda introduced amniocentesis into the United States in 1959 for the spectrophotometric scanning of amniotic fluid in cases of Rh incompatibility. In 1964 Dr. Freda was the first physician in the world to perform surgery on a fetus. He won the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 1980 for his contributions to the discovery of RhoGAM.

Robert Goldberger, M.D.
Dr. Robert Goldberger, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and former vice president for the health sciences, died April 5, 2003, from a stroke. After years as a researcher and administrator at the National Institutes of Health, he was appointed vice president for health sciences in 1981 then Columbia provost in 1983, positions he held until 1989. During his time at Columbia, he led efforts to build ties between biomedical research and the business world. He established the university’s science and technology development office and led the campaign for a research park that became the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park at the medical center.

Raffaele Lattes, M.D.
Dr. Raffaele Lattes, professor emeritus of pathology, died May 28, 2003. He was born and educated in Italy and came to the United States in 1940. He joined the P&S faculty in 1943 and received a doctor of medical science degree from Columbia in 1946. He was a prominent surgical pathologist and a mentor to many of today’s leaders in the field.

Paul Lo Gerfo, M.D.
Dr. Paul Lo Gerfo, the David V. Habif Professor of Surgery, died of malignant melanoma on Sept. 16, 2003. He joined the P&S faculty in 1973 and became one of the world’s leading thyroid and parathyroid surgeons. He was a graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Early in his career he developed the thyroglobulin assay, today one of the most commonly used methods for detecting recurrent thyroid cancer. He also pioneered a technique in thyroid and parathyroid surgery that uses local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. At Columbia he was director of the Endocrine-Thyroid Research Laboratory. At New York-Presbyterian Hospital, he was co-director of the New York Thyroid Center and chief of surgical specialties. He was co-author of “The Thyroid Guide,” a book published in 2000 for patients.

Jane Pitt, M.D.
Dr. Jane Pitt, professor of clinical pediatrics, died April 16, 2003. She headed the pediatric infectious disease division’s women’s and children’s care center, which provides evaluation and therapy for women and children with HIV. She joined the P&S faculty in 1971.

Daniel Sciarra, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Sciarra, professor of clinical neurology, died April 1, 2003. He had been a faculty member at the Neurological Institute since 1948. He founded the institute’s first fully funded clinical chair, the Sciarra Professorship in Clinical Neurology, in 1987 and established the Helen Sciarra Prize, awarded annually to a P&S student excelling in neurology. Dr. Sciarra received a Lifetime Award from the Department of Neurology in 1999 and was named Practitioner of the Year in 2001 by the Society of Practitioners.



Other Faculty Deaths
Jose Barchilon, M.D., lecturer in psychiatry, died
Aug. 6, 2003.

Alumni

Class of 1930
Long belated word has been received of the death of retired cardiologist HARRY L. JAFFE
on Aug. 10, 1993. Dr. Jaffe was a former member of the clinical faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and chief of the cardiac clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is survived by a daughter.

Class of 1932
The Alumni Office has learned of the death of WENDELL J. THOMPSON on Dec. 8, 1984. A retired surgeon and general practitioner from Ogden, Utah, Dr. Thompson delivered more than 3,000 babies and performed thousands of operations in the course of his long career. He was a past president of the Weber County Medical Society and the Ogden Surgical Society. Saluting the return of general family practice training programs after a long hiatus, Dr. Thompson prized the “personal contact with a physician who is both doctor and friend.” In the course of his career, he also served as Weber College physician and surgeon for the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. An impassioned gardener, his backyard comprised five acres of evergreens, Eastern flowering dogwood, dawn sequoia, fern grottos from Hawaii, and a Japanese tea house. He is survived by a daughter and five grandchildren.

Class of 1935
JOSEPH M. MILLER, former chief of surgery at Fort Howard VA Medical Center in Fort Howard, Md., died of arteriosclerosis Aug. 9, 2003, at age 92. He served as a combat surgeon during World War II, heading up a field hospital unit, first in Okinawa and then in Korea. A resident who trained under Dr. Miller described him as “a strict taskmaster but a very good teacher. He also taught me how to be compassionate and warm to people.” An innovator in many areas, Dr. Miller started the first intensive care unit at his hospital and also established the surgical residency program there. A member of the teaching staff at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., he was the author of some 562 published papers and a frequent contributor to newspapers on medical issues. Preceded in death by his wife, Mary Alice, he is survived by a daughter, three sons, and seven grandchildren.

Class of 1936
IRVING SOLOMON died Oct. 25, 2001. A former member of the clinical medical faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Solomon had pursued a solo private practice in Flushing, N.Y. He is survived by a daughter.

Class of 1944
JOHN K. MACGREGOR, a retired general and thoracic surgeon, died July 25, 2003. Dr. MacGregor practiced surgery for more than 40 years in rural Iowa. Among his most memorable post-medical school experiences, he listed humanitarian service aboard the S.S. Hope in Nicaragua and time spent on a Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona. A former member of the clinical faculty at the University of Iowa, he also served as liaison physician for Mercy Medical Center of North Iowa. Of his life in medicine he wrote, “It’s been a privileged life, and I’ve savored it all.” He is survived by his wife, Anne, two daughters, and three sons.

OAKLEY A. MELENDY of Augusta, Maine, died Feb. 2, 2003. A general surgeon, Dr. Melendy had been affiliated with Kennebec Valley Medical Center in Augusta. A past president of the Maine chapter of the American College of Surgeons, he won the Maine Senior Championship in golf and tennis in 1976. Survivors include his wife, Joan, two daughters, two sons, and two grandchildren.

Class of 1945
JOSEPH R. WILDER, a New York surgeon and respected artist (whose oil painting of a women’s Olympic relay race graced the cover of the Spring 1990 issue of P&S), died of cardiac arrest July 1, 2003, at age 82. Professor of surgery emeritus at Mount Sinai and former director of surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, Dr. Wilder divided his time in the prime of his career between wielding a scalpel in the morning and a paint brush at night. His split career began when one of his patients, the actor and sometime painter Zero Mostel, who had been hit by a bus and on whom Dr. Wilder performed several operations, advised him to start painting to relieve stress. Largely self-taught, Dr. Wilder soon began showing his work at galleries and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Three books of his paintings were published. He was especially known for his renditions of athletes and surgeons. Dr. Wilder ardently believed that health professionals had to expand their humanistic horizons and cultivate untapped talents. “Our modern civilization is obsessed with assigning us each a little peg and slot,” he once said at a conference on the humanities and medicine at the National Library of Medicine. “We must make every effort to stretch and reach out, to break away from the routines of our life and discover a new area in ourselves. We become richer, healthier, happier people for it and better health practitioners.” He is survived by his wife, Madeline, four daughters, two sons, and two grandchildren.

Class of 1947
LOUIS LASAGNA, whose rich and diverse professional career included stunning accomplishments in clinical trial methodology, analgesics, hypnotics, medical education, and medical ethics and placebos, died of lymphoma Aug. 7, 2003, at age 80. His 1954 paper on the placebo response — one of his more than 600 peer-reviewed published papers — was selected by the editors of the Lancet as one of the landmark medical papers of the 20th century. Another paper on controlled clinical trials is likewise considered a classic. His research helped put the discipline of clinical pharmacology on the map. Dr. Lasagna’s expertise included drug addiction, drug regulation, and so-called “drug lag,” or the inordinate time it takes for drug approval in the United States. He was also the author of three influential books on medical ethics: “The Doctors’ Dilemma,” “Life, Death, and the Doctor;” and “The VD Epidemic.” His celebrated and widely used modern re-write of the Hippocratic oath displayed his profound appreciation of medical ethics and the art of medicine. After serving more than a decade as a member of the pharmacology and experimental therapeutics faculty at Johns Hopkins, he moved to the University of Rochester, carving out a unique academic niche as professor of medicine and professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He then moved to Tufts University’s medical school as academic dean, professor of pharmacology, and acting chairman of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. In 1984, he was named dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. He played a leadership role in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and Medicine in the Public Interest. He also served the cause of science and his country as a member of the President’s Cancer Panel and chairman of the National Committee to Review Current Procedures for Approval of New Drugs for Cancer and AIDS. Two endowed chairs were established in his name (one in experimental therapeutics at the University of Rochester and one in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Tufts University). He received honorary degrees from Hahnemann Medical School (1980), Rutgers University (1983), and the University of Alcalá in Spain (1998). He also received the P&S Alumni Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievements in Medicine (2003). Dr. Lasagna is survived by his wife, Helen, four daughters, three sons, and grandchildren.

Class of 1953
JAMES H. TERRY, a retired surgical oncologist and former member of the clinical faculty at P&S and NYU, died Sept. 23, 2003. Dr. Terry had been attending surgeon and chief of head and neck surgery at the Woodhull Hospital and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn and was a past president of the New York Head and Neck Society. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1957. Survivors include his wife, Virginia, three daughters, a son, and seven grandchildren.

Class of 1954
JAMES H. FOSTER, a highly respected general surgeon, died June 17, 2003, of pancreatic cancer. The co-author of an influential textbook on surgery for liver cancer and author of more than 100 published papers in the field, he served as the first full-time director of surgery at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., where he helped found the first kidney transplant program. He later served as chairman of surgery at the John Dempsey Hospital of the University of Connecticut in Farmington. He served as director of surgical education there until his death. As part of his self-assigned teaching duties, he volunteered as a “patient instructor” to provide feedback to medical students in history-taking and diagnosis. An avid outdoorsman, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He and his second wife, Sara, who survives him, donated their five-acre home site in Avon, Conn., for use as a park He is also survived by two daughters and a son, two grandchildren, and five stepsons.

Class of 1957
DONALD M. TRAEGER, a retired internist and former member of the medical faculty at Stanford Medical School, died June 6, 2003. He is survived by his wife, Aileen, a son, a stepson, two stepdaughters, and six step-grandchildren. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1959 to 1961. Dr. Traeger specialized in the treatment and care of patients with infectious diseases.

Class of 1958
Belated word has been received of the death of radiologist JOSEPH KANTOR from a heart attack on March 2, 1995. Dr. Kantor had been affiliated with the Manhattan VA Hospital. He served with the Air Force Reserve. Survivors include his wife, Eileen, and two daughters.

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