Dr. Susan E Thomas, M.D., former Associate Professor of Pediatrics, passed away in early April after a lifetime of managing Cystinosis. She completed medical school at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and pediatric residency at the University of Chicago. She pursued her Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship at Seattle Children’s before joining the faculty at Michigan in 1999. Dr. Thomas served as Medical Director of the Kidney Transplant program until 2005 when illness forced her to leave clinical medicine.
Susan dedicated her life to helping children with kidney disease. She was inspired by the fine doctors at the University of Chicago who helped her as a teen with her own transplant. She was a fierce patient advocate and set her mind to easing the management of cysinosis for patients and families from all over. Even during her prolonged illness, she worked to improve the lives of children with kidney disease and contributed to publications in 2020 on myopathies in patients with Nephropathic Cystinosis. She contributed intellectually and financially to the pediatric transplant program, especially Camp Michitanki (now known as North Star Reach). She is remembered as an excellent clinician, colleague, and a courageous person. On a personal note, Susan had a brilliant wit and wicked sense of humor. She was a colleague, a friend and a very decent human being. I will miss our conversations and her tweets.
She enjoyed traveling across the United States visiting national parks with her mother and a 25th birthday trip to London, Paris and Zurich. She is survived by her father James Thomas, mother Barbara Thomas, brother Jim Thomas, uncles Tim (Michelle) Thomas and Phillip (Nancy) Kucera and former husband Martin Schendel. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Cystinosis Research Network or University of Michigan Pediatric Transplant Camp Michitanki in her name.
-Submitted by Patrick D. Brophy MD, MHCDS William H. Eilinger Professor and Chair Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Physician-in-Chief of the Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Bill Segar died peacefully at home, in Indianapolis, IN on Feb 1, 2021. He was 97 years old. A very touching tribute to him was written by his son Jeff Segar [a neonatologist and successful researcher in his own right] and published in Pediatric Research. I encourage you to read Jeff’s lovely tribute. This is my personal tribute to a mentor, friend and someone I have known for over 45 years.
I met Bill in 1974 when I became an intern at the University of Wisconsin. Bill was the pediatric “nephrologist” although he would be the first to say that his real training was in pediatrics and in salt and water physiology. Within months of my coming to Madison Bill became the Department Chair and remained so for 10 years. Many of you will not have met Bill, He did not go to meetings frequently and focused his efforts in and on the Department. But you will have known some of his contributions. In 1957, while Bill and Mac Holliday were both on the faculty at Indiana University [Bill’s Medical School alma mater], they published a method to calculate the maintenance fluid and electrolyte needs for hospitalized pediatric patients. This approach was taught widely around the world. What you may not know is Bill and his collaborator, William Moore, published important studies in animals on the non osmotic control of ADH.
Bill’s understanding of fluid and electrolyte physiology was extensive. As a trainee, I did not appreciate how well he thought through issues and how well he could see a patient problem and quickly think through what needed to be done. A year after I came to Wisconsin, Bill recruited another nephrologist, Russell Chesney. The chance to spend 10 years with Bill and Russell made it abundantly clear how much each knew and understood and how well they could process and solve problems. How lucky was I.
Bill was an excellent teacher. It meant a lot to him that a student, trainee or even faculty was not only knowledgeable but could use that knowledge to help patients and support colleagues. Only much later did I realize that for Bill asking a question to make things clearer was never wrong. What really bothered him was NOT asking. Bill was incisive, analytical and at times even acerbic. But we knew he was challenging us to be better thinkers and doctors.
I am grateful for the time I got to spend with Bill and appreciate the many things I learned from him. I know I speak for many. Farewell and thank you so much, Bill.
H. William (Bill) Schnaper was the Irene Heinz Green & John LaPorte Given Chair in Pediatric Research and Tenured Professor & Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He was a graduate of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (1967) and received a B.A. from Yale University (1971) and his M.D. from the University of Maryland (1975). He trained in Pediatrics at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and was Chief Resident (1975-78). It was there that he met a nurse named Maria and started a lifelong journey of love and family. He next served in the National Health Service Corps (1978-80) and was a Senior Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics at Hahnemann Medical College (1979-80). He then entered a fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine (1980-82) under the mentorship of Alan Robson and supported by the National Kidney Foundation. He was a Research Fellow in Pathology at the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis under Carl W. Pierce during his training and through 1988. He received an NIH Clinical Investigator Award to examine the soluble immune response suppressor in nephrosis followed by an NIH R01 to examine inhibition of tumor cell growth by the lymphokine SIRS. He rose through the ranks as an Instructor, Assistant, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine before moving to Washington, DC and joining the Faculty at Children’s National and George Washington University in 1990 as an Associate Professor. He also served as a Special Volunteer/Expert in the Laboratory of Developmental Biology at the NIH from 1990-94.
In 1994, Bill joined the Faculty as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School where he advanced to a tenured Professor in 2000. Bill assumed numerous leadership responsibilities including Director of the Fellowship Training Program, of the Research Career, Development and Physician Scientist Program, of the K and TL1 Postdoctoral Awards Programs of Northwestern University’s CTSA, and of the Pediatric Academic Affairs and Child Health Research Center (CHRC) and its Integrated Graduate and Fellowship Programs. As a faculty member Bill was highly academically productive, with more than 170 peer-reviewed publications. He made seminal research contributions related to the immunologic basis and molecular pathogenesis of nephrotic syndrome, the role of cell signaling and tubulointerstitial injury in the development of renal fibrosis among other areas. In addition, he served as a mentor for over 60 students and trainees, ranging from high school, undergraduate college, medical school, graduate school, fellowship, post-doctoral training, and junior faculty. Bill served on and chaired more than 20 NIH and other scientific organization grant review committees and certainly facilitated the investigative careers of an entire generation of pediatric nephrologists.
As if these were not enough, Bill served on the Board of Directors of Children’s Memorial Medical Center. He also was Chair of the American Board of Pediatrics, Sub-Board of Pediatric Nephrology, later serving as medical editor for the Sub-Board for many years, work that he continued to do through the late stages of his illness. Along with Bruder Stapleton, Dick Behrman and Ted Sectish, he co-founded the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties. He played important roles in many scholarly publications, including being the Medical Editor of the journal Nephrology and on editorial boards for the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and the American Journal of Physiology (Renal Physiology), as well as being a founding member and the longest member of the Editorial Board of the journal Pediatric Nephrology.
Distinguished service was part of Bill’s DNA, as exemplified by his service to the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN) and the International Pediatric Nephrology Association (IPNA). He had the longest tenure ever on ASPN Council from 2000-2014 where he was Council Member (2000-04), Secretary-Treasurer (2004-08), President-Elect (2008-10), President (2010-12) and Past-President (2012-14). He was the North American Regional Secretary of IPNA from 2004-08 and Chair of the Scientific Organizing Committee for the 15th IPNA Congress in New York City in 2010. He was also the organizer of the American Society of Nephrology’s “Why kidneys fail: translating basic mechanisms of disease progression in novel therapies” during Renal Week 2005. He was the recipient of the Jose Strauss M.D. Award for Career Academic Excellence in Pediatric Nephrology and received the ASPN’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award, in 2018.
During Bill’s long tenure on ASPN Council, he was challenged with multiple tasks including working with then President Lisa Satlin to transition the ASPN office to a permanent one with dedicated professional staffing. Along with Sandra Watkins and Sharon Andreoli, he conceptualized and initiated the Corporate Liaison Board (CLB) to strengthen ASPN’s fund raising efforts. Additionally, he heralded both the first ASPN Strategic Planning Initiative and Leadership Development Program along with Joseph Flynn. With Bill Smoyer, Marva Moxey-Mims and others, he also started the ASPN Therapeutics Development Committee. He led an effort to have a Program Project Grant funded for ancillary studies to the NIH FSGS-Clinical Trial with 4 investigators receiving NIH funding. Finally, and most importantly in terms of Bill’s legacy to ASPN, he participated in the founding of the ASPN John E. Lewy Advocacy Scholars Program, for which he became a mentor and nurtured advocacy skills of over two dozen junior pediatric nephrologists, helping to ensure that ASPN will be well-represented on Capitol Hill for the next generation.
Bill’s dedication to pediatric nephrology and academic medicine was only exceeded by his devotion to his family, including his wife Maria, daughter Adrienne, sons Michael and Owen and his seven grandchildren. He coached soccer teams and mentored school science projects. Music was also an important part of Bill’s life. He played a variety of instruments—violin, bass guitar and guitar—and performed in diverse settings such as a band while in college at Yale, his Synagogue choir, a local Klezmer band and singing the lyrics he had written for songs commemorating ASPN’s 50th Anniversary. He was also a dedicated runner and completed the Chicago marathon.
So much has been said by so many colleagues about Bill and his impact on our field and our community. His remembrance will live on with the H. William Schnaper Honorary Lecture and his wonderful interview on the ASPN’s History Project site. At the end of the Memorial Service for Bill, everyone sang “Puff the Magic Dragon,” and we can only imagine Bill’s smiling face to us all as we said one last goodbye.
-Drs. Laurence Greenbaum, Victoria Norwood, Eileen Brewer, William Smoyer, Marva Moxey-Mims, Joseph Flynn, Barbara Fivush, Patrick Brophy, Brad Warady, Sandra Watkins, Isidro Salusky, Rick Kaskel
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing on October 25, 2020 of John T. Herrin, MBBS, FRACP, 84, former Director of Clinical Services within the Division of Nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital.
After his initial medical training, John left his native Australia and moved to Boston. He spent much of his early career at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was chief of Pediatric Nephrology from 1974 to 1994. He then moved to Boston Children’s Hospital in 1994, where he remained a cherished member of the Division of Nephrology until he retired in 2014. John held an appointment at Harvard Medical School for 49 years.
John was a passionate medical educator and developed a preceptor practice program to enhance how hundreds of pediatric residents and dozens of nephrology fellows learned clinical nephrology. He welcomed physicians, nurses, and students from around the world to Boston to spend time observing pediatric nephrology practice and care. He had near total recall of the medical literature and was a walking encyclopedia of clinical pearls that he delighted in sharing.
John was also the consummate clinician, totally committed to his patients and their well-being. There were no constraints to the length of a clinic visit or the duration of in-patient rounds if there were questions to be answered or concerns to be assuaged. In all his interactions, he modeled rare equanimity and unfailing generosity.
For those who worked alongside John, his extraordinary skills as a physician, his careful guidance as a teacher and mentor, and his unparalleled kindness as a colleague will always be remembered. He will be sorely missed.
Members of the Division of Nephrology, Boston Children’s Hospital
We are very sad to announce the death of Professor Michel Broyer on March 10, 2020 at the age of 86, following a COVID19 infection.
Early during his residency in Professor Pierre Royer’s unit at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in the early 1960’s, Michel Broyer was fascinated by the recent developments in pediatric nephrology. His unique aim became to offer children with kidney disease the best possible diagnostic approach and treatment. He was the first in Europe in 1969 to develop and adapt dialysis techniques, in particular hemodialysis, to children. It was a heroic period when the vascular access was by an external arteriovenous shunt and the sessions lasted more than 8 hours. In 1973 he took in charge pediatric kidney transplantation. Despite a difficult start, his efforts made it possible for these children not only to survive but to return to an almost normal life. Since then, more than 1300 kidney transplants have been performed in this centre. He succeeded Pierre Royer as head of Pediatric Nephrology department in Necker Enfants Malades Hospital from 1978 to 1999.
Michel Broyer’s contributions have not been limited to the treatment of chronic kidney disease. He has studied all areas of this specialty, as evidenced by his list of more than 400 publications. Himself and Renée Habib, both internationally recognized for their work, described a number of new entities in childhood kidney disease. With Pierre Royer and Renée Habib, he has made the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital a major clinical and academic center of pediatric nephrology, internationally recognized.
In 1975, Michel Broyer and Renée Habib organized highly successful annual Pediatric Nephrology seminars that continue nowadays, attracting pediatricians and nephrologists from man parts of the world. Michel Broyer also initiated the French “Pediatric Nephrology Club”. He defined its role as follows: “The annual meeting of the Club has been and remains for the youngest members an opportunity to learn how to communicate, a preliminary and logical step towards participating in international meetings. The small size of the Club has also helped to maintain the feeling that members belong to the same family where everyone knows each other and is likely to help each other. Thanks to the Club, cooperative studies have been carried out. Over time, the scientific quality of the meetings continues to improve, while their tone remains very convivial. ” In 2000, the Club was renamed the Société de Néphrologie Pédiatrique.
The conviviality between pediatric nephrologists continues with another generous idea of Michel Broyer who initiated in the early 2000’s a yearly three-day cultural meeting of the French speaking pediatric nephrologists retired their professional activities. These meetings are since organized every year in a different town by the local pediatric nephrologist. Himself organized this meeting in 2015 in Lorient, close to his house in Britany. He also co-organized the last 2019 meeting in Paris with his Parisian colleagues. These meetings illustrate his fidelity in friendship, for the benefit and pleasure of all.
Michel Broyer trained many pediatric nephrologists from France and abroad. Many became leaders in their countries. All of them admired his medical knowledge, his scientific rigour and his generosity for the children, their families and colleagues.
Michel Broyer had a major role in the development of the registry of the European Dialysis Transplantation Association and in the association “France Transplant”. He was editor of the journal “Pediatric Nephrology”. For several years, he chaired the Ethics Committee of the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital.
Michel Broyer was in the noble sense of the terms “un honnête homme” and “un homme de bien”.
Patrick Niaudet, Marie-Claire Gubler, Marie-France Gagnadoux, Chantal Loirat and Rémi Salomon
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 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, 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.
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.
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.