Eunice G. John (2019)

 

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our colleague and friend, Dr. Eunice John. Dr. John retired as Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine after serving UIC residents and patients for 42 years.

Dr. John, who was chief of pediatric nephrology and medical director of pediatric transplant at UI Health, was a revered leader in kidney transplant innovations and outcomes. She was the first Chicago physician to start long-term peritoneal dialysis and to use the double lumen catheter of hemodialysis in children in the early 1980s. In 2002, Dr. John performed the first pediatric living-donor bowel transplant in partnership with Dr. Enrico Benedetti, the Warren H. Cole Chair of Surgery. The patient, who is now in his 20s, is the longest living recipient of this type of surgery.

Dr. John was a graduate of Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. She completed a residency at Tulane University and a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at the Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for 16 years.

She had an impressive record of scholarly activity, with more than 100 publications on her CV. She obtained such funding as CkID and NIH grants, and she was sought after throughout the world as an invited speaker. But she would want the emphasis to be on the ways that she furthered her area of study by helping others to succeed. Dr. John created a lasting impact through her tireless work with patients and young physicians. She was deeply committed to community service, spearheading a wide range of programs for children and families both local and abroad. As a testament to her excellence, she received 15 teaching and mentoring awards, more than 15 service awards, and 5 patient care awards from UI Health.

Dr. John had a compassionate approach to all aspects of her profession, and she was a remarkably generous person. She was devoted to her family members, particularly her late sister (Iris P. Samuel) and her children (Smitha and Suneeth Samuel). Arrangements have been made with Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home at 6150 North Cicero Avenue in Chicago: funeral service on Saturday, June 8, at 11 am; and visitation on Friday, June 7, from 3 to 8 pm. Internment will be in the Bohemian National Cemetery. For the obituary and details, please visit the Smith-Corcoran website. The Department of Pediatrics will have a memorial grand rounds in Dr. John’s honor on September 20, 2019.

It was an incredible privilege to work alongside Dr. John. She will be forever remembered as an extraordinary clinician, educator, leader, and human being with unparalleled devotion and kindness.

Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD,
MPH Professor and Head, Department of Pediatrics

Robert O. Hickman, MD (2019)


Robert Othello Hickman
passed peacefully from natural causes on April 4, 2019. He was born in Monticello, Utah on September 27, 1926, the youngest of five children of Othello and Mary Helen Bunker Hickman. He was reared and educated in Logan, Utah, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1945 to 1946, followed by an LDS Mission to France from 1947 to 1949. He married Lucy Jean Whitesides on August 18, 1950. After receiving a degree in anatomy from the University of Utah, Bob headed east to obtain his medical degree from the University of Maryland. He completed an internship with the University of Utah in pediatrics at County General Hospital in Salt Lake City, followed by residency training in pediatrics at the University of Washington from 1958 to 1960. During his residency he joined with Dr. Belding Scribner and, under his tutelage, was involved in placing the first child in the world on both long-term hemodialysis and home hemodialysis.

Bob is most well known in the medical world for the part he played in developing the Hickman catheter, used widely with cancer patients to deliver intravenous nutrition and chemotherapy as well as for blood draws. It was a godsend to the patients and the nurses caring for them. His efforts were recognized by UW Medicine in 2011 when he received its Legacy Inventor Award. But, he will be most remembered by his colleagues for being kind and compassionate, and by his patients for his singular devotion to them, especially the children. For his contributions to medicine and his dedication to both his colleagues and patients, he was selected to receive the University of Maryland Medical Alumni Association’s Honor Award and Gold Key in 2007, awarded for outstanding medical accomplishment and distinguished service to mankind.

Along with his professional pursuits, Bob will be remembered for his faithful service as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his tenure as Bishop, Stake President, Patriarch, Temple Sealer, and Mission President in both Haiti and North Carolina, he led by example, more than words, and did all he could to support and encourage those within his influence in their spiritual journey.

When he wasn’t working, or serving in church, Bob loved to ski. He instilled that love in his children at an early age and used his passion for the sport as a way to bring his children and grandchildren together for fun and memorable family gatherings year after year. He doted on his grandchildren and took great pride in their accomplishments.

Paul T. McEnery, MD (2019)

 

Paul T. McEnery, MD, MBA, Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, passed away on March 28, 2019 at home after a long battle with heart failure.

After completing a pediatric residency and nephrology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), Paul became the second nephrology faculty in 1970, joining Dr. Clark West in launching one of the most successful programs in pediatric nephrology

During his illustrious career, Paul made numerous unique contributions to CCHMC including introducing the percutaneous renal biopsy technique in 1969 and starting the dedicated pediatric dialysis unit in 1972. This unit was one of the very first in the nation that included hemodialysis and home training for peritoneal dialysis for children. He was also the Director of the Nephrology Clinical Laboratory for several years, and oversaw the development of complement assays that are still in use today. He pioneered and directed the Kidney Transplantation program, which grew into one of the busiest in the country. In addition, Paul was very active in many hospital committees, the Cincinnati Pediatric Society, the American Society for Pediatric Nephrology, and International Pediatric Nephrology Association. He served as the President of the American Society for Pediatric Nephrology in 1983. To advance his administrative skills he obtained an MBA from Xavier University in 1989. He authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, including game-changing works in membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndromes, and chronic kidney diseases that are still taught to trainees today.

Always the quintessential gentleman, Paul will be deeply missed by his wife Charlotte, his daughters, Christina Dumont MD, Jennifer Finn and Emily Moriarty, his many friends, colleagues and patients.

Submitted by Prasad Devarajan.

John K. Orak, MD (2019)

On Sunday, February 17, 2019, Dr. John K. Orak, loving husband and caring father of four, passed away at the age of 67. John grew up in Linden, New Jersey and attended St. Peter’s College. His father was a firefighter and his mother was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia. In fact, John spoke Slovak before English.

He graduated from The George Washington University’s School of Medicine in 1977 and completed his post-doctoral work at Shands Teaching Hospital at the University of Florida in 1983. He established the pediatric nephrology program at the Medical University of South Carolina. For 30 years, John devoted his life to caring for his young patients as a pediatric nephrologist at MUSC and Dialysis Clinic Inc. He flew all of the state as the only pediatric nephrologist to care for the children of SC. John Orak was a committed physician who embodied service above self with a heartfelt compassion that made him beloved by his patients.

For anyone lucky enough to meet him, there was never any doubt in the depth of love this man felt for his patients and his family. He was absolutely a unique and brilliant person – on the one hand, a renaissance man who would expertly expound on music, film, religion/philosophy, sailing, the economy, politics – seemingly endless topics. On the other hand, he was a true “salt of the earth” rebel who with his trademark loud and colorful language never hesitated to question authority or bureaucracy. He never shied from denouncing hypocrisy, selfishness or self-righteousness. John had zero pretenses – he was simply all there.

In the early days of his career he often came to round in our PICU with a musical instrument in hand extemporaneously composing songs for the patients and staff. He was truly a people person – a gifted extrovert who genuinely wanted to know and understand the personal history of everyone he met. His passion for caring was simply so encompassing and obvious that it was endearing.

John’s clinical acumen was remarkable – he could almost instantaneously distill enormous medical data into a diagnostic and therapeutic plan. You would be hard pressed to find a topic that John could not hold his own in a conversation with you. He mentored many students, residents and colleagues over the years. Dr. Coral Hanevold wrote, “After I left MUSC John loved to tell people and I QUOTE – “I taught her everything she knows” – and while some might take exception to that, it was in a sense true”.

John’s intense devotion to his family, patients and colleagues never seemed to waver and he shared his enthusiasm for life with all. Robert Holleman wrote “I remember spending a month with Dr. Orak at MUSC in 1991 as a second year resident and wondering if we were EVER going to get done with rounds because he was busy playing the piano and singing to the kids in the atrium! That month cemented my interest in nephrology.” For me, John was one of the main reasons I came back to MUSC as I was excited to work with my mentor from medical school. Even though he retired before I started, we shared many phone calls as he would call to check in on his patients and give me the ‘low down’ on what was going on in Charleston.

John is survived by Barbara (Zahner) Orak, his wife of 41 years; his four children, Jennifer Meyer and her husband Robert, John Orak and his wife Yolla, Jacqueline Orak, and Jessica Orak; his sister Deborah Orak; and his grandchildren Marisa, Benjamin, John, and James. A Funeral Mass was offered on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 11 o’clock a.m. in Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church at 56 Center Street, Folly Beach, SC. In lieu of flowers, donations to Camp Okawehna in John’s memory would be appreciated. Camp Okawehna is a weeklong summer camp for children with kidney disease. Camp Okawehna 1633 Church St., Suite 500 Nashville, TN 37203.

Colin Thomas White, MD (2018)

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Dr. Colin Thomas White, M.D.

Dr. Colin Thomas White, MD, Clinical Associate of Pediatrics and a pediatric nephrologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and BC Children’s Hospital, died on July 29, 2018 at the age of 50 years. Colin distinguished himself as a passionate and gifted medical educator and as a strong advocate for evidence-guided best clinical care for infants, children and youth with chronic kidney disease.  With humility and compassion he engaged with patients and their families and inter-professional care providers locally, nationally and internationally. His career was his life calling, to which he gave so very much and from which he derived immense personal joy. His personal work ethic was considered daunting by many. Throughout his professional journey, he earned the respect, admiration and fondness of the many whose lives were enriched through their relationship with him.

Colin was born in Scotland and grew up in New Brunswick, Canada where he also obtained a BSc degree in Science. After graduating from the University of Ottawa Medical School, he moved to London, Ontario and spent eight years in postgraduate training as an intern, resident and chief resident in pediatric medicine and as a pediatric nephrology subspecialty resident. It was here that he met his life partner, Catherine Fiona Macpherson. They even published a paper together on the anti-proteinuric effects of enalapril and losartan. He was recruited to UBC and BC Children’s Hospital in 2000 by Dr. Morrison Hurley, with whom he developed an important friendship.  After three more years of advanced clinical and research training, Colin became a member of the faculty and was promoted to Clinical Associate Professor in 2011.

In Vancouver Colin distinguished himself as a true master of teaching and learning in medicine, working closely with medical students, pediatric residents and nephrology subspecialty trainees. He had a special ability to bring any discussion back to basic principles, often leaping up to a white board to draw images and pathways that left lasting impression on all learners in the room, from medical students to senior faculty members. In his own words, he believed that this is what …allows the clinician to face the unknowns of day to day patient care. The time of day or night never mattered; if there were lessons to be learned from a patient’s care, he would take the time to teach any learners who were present. The weekly nephrology inpatient sit-down rounds became legendary, amongst the residents in particular, and earned the team the “best service of the year” award on more than one occasion.  They also selected him for the coveted Laura MacRae award as the best subspecialty resident in pediatrics (2002), the “Rookie-of-the-Year” award (2005), and the “Teacher of the Year” award (2009 and 2017).

In 2004, Colin assumed a leadership role for the dialysis program at BC Children’s Hospital. He was named the Program Director for the UBC subspecialty training program in Pediatric Nephrology in 2007.  In addition to guiding the training program through successful re-accreditation cycles, he was active at the national level as an OSCE examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He established meaningful and highly valued relationships with the seven Canadian subspecialty residents and 12 international clinical fellows with whom he worked closely as their teacher and mentor. His graduates, now dispersed across Canada and the world (Iowa, Australia, New Zealand, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia), created a network of pediatric nephrologists he continued to nourish long after their graduation.

Colin actively and passionately encouraged trainees to get involved in research and pediatric residents to consider a career in pediatric nephrology.  He introduced them to the Western Society of Pediatric Research (WSPR),that organizes the largest faculty mentored student and resident annual research meeting in the US. Its pinnacle meeting is held every January in Carmel, CA. His enthusiasm not only saw him actively involved as a WSPR member; he became a member of their Council, culminating with a term as President from 2012-13.

Colin’s involvement with undergraduate medical education at UBC was also remarkable throughout his career as a faculty member. During this period, UBC Medicine expanded, both by increasing student numbers and by adding three new campuses distributed across the province – in Victoria, Prince George and Kelowna. Colin ensured that new faculty from these distributed sites were recruited as course teachers right from the early days –an achievement for which he was lauded. For more than a decade he served as one of the “Block Chairs” and teachers, ensuring in particular that the sections on fluids, electrolytes and the genitourinary system were well taught. He especially enjoyed his introductory lectures on “Evidence-based Medicine” and working with year 4 students during the “Preparation for Clinical Practice” course. He assumed a significant role during the curriculum redevelopment project as UBC prepared to launch a completely revamped “spiral-style” medical school curriculum in 2015.  And no surprise, he was an active member of several committees, including the Medical Student Promotion Committee.

Throughout his career, working with patients and their families was always his priority and one from which he derived great pleasure.  And he was especially good at it! Though a very private individual, with his most complex patients with chronic kidney disease, he shared a level of empathy that most of us can only aspire to, for he had first-hand experience as a dialysis and kidney transplant patient. He was a true role model for providing interdisciplinary care, embracing the roles and expertise of all members of his team in order to provide optimal patient care. Colin led by example, dedicating the time that was needed with each and every family to ensure that they received all the information they required.  He used an honest and direct approach but never rushed the visits. He even incorporated his own psychosocial support on occasion, playfully connecting with a child using bubbles or using his dry humor with youth at the bedside.  In 2017 he was recognized in BC as the recipient of the Wilma Crockett Memorial Award, an award given annually to a renal care provider who has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of renal care in the province.

Being an outstanding clinician was never enough for Colin – he actively searched for innovations in care that found him actively participating with several provincial (BC Renal Agency), National (Canadian Society of Nephrology/CSN) and international (National Kidney Foundation/NKF, World Health Organization and the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology Editorial Board) professional organizations.   He was frequently sought after for his expertise in pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis (especially anemia management). He developed documents for peritonitis management at BC Children’s Hospital that were adopted by many other Canadian pediatric programs. He was invited to be a member of several working groups to develop clinical practice guidelines. These included the peritoneal dialysis section of the Taskforce on Canadian Dialysis Guidelines, the CSN Practice Committee on anemia in CKD, the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Committee on CKD staging and the NKF Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (DDOQI) Practice Committee on CKD. He was active as the BC site co-investigator for the NIH-funded Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Study, participating as a co-author for four of their publications.

It was always important to Colin that he seek published evidence to inform his clinical practice. He was the author of 50 peer-reviewed publications and also shared his expertise as an invited speaker at several annual nephrology scientific meetings and served on program committees. I think he would say that his involvement with the annual Fundamentals of Dialysis/Pediatric Dialysis Symposium over many years and his engagement with the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD) were some of the most rewarding of his career highlights. At the 17th ISPD Congress held in Vancouver in 2018, his professional contributions were formally recognized.

Colin was blessed with 25 amazing years with his best friend and life partner, Catherine Fiona Macpherson, RN, PhD. Colin was a passionate and gifted photographer, a devoted Habs fan, and an avid reader of science fiction. He had an eclectic taste in music and an appreciation of a fine single malt scotch. Colin will be missed, but remembered with fond memories, by his many friends and colleagues. It is befitting to end with a quote from a Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, that Colin cited in his acceptance address for the Teaching Award that he received from the UBC pediatric residents in 2017, as a call to learners, including ourselves, to dare to try something different, if not a bit daring:
…. Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.