Alfred P. Fishman

Alfred P. Fishman
September 24, 1918 - October 6, 2010

Alfred P. Fishman, M.D., a giant of modern medical science and former APS President, died at 92 years of age on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Linda, his three children, Mark, Jay, and Hannah, and his four grandchildren, Aaron, Brian, Eric, and Sarah. With a background in physiology, pathology, and medicine, he was an internationally recognized expert in diseases of the lung. He was the editor of the authoritative textbook of lung medicine, now in its fourth edition, and trained many of the leaders of contemporary medical science.

Alfred Fishman was the son of immigrants from Lithuania and grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. At the age of 15, he started college at the University of Michigan, where he received both a BA and MPH degree. He then went to the University of Louisville Medical School for his M.D. degree. After discharge from service in the Army during World War II, Dr. Fishman began his investigative career as part of the team that built the first hemodialysis machines in the United States. He then worked with the team of Andre Cournand and Dickinson Richards on the project that described cardiac catheterization and led to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. After working at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Fishman came to the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure as chief of the Division of Cardio-Pulmonary Medicine, his group made many contributions in the field, including discovering why patients with severe deformations of the spine (kyphoscoliosis) suffer lung disease and how to improve their care. Fishman’s central role in the characterization of pulmonary hypertension was a prelude to the care of this important syndrome and to advances in lung transplantation. Dr. Fishman was the William Maul Measey Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also served at various times as the University’s Senior Associate Dean for Program Development, Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chair of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Council, and Director of the Office of Complementary Medicine.

In 1961 Alfred Fishman began a more than twenty-five year association with the journals and publications of APS when he joined the Editorial Board of Physiological Reviews. He came with experience. From 1958 to 1963 he had been on the board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and in 1960 he was appointed to the boards of both Circulation (1960-65, 1966-70, and 1971-75) and Circulation Research (1960-65, 1966-70, and 1971-1976). By the end of his six years with Physiological Reviews (1961-67) he was serving as editor of Physiology for Physicians (1966-69) and of the series "Physiology in Medicine" (1969-79) in the New England Journal of Medicine, both sponsored by APS. He next became chairman of the Editorial Board of the Handbook of Physiology, where he served for five years (1967-72) and from which he moved to the Publications Committee of the Society (1972-81). From 1975-1981 he was chairman of this committee and in 1979 he became editor of the Handbook volumes on respiratory physiology. In 1981 he was appointed editor of the Journal of Applied Physiology. From this rather considerable range of activities, Fishman will be known and remembered mainly for having sponsored and guided the reorganization of the Society's journals. His contributions to APS, however, have not been limited to its publications. He was chairman of the Program Committee (1965-68) and the Task Force on Programming (1976), and he served on the Task Force on Clinical Physiology (1974-75), the Long-Range Planning Task Force (1980-84), and the Centennial Celebration Committee, which he had chaired since 1985. He also served as chairman of the committee to find a successor to Orr Reynolds, hiring Martin Frank. Dr. Fishman received the Ray G. Daggs Award in 2004 in recognition of his contributions to the Society and discipline of physiology.

While President of the Society, Dr. Fishman encouraged the US National Committee of the IUPS to assume its proper role in international science. The APS Council offered to collaborate with the IUPS to establish an international physiological journal, which was the first step toward the creation of News in Physiological Sciences (which was renamed Physiology). Fishman later served on the editorial board of this journal.

Dr. Fishman was engaged nationally and internationally in developing innovative medical programs. Over the years, he had been a consultant to NASA for the Mercury space program; a consultant to the executive office of the President of the United States; a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and chairman of the Health Sciences Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine. He was a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Royal Society of Medicine (London), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a former president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He edited nine books and published more than 250 scientific articles.

Fishman was honored with numerous awards and distinguished lectureships. In 1980 he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was an honorary fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Chest Physicians and he received the Jacobi Medallion from the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the Distinguished Achievement Award of AHA, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Louisville. He was honored by numerous named lectureships, including two in honor of Louis N. Katz. In 2001, Dr. Fishman was the recipient of the prestigious Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal, the highest award offered by the American Thoracic Society, a branch of the American Lung Association. The award recognized Dr. Fishman’s excellence in original research on the lungs, the control of breathing in health and disease, and on normal and abnormal pulmonary circulation. In 2003, Dr. Fishman was designated a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

Alfred Fishman’s amazing accomplishments - both professionally and personally, will be a lasting inspiration to all who knew him.

Alfred P. Fishman, M.D., a giant of modern medical science and former APS President, died at 92 years of age on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Linda, his three children, Mark, Jay, and Hannah, and his four grandchildren, Aaron, Brian, Eric, and Sarah. With a background in physiology, pathology, and medicine, he was an internationally recognized expert in diseases of the lung. He was the editor of the authoritative textbook of lung medicine, now in its fourth edition, and trained many of the leaders of contemporary medical science.

Alfred Fishman was the son of immigrants from Lithuania and grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. At the age of 15, he started college at the University of Michigan, where he received both a BA and MPH degree. He then went to the University of Louisville Medical School for his M.D. degree. After discharge from service in the Army during World War II, Dr. Fishman began his investigative career as part of the team that built the first hemodialysis machines in the United States. He then worked with the team of Andre Cournand and Dickinson Richards on the project that described cardiac catheterization and led to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. After working at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Fishman came to the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure as chief of the Division of Cardio-Pulmonary Medicine, his group made many contributions in the field, including discovering why patients with severe deformations of the spine (kyphoscoliosis) suffer lung disease and how to improve their care. Fishman’s central role in the characterization of pulmonary hypertension was a prelude to the care of this important syndrome and to advances in lung transplantation. Dr. Fishman was the William Maul Measey Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also served at various times as the University’s Senior Associate Dean for Program Development, Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chair of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Council, and Director of the Office of Complementary Medicine.

In 1961 Alfred Fishman began a more than twenty-five year association with the journals and publications of APS when he joined the Editorial Board of Physiological Reviews. He came with experience. From 1958 to 1963 he had been on the board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and in 1960 he was appointed to the boards of both Circulation (1960-65, 1966-70, and 1971-75) and Circulation Research (1960-65, 1966-70, and 1971-1976). By the end of his six years with Physiological Reviews (1961-67) he was serving as editor of Physiology for Physicians (1966-69) and of the series "Physiology in Medicine" (1969-79) in the New England Journal of Medicine, both sponsored by APS. He next became chairman of the Editorial Board of the Handbook of Physiology, where he served for five years (1967-72) and from which he moved to the Publications Committee of the Society (1972-81). From 1975-1981 he was chairman of this committee and in 1979 he became editor of the Handbook volumes on respiratory physiology. In 1981 he was appointed editor of the Journal of Applied Physiology. From this rather considerable range of activities, Fishman will be known and remembered mainly for having sponsored and guided the reorganization of the Society's journals. His contributions to APS, however, have not been limited to its publications. He was chairman of the Program Committee (1965-68) and the Task Force on Programming (1976), and he served on the Task Force on Clinical Physiology (1974-75), the Long-Range Planning Task Force (1980-84), and the Centennial Celebration Committee, which he had chaired since 1985. He also served as chairman of the committee to find a successor to Orr Reynolds, hiring Martin Frank. Dr. Fishman received the Ray G. Daggs Award in 2004 in recognition of his contributions to the Society and discipline of physiology.

While President of the Society, Dr. Fishman encouraged the US National Committee of the IUPS to assume its proper role in international science. The APS Council offered to collaborate with the IUPS to establish an international physiological journal, which was the first step toward the creation of News in Physiological Sciences (which was renamed Physiology). Fishman later served on the editorial board of this journal.

Dr. Fishman was engaged nationally and internationally in developing innovative medical programs. Over the years, he had been a consultant to NASA for the Mercury space program; a consultant to the executive office of the President of the United States; a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and chairman of the Health Sciences Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine. He was a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Royal Society of Medicine (London), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a former president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He edited nine books and published more than 250 scientific articles.

Fishman was honored with numerous awards and distinguished lectureships. In 1980 he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was an honorary fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Chest Physicians and he received the Jacobi Medallion from the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the Distinguished Achievement Award of AHA, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Louisville. He was honored by numerous named lectureships, including two in honor of Louis N. Katz. In 2001, Dr. Fishman was the recipient of the prestigious Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal, the highest award offered by the American Thoracic Society, a branch of the American Lung Association. The award recognized Dr. Fishman’s excellence in original research on the lungs, the control of breathing in health and disease, and on normal and abnormal pulmonary circulation. In 2003, Dr. Fishman was designated a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

Alfred Fishman’s amazing accomplishments - both professionally and personally, will be a lasting inspiration to all who knew him.


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