Walsh McDermott

Last updated

Walsh McDermott (October 24, 1909 – October 17, 1981) was an American physician, medical researcher and public health specialist. In his early career, he researched antibiotic agents against tuberculosis and syphilis, earning a Lasker Award for his work on isoniazid, a drug used to treat tuberculosis. His later career focused on public health efforts, and he became a professor in public health at Cornell University.

Contents

Early life

McDermott was born on October 24, 1909 in New Haven, Connecticut. [1] He attended Phillips Academy and obtained an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1930. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1934. [2]

Career

McDermott completed his internship and residency at New York Hospital, which was then a teaching hospital for Cornell University Medical College. His early career was interrupted by repeated exacerbations of tuberculosis; his health eventually recovered by 1950 after treatment with isoniazid and surgery to remove part of his lung. [1] McDermott's early work was in infectious disease research and involved investigating drugs against tuberculosis and syphilis. [2] He traveled to Mexico to conduct a study comparing different antibiotic therapies against syphilis, and showed that chloramphenicol was significantly superior to tetracycline and amphotericin B. He conducted pioneering research into the use of streptomycin in tuberculosis, and in 1955 he received a Lasker Award for his research on isoniazid, the same antibiotic that had brought his own tuberculosis into remission. [1]

Later, McDermott focused on public health efforts, starting with the Navajo populations of Arizona and New Mexico, whom he learned were dying from fatal forms of tuberculosis at much greater rates than the rest of the U.S. population. Shocked at the health conditions in the disadvantaged Navajo population, he organized a public health initiative, the Many Farms Project, to bring basic healthcare and isoniazid therapy to Navajo people. [1] [3] :290–91 He became a professor of public health and chair of Cornell University's public health department in 1955 and led local projects to improve healthcare in New York City. [3] :292

In 1967, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. [1] He became a special advisor to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the early 1970s. Between 1947 and 1968, he served on several councils and committees for the National Institutes of Health, and was a member of the World Health Organization's advisory committees on tuberculosis (1958–73) and medical research (1964–67). [3] :292–94 He was appointed Professor of Public Affairs in Medicine at Cornell University in 1972 and became Emeritus Professor in Public Health and Medicine in 1975. [4]

Death

McDermott died on October 17, 1981 from a heart attack at his vacation home in Pawling, New York. [2]

Related Research Articles

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Many Farms, Arizona Census-designated place in Arizona, United States

Many Farms is a census-designated place (CDP) in Apache County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,348 at the 2010 census.

Tuskegee syphilis experiment Human Experiment

Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service. The purpose of this study was to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis; the African-American men in the study were only told they were receiving free health care from the United States government.

Streptomycin An antibiotic effective against various gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria

Streptomycin is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. This includes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium complex, endocarditis, brucellosis, Burkholderia infection, plague, tularemia, and rat bite fever. For active tuberculosis it is often given together with isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide. It is given by injection into a vein or muscle.

Isoniazid chemical compound

Isoniazid, also known as isonicotinylhydrazide (INH), is an antibiotic used for the treatment of tuberculosis. For active tuberculosis it is often used together with rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and either streptomycin or ethambutol. For latent tuberculosis it is often used by itself. It may also be used for atypical types of mycobacteria, such as M. avium, M. kansasii, and M. xenopi. It is usually taken by mouth but may be used by injection into muscle.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, colloquially known now as VP&S and formerly Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, is the graduate professional medical school of Columbia University. Located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan with its affiliate New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Founded in 1767 by Samuel Bard as the medical department of King's College, the College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first medical school in the thirteen colonies and hence, the United States, to award the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. Beginning in 1993, P&S also was the first U.S. medical school to hold a white coat ceremony.

Harold Philip Lambert, FRCP was a British medical doctor and professor of medicine, known for his work dealing with infectious diseases and antibiotic therapy. He helped in the development of pyrazinamide as a treatment for tuberculosis and also did some of the earliest research into mescaline.

Arnold Seymour Relman — known as Bud Relman to intimates — was an American internist and professor of medicine and social medicine. He was editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from 1977 to 1991, where he instituted two important policies: one asking the popular press not to report on articles before publication and another requiring authors to disclose conflicts of interest. He wrote extensively on medical publishing and reform of the U.S. health care system, advocating non-profit delivery of single-payer health care. Relman ended his career as professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Louis T. Wright American surgeon

Louis Tompkins Wright, MD, FACS was an American surgeon and civil rights activist. In his position at Harlem Hospital he was the first African-American on the surgical staff of a non-segregated hospital in New York City. He was influential for his medical research as well as his efforts pushing for racial equality in medicine and involvement with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which he served as chairman for nearly two decades.

William Augustus Hinton was an American bacteriologist, pathologist and educator. He was the first black professor in the history of Harvard University. A pioneer in the field of public health, Hinton developed a test for syphilis which, because of its accuracy, was used by the United States Public Health Service. In 2019, Hinton's portrait was placed in Harvard Medical School's Waterhouse Room, a room previously dominated by the portraits of former Harvard Medical School Deans, all of whom are white.

Christopher T. Walsh is a Hamilton Kuhn professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on enzymes and enzyme inhibition, and most recently he is focused on the problem of antibiotic resistance. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989.

John Charles Cutler was a senior surgeon, and the acting chief of the venereal disease program in the United States Public Health Service. After his death, his involvement in several controversial and unethical medical studies of syphilis was revealed, including the Guatemala and the Tuskegee syphilis experiments.

Mitchell J. Blutt is an American physician-businessman, and one of the first physicians to play a prominent role on Wall Street by drawing on his medical training to identify investment potential in healthcare companies. He is the founder and CEO of the New York-based healthcare investment firm Consonance Capital and a former Executive Partner of J.P. Morgan Partners. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University.

Stuart B. Levy

Stuart Blank Levy was a researcher and physician at Tufts University. He was among the first to advocate for greater awareness of antibiotic resistance and founded the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.

John Friend Mahoney American physician

John Friend Mahoney was an American physician best known as a pioneer in the treatment of syphilis with penicillin. He won the 1946 Lasker Award.

Dorothea Cross Leighton was an American social psychiatrist and a founder of the field of medical anthropology. Leighton held faculty positions at Cornell University and the University of North Carolina and she was the founding president of the Society for Medical Anthropology. She and her husband, Alexander Leighton, wrote The Navajo Door, which has been described as the first written work in applied medical anthropology.

Frederick J. Bancroft American physician and educator

Frederick J. Bancroft was a surgeon during the Civil War before he settled in Colorado, where he was considered to be "one of the most prominent physicians", according to a San Francisco Chronicle obituary. In the late 1870s, he and the Denver Medical Association created the public health system for Denver, Colorado to improve the health of its citizens. In 1876, Bancroft was the first president of Colorado's State Board of Health. He became Colorado Medical Society president in 1880. Bancroft was a founder and professor of the University of Denver and Colorado Seminary Medical Department in 1881.

The Denver Medical Society is the "Rocky Mountain region's oldest and largest local medical society" It was founded in 1871 to improve public health through education and professional standards. It tackled issues such as epidemics, tuberculosis, and development of sanitation systems, including initiating the construction of the systems sewer system. Between 1889 and 1902, its scope included Arapahoe County. Then, it returned to an organization focused on the city and county of Denver.

Patricia Anne Acquaviva Gabow is an American academic physician, medical researcher, healthcare executive, and consultant. Specializing in nephrology, she began lecturing in the department of medicine, division of renal diseases, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1973, advancing to a full professorship in 1987; she is presently Professor Emerita. She was the principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health Human Polycystic Kidney Disease research grant which ran from 1985 to 1999. She served for two decades as CEO of Denver Health, an integrated public healthcare system in Denver, Colorado, where she implemented numerous business-based systems to streamline operations, improve patient care, and recognize cost savings. In particular, her introduction of the "lean" quality-improvement system, based on the Toyota Production System, earned her national recognition. She is the author of more than 150 articles and book chapters, and has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, physician care, and leadership. She was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 2004.

Paul Bruce Beeson was an American physician and professor of medicine, specializing in infectious diseases and the pathogenesis of fever.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Beeson, P. "Walsh McDermott". Royal College of Physicians . Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 Clark, Alfred E. (October 19, 1981). "WALSH MCDERMOTT, MEDICAL RESEARCHER, DIES". The New York Times . Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 Beeson, Paul B. (1990). "Walsh McDermott". Biographical Memoirs: V.59. National Academies Press. pp. 282–307.
  4. Hobby, Gladys L. (1982). "In Memoriam: Walsh McDermott, M.D., 1909–1981". American Review of Respiratory Disease. 125 (2): 141–143.