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In This Issue:
1906-2004The Passing of a Legend
On June 26th, the BWH community lost one of its most renowned leaders — George Widmer Thorn, MD, former physician-in-chief of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (PBB) and Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine and the Samuel A. Levine Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
A world-renowned expert in endocrinology, Dr. Thorn was named physician-in-chief of the PBB in 1942, a position he held for thirty years. Under his leadership, PBB clinicians broke new ground in life-saving advances including use of the first artificial kidney dialysis machine and the first successful human organ transplant.
Under his leadership, the PBB expanded its laboratory facilities and added a coronary care unit and new community clinics. He was a driving force behind the establishment of a rich research culture that spawned many life-saving discoveries, especially in the areas of renal disease, metabolic disorders and treatment of high blood pressure.
In 1953, Thorn co-founded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, today the nation’s largest private supporter of biomedical research and science education. As a lasting testament to his exceptional professional achievements and commitment to excellence, the Thorn Center for Endocrine Disorders and the Thorn Research Building at BWH were both named in his honor. They continue to uphold his legacy by nurturing the next generation of scientists and “bench to bedside” discovery.
“Dr. Thorn was a true medical visionary who challenged his peers to push the envelope of research to the everlasting benefit of all mankind. Today at BWH we remain guided and inspired by his pioneering path and extraordinary talent,” said Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, BWH president.
“Dr. Thorn was one of the great leaders of American medicine,” said Joseph B. Martin, MD, PhD, dean of HMS. “He was the quintessential clinician, investigator and academic leader. Harvard Medical School benefited enormously from his sustained leadership over many decades.”