In Memoriam

Remembering the faculty and alumni of
Columbia University's College of
Physicians & Surgeons


Faculty

Drs. Weiss and Rosenfield
Drs. Weiss and Rosenfield

Public Health Deans: Allan Rosenfield and Robert J. Weiss
Columbia lost two former public health deans in the fall of 2008. Both made significant contributions to their fields, to P&S (they both were faculty members in P&S too), and to public health’s rise at Columbia. Both were P&S graduates and both traveled interesting paths to the public health dean’s job. More about both Allan Rosenfield’59 and Robert Weiss’51 can be found in the Alumni In Memoriam section.

Allan Rosenfield, M.D., dean emeritus of the Mailman School of Public Health, the DeLamar Professor Emeritus of Public Health Practice, professor of population and family health, and P&S professor of obstetrics and gynecology, died Oct. 12, 2008, after being diagnosed in late 2005 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
    Dr. Rosenfield served as dean of the Mailman School for 22 years, he was on the faculty of the medical school and public health school for 33 years, he contributed significantly to the evolution of public health from a small program in the medical school into a full-fledged school of public health, and he raised the stature of Columbia’s public health education, research, and outreach to the top of national standings.
    As dean of Mailman for 22 years, and as an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Rosenfield was renowned for his work on women’s reproductive health and human rights, innovative family planning studies, strategies to address maternal deaths in poor countries, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, both domestically and globally.
    His broad vision to improve women’s health included groundbreaking work in areas such as training non-medical personnel to prescribe contraceptives; averting maternal mortality and morbidity from pregnancy-related complications; and care and treatment for HIV-infected women and children in resource-limited settings globally.
    After working with underserved populations in South Korea during his time in the Air Force, he sought out work abroad. Teaching at a new medical school in Nigeria and assignments in other parts of Africa and Thailand laid the groundwork for his lifetime commitment to global public health. He returned to New York to work with the Population Council, joining Columbia in 1975 to found a Center for Population and Family Health and head ambulatory services in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at P&S. He served as acting chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for two years before becoming public health dean.
    He led the school (renamed the Mailman School of Public Health in 1998) to new heights and was the longest-serving dean of any school of public health in the nation. Public health started as a program in the medical school, but Dr. Rosenfield helped the program become a full-fledged Faculty of Public Health with a world-class reputation for educating public health professionals, providing access to care where it was needed, raising awareness of AIDS (including mother-to-child transmission of HIV) in the developing world, leading the conversation on the post-9/11 public health infrastructure, and promoting reproductive health and empowerment of women to control their own bodies.
    Dr. Rosenfield’s leadership also physically unified most of Columbia’s public health programs under one roof when the school moved into the building formerly occupied by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and since renamed by the Columbia Trustees as the Allan Rosenfield Building.

Robert J. Weiss, M.D., a member of the P&S psychiatry faculty from 1975 until his retirement in 1986, died Sept. 30, 2008. He became dean of public health in 1980.
    As a fourth-year medical student, he contracted tuberculosis from a patient and spent his internship year in the doctor’s ward at Bellevue Hospital. The experience led him to change his career plans from academic internal medicine to psychiatry.
    He completed his residency in psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the former Presbyterian Hospital. In 1959, he became founding chairman of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School.
    In 1970, he joined Harvard Medical School as associate dean for health care planning and associate director of the Center for Community Health and Medical Care.
    Dr. Weiss returned to P&S in 1975 as director of the Center for Community Health and professor of psychiatry and social medicine. Dr. Weiss was named dean of the School of Public Health and the DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice in 1980. As dean, he is credited with providing strong, innovative, and compassionate leadership. He shaped a long-term academic and space plan for the school and established an evening and summer curriculum to allow practicing professionals to pursue public health studies. He developed programs to study international health problems, created a new emphasis on the geriatric population, and encouraged the development of a program in public health nutrition. He retired in 1986.   

I. Bernard Weinstein
I. Bernard Weinstein

I. Bernard Weinstein, director emeritus of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, died Nov. 3, 2008. He was the Frode Jensen Professor of Medicine, professor of genetics & development, and also professor of environmental health sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health.
    He was recruited to P&S in 1961 and dedicated his career to teaching and research. He was recognized for his contributions to understanding the molecular mechanisms of multistage carcinogenesis and their relevance to novel strategies for cancer prevention and therapy. He published more than 600 scientific publications. A founder of the field of molecular epidemiology, a new approach to discovering the causes of specific human cancers, his more recent concept of “oncogene addiction” provides a rationale for molecular targeting in cancer therapy. In addition to his outstanding research accomplishments, he was a mentor to a large number of investigators now working in cancer research around the world.
    Dr. Weinstein led the cancer center from 1985 to 1995. Under his leadership the center developed world-class programs in basic cancer research, clinical research, and cancer prevention.
    He served as president of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s largest basic and clinical cancer research organization. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Association of American Physicians. He also was a fellow of the National Foundation for Cancer Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Other Faculty Deaths
Irving O. Abrahams, M.D., retired associate clinical professor of dermatology, died Aug. 19, 2008.
Alvin Mesnikoff, M.D., a member of the faculty of the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, died Oct. 12, 2008.
Richard A. Walzer, M.D., retired associate clinical professor of dermatology, died Aug. 4, 2008. See more in In Memoriam, Class of 1956.


Alumni

Class of 1935
Word has been received of the passing of Simon Duckman, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, date unknown. Dr. Duckman was a former director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and member of the clinical faculties at NYU and SUNY Downstate. He was the author of more than 25 published articles in his field. His father, Moses Duckman, was a member of the P&S Class of 1897. Dr. Duckman served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. In retirement he found solace and joy in playing tennis and jazz piano. He is survived by his wife, Helen, a daughter, two sons, and four grandchildren.

Class of 1939
Henry D. Janowitz, a past president of the American Gastroenterologic Association, died Aug. 19, 2008. A distinguished academic gastroenterologist, Dr. Janowitz was the first to document the stimulating effect of secretin on the electrolytes of the bile and the direct damaging effect of alcohol on the pancreas. He was the author of the classic text, “Pancreatic Inflammatory Disease,” and more than 300 scientific papers. Dr. Janowitz established the first Division of Gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where he spent the greater part of his academic career. The division now bears his name. Also an expert on inflammatory bowel disease, Dr. Janowitz was the founder and first chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis. He was the 2002 recipient of the Gold Medal for Excellence of the P&S Alumni Association. Preceded in death by his wife, Adeline, survivors include two daughters and two grandchildren.

Oscar D. Ratnoff'39
Oscar D. Ratnoff'39
Oscar Ratnoff, a legendary researcher in the field of hematology, died May 20, 2008. An early paper on which he collaborated with Arthur Patek, “Natural History of Laennec’s Cirrhosis of the Liver: An Analysis of 386 Cases,” was recognized as an authoritative work in the field almost immediately upon its publication in 1942 in the journal Medicine. Dr. Ratnoff served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during and immediately after World War II, first as an instructor in aviation physiology then as a clinician in an army hospital. Upon returning to civilian life he joined the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, authoring a series of nine papers on proteolytic enzymes in human plasma. One of these papers, on which he collaborated with C. Lockard Conley’40 and Robert Hartmann, offered evidence for a clot-promoting activity in a crude euglobulin fraction of plasma that could not be explained by any clotting factor then known. It became known as the “Hageman factor.” He later moved to Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, where he was named professor of medicine in 1961 and where he served as director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. The recipient in 1988 of the coveted Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, he was honored for his “massive contribution to biology and medicine.” As interim chairman of the Department of Medicine at Case Western, Dr. Ratnoff was involved in curricular reform. His honors included memberships in the National Academy of Sciences and the Society of Scholars of John Hopkins University, mastership in the American College of Physicians, an honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen College of Physicians, honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and the 1999 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievements in Medicine of the P&S Alumni Association. Perhaps most amazing of all, he always made it home for dinner. Survivors include his wife, Marian, a daughter, a son, and five grandchildren.

Class of 1941

Jack Docter’41
Jack Docter’41
Jack M. Docter, a retired pediatrician, died June 4, 2008. In 1959 he left his private medical practice to become medical director at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle, Wash. He was instrumental in establishing the hospital’s affiliation with the University of Washington Medical School, where he was a member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and later served as an associate dean. An avid skier in his free time, he was a member of the University of Washington ski team and was among the founders of the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. He is survived by his wife, Marion, a daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren.
Herbert H. Pomerance’41
Herbert H. Pomerance’41

Herbert H. Pomerance, a distinguished pediatrician and teacher, died Feb. 6, 2007. Dr. Pomerance served as a medical officer in the U.S. Army during World War II, then had a private pediatric practice in Queens, N.Y., for 22 years. He was founding chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at West Virginia University College of Medicine in Charleston, W.Va., and served on the academic standards committee for the school, where he later created the Pomerance Pediatric Library Fund and endowed a Pediatrics Award in his name. Following mandatory retirement, he moved to Tampa and joined the faculty at the University of South Florida as professor of pediatrics. He was author of a widely used textbook, “Growth Standards in Children,” and editor of the Florida Pediatrician. He also wrote a regular column, “Your Child’s Health,” for the Tampa Tribune and frequently appeared on television. Surviving him are two sons, one of whom, Glenn N. Pomerance’74, is an ophthalmologist, and three grandchildren.

Class of 1943D
Retired general surgeon Vann T. Floyd died of kidney failure May 30, 2007. Following many years of private surgical practice in Boise, Idaho, he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where he continued to practice until his retirement in 1984. He served as medical director and senior vice president for medical affairs at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Albuquerque for 10 years. Dr. Floyd served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. He was the recipient of the A.H. Robbins Community Service Award of the New Mexico Medical Society. Dr. Floyd was a past president of the Bernalillo County Medical Association and the New Mexico Medical Association. He was active in the community and served as president of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque. Survivors include his wife, Mary (a graduate of the Columbia School of Nursing), two daughters, and two sons.
Edward F. Scanlon, a former president of the American Cancer Society and professor emeritus of surgery at Northwestern University Medical Center, died Aug. 5, 2008. He was 89. Dr. Scanlon had been affiliated with Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Ill., where he served as chief of surgery. He also was involved in the development of Glenbrook Hospital as a satellite of Evanston Hospital and in the creation of the first community hospital cancer center devoted exclusively to the complete care of cancer in a multi-disciplinary approach. Trained as a pilot, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the last years of World War II. Dr. Scanlon received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from his undergraduate alma mater, Kenyon College. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Class of 1944
William H. Thomas, a retired cardiologist, died Sept. 21, 2008, 10 days after suffering a stroke. A former member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Thomas was a past president of the San Francisco and California heart associations. He was preceded in death by his wife, Farrell, and a daughter. Survivors include a son and two grandchildren.

Class of 1947

Vance Lauderdale’47
Vance Lauderdale’47
Vance Lauderdale died July 8, 2008. A retired anesthesiologist on the faculty of Columbia’s Department of Anesthesiology for many years, Dr. Lauderdale served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army based in Korea and Japan. He was a past chairman of the board of the New York County Medical Society. He was a loyal alumnus. Dr. Lauderdale is survived by his wife, Edith, four sons, and four grandchildren.
Daniel S. Lukas’47
Daniel S. Lukas’47
Daniel S. Lukas, a former member of the Department of Medicine faculty at Cornell, where he was director of the cardiopulmonary lab, died July 28, 2008. In 1971 he was named chief of the cardiopulmonary service at Memorial Hospital/Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He later taught on the faculties at Rutgers and Penn State. Dr. Lukas was known for research he conducted on instruments and procedures in cardiac catheterization. He served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Public Health Service. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter, and two sons.

Class of 1948
John F. Bradley, a retired internist, died June 26, 2008. Dr. Bradley had been affiliated with the Kaiser Foundation in Los Angeles. Survivors include a son.

Ralph Colp Jr.’48
Ralph Colp Jr.’48
Ralph Colp Jr., a psychiatrist and the author of “Darwin’s Illness,” died Oct. 11, 2008. A former member of the clinical psychiatry faculty at P&S, he was senior attending psychiatrist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. His late father, Ralph Colp Sr., graduated from P&S in 1917. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Charlotte Colp, two daughters, and three grandchildren.
Ron Herson’51
Ron Herson’51

Class of 1951
Ronald E. Herson, a retired radiologist, died Aug. 9, 2008, of late stage Parkinson’s disease. He had been affiliated with West Hills, Parkwood, and Motion Picture hospitals in the San Fernando Valley in southern California. Dr. Herson served in the U.S. Air Force. In his extra-medical life, Dr. Herson was a committed peace activist. Working with Project Hope in Jamaica, he headed up the residency program at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He was also a world traveler, scuba diver, mountain climber, and accomplished photographer. Survivors include his wife, Patricia, a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.

David B. Siebert’51
David B. Siebert’51
Retired general surgeon David Siebert died of congestive heart failure on June 10, 2008, at age 80. Studying under the V-12 Navy College Training Program, he later served as a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force, based in Germany from 1952-54. He is survived by his wife, Theresa Long Siebert’51, a retired internist, and a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.
Robert J. Weiss’51
Robert J. Weiss’51
Robert J. Weiss, founding chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and the first full-time dean of the Columbia School of Public Health, died Sept. 30, 2008. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, retiring with the rank of major. While in the army, he developed a new system for fire control for anti-aircraft batteries and produced a national radio program, “Weapons for Victory,” for the Office of Army Chief of Staff. The program was broadcast over the ABC network. Dr. Weiss pursued his residency in psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he received one of the first National Institute of Mental Health Career Teacher Trainee Awards. A pioneer in American academic psychiatry, he served as the first academic chief of psychiatry at the Mary Hitchcock Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. He is credited with helping train a generation of medical students in modern psychodynamic and molecular psychiatry. Dr. Weiss was the first psychiatrist to use interactive telemedicine to deliver care to rural areas in northern New England. His efforts to promote mental health throughout the state of New Hampshire made him aware of the importance of community and public health. Leaving Dartmouth he moved to Harvard Medical School, where he served as associate dean for health care planning and associate director of the Center for Community Health and Medical Care. In 1975, Dr. Weiss returned to Columbia as professor of psychiatry and social medicine and director of the Center for Community Health. In 1980, when Columbia University elected to transform public health from an academic department into a school of public health, he was chosen as dean and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice. He wrote numerous articles and edited two books for the lay readership, “The Columbia University Home Health Guide” and “Health After 50.” He was no less active in “retirement,” first serving as a health consultant to AT&T then founding a health consulting firm, Weiss, Baldacci & Fletcher, in Bangor, Maine. He also served as adjunct professor of arts and sciences at the University of Maine in Orono, where he advised the president on revamping the development program. A lectureship was established in his name at the Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Weiss was a recipient of the bicentennial medal of P&S. He was a loyal alumnus and staunch supporter of the medical school. He is survived by his wife, Minnie, a daughter and two sons (all three of them physicians), and four grandchildren.

Class of 1953
Robert H. Richie of Cambridge, Mass., died Jan. 30, 2005. Survivors include a daughter.

Class of 1956
Peter E. Barry, a retired rheumatologist, died July 5, 2008. Dr. Barry served with the U.S. Public Health Service, participating in the Framingham Heart Disease Epidemiology Study. A former member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, he was affiliated with the Robert B. Brigham Hospital in Boston. He is survived by his wife, Pamelia, a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.

Richard Walzer’56
Richard Walzer’56
Richard A. Walzer, a former member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Dermatology at P&S and a former attending physician at Presbyterian Hospital, died Aug. 4, 2008. In his retirement, Dr. Walzer volunteered for the American Cancer Society and during summers volunteered at York Hospital in Cape Neddick, Maine. He was the author of three books on dermatology for the lay public, notably “Healthy Skin.” In his free time he served as a member of the board of directors of the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. Dr. Walzer was a staunch supporter of P&S. Survivors include his wife, Joyce, two daughters, a son, and two grandchildren.

Class of 1957
Paul K. Mooring, a former professor of pediatrics and director of pediatric cardiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, died June 13, 2008, at age 83. Dr. Mooring served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps during World War II. For many years he contributed articles as an associate editor at MD Magazine. In his spare time he raised cattle in Fort Calhoun, Neb. He is survived by his wife, LaVon, and two daughters.

Class of 1959
Cornelius J. Clark, a retired psychiatrist, died of multiple myeloma on May 17, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two sons.
Allan G. Rosenfield’59
Allan G. Rosenfield’59
Allan G. Rosenfield, revered dean emeritus of the Mailman School of Public Health, died Oct. 12, 2008, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 75 and had boldly battled the crippling effects of the degenerative disease for three years, refusing to cede his spirit. Dr. Rosenfield was the longest serving dean of any school of public health in the nation.
    He was best known for building the Mailman School into one of the country’s most prominent schools of public health, a major institutional player in the age of AIDS and the post-9/11 era. But to the international public health community, he was first and foremost the man who put the neglected M back into MCH (Maternal Child Health) and reminded the world of the forgotten M in MTCT (Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV). For more than half a century he fought for the cause of reproductive health and the empowerment of women to control their own bodies. Educated at Harvard College, he entered P&S intending to follow in the footsteps, and eventually inherit the practice, of his father, Dr. Harold Rosenfield, a respected Boston obstetrician/gynecologist. But the Korean Conflict intervened, and shortly after earning his M.D., young Dr. Rosenfield was drafted and served as director of hospital services at a U.S. Air Force hospital in Osan, Korea. Volunteering after-hours at a local civilian hospital, he got his first taste of medicine in the developing world. Returning to the States to complete his OB/GYN residency at the Boston Hospital for Women, a Harvard affiliate, he decided, with the consent of his bride-to-be, Clare, to postpone his practice and accept an offer to teach OB/GYN at the University of Lagos Medical School in Nigeria. Accustomed to the care available in major medical centers in urban America, he was shocked in Nigeria by the limited access, particularly in rural areas, to maternity care and family planning services and the resultant staggering number of deaths of women in childbirth. Rather than return to Boston, he took another “temporary” postponement to work with the Population Council in Thailand as an adviser to the Thai Ministry of Public Health. A one-year leave turned into a six-year commitment. Dr. Rosenfield helped the Ministry develop a national family planning program. Assessing the scarcity of obstetrician/gynecologists outside the cities and the under-utilization of auxiliary midwives, he took the bold step of recommending that midwives provide prenatal and intrapartum care. In addition, he suggested that midwives be educated and licensed to prescribe oral contraceptives. His recommendations were accepted and, as a direct consequence, millions of Thai women and their families have lived healthier lives. Dr. Rosenfield was hooked on public health. In 1975 he returned to Columbia to accept a joint appointment as professor of ob/gyn and professor of public health and to take on the reins of the newly named Center for Population and Family Health. In 1977 he helped create the Young Adult Clinic, the first evening family planning and reproductive health clinic for adolescent girls in the neighborhood. He subsequently opened another clinic for teenage boys and innovative school-based clinics in intermediate and high schools. These programs, still thriving today, have served as statewide prototypes. Dr. Rosenfield helped revitalize the health of the neighborhood, also raising funds to build an ambulatory care facility and, in the process, helped make the medical center more responsive to community needs. In 1986, Dr. Rosenfield became dean of the School of Public Health and he proceeded, over the course of two decades, to revolutionize the school’s administrative structure and institutional mission, expanding the budget from $12 million to $161 million and bolstering its endowment from $2 million to $86 million. Dean Rosenfield made Columbia a top place to study public health and help change the world for the better. In addition to his wife, Clare, survivors include a son, Paul Rosenfield’96, a daughter, and five grandchildren.

Class of 1962
Robert R. Pascal, a professor and vice chairman of pathology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, died April 17, 2008. He was a recipient of the Residents Teaching Prize at Emory. Survivors include his wife, Felicia, and two daughters.


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