Harold Michael Dick, M.D.
1933 - 2011
Harold Michael Dick, M.D., 77, of Vero Beach, Fla., died May 9, 2011, at his home. He chaired the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at P&S from 1984 to 1998, retiring from Columbia in 2001 as the Frank E. Stinchfield Professor Emeritus of Orthopedic Surgery. He was appointed to the P&S faculty in 1969.
He attended Princeton University and NYU’s medical school. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Columbia, where he served as chief resident. He completed a fellowship in hand surgery at Columbia and a fellowship in bone tumors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
During his tenure as chair, he enhanced and expanded the teaching, research, and clinical care programs at P&S and Presbyterian Hospital, establishing the Center for Orthopedic Research, the Trauma Training Center, the Microsurgery Training Center, the Sports Medicine Center, and the Anne Youle Stein Center for Orthopedic Research. He also worked to expand the number of clinical and research training fellowships and to ensure the inclusion of women and minorities at every level of the orthopedic surgery training program.
Dr. Dick worked tirelessly to develop and strengthen the orthopedic surgery curriculum, both at Columbia and at the national level. He served as president of the Academic Orthopaedic Society, the American Orthopaedic Association, and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
He investigated and treated adult and pediatric bone tumors using innovative surgical techniques to help preserve limbs in children with bone cancer. Collaborating with other orthopedic surgeons both within Columbia and nationally, he helped pioneer techniques in limb salvage for cancer patients, including allograft, autograft, fibular transplant, and limb lengthening.
As teacher and mentor, Dr. Dick inspired the young surgeons who trained with him, many of whom went on to seek careers in academic medicine. As surgeon and physician, he provided not only excellent surgical technique, but compassion and caring for his patience. His special rapport with pediatric patients was a particular comfort, both to children and their families.
Although illness shadowed him from a young age, he never allowed it to limit his horizons or his enthusiasm. He loved athletics and had a special passion for sailing. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Above all, his life was devoted to teaching, healing, and helping others.
Dr. Dick’s family has asked that contributions as a memorial be made to Columbia Orthopedics.
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Joyce Anne Geller of Vero Beach, Fla.; one daughter, Victoria Leigh (Derek) Schnure of Ridgewood, N.J.; and three grandchildren.