Robert G. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Medicine
The Robert G. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Medicine was established in 1994 to honor the distinguished career of Dr. Robert G. Petersdorf and to enhance departmental programs for medical research, education and physician training.
Dr. Petersdorf was president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a position he held from 1986 to 1994, later president emeritus. He also was a distinguished professor of medicine at the University of Washington.
Dr. Petersdorf received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.D. from Yale University. He did house-staff and fellowship training in infectious diseases at Yale-New Haven Medical Center, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1964, he was named chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine at Seattle, a position he held with distinction for 15 years.
From 1979 to 1981, Dr. Petersdorf served as president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass., and, in 1981, he became vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. In addition to his role in the AAMC, Dr. Petersdorf also held leadership positions in a variety of other professional medical associations. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and served on the council. He also served on advisory committees for the CDC, FDA, and the NIA, and was a member of the Special Medical Advisory Group of the Veterans Administration.
Dr. Petersdorf received honorary degrees from 17 medical schools across the nation as well as many additional honors and awards. He also published more than 400 papers in professional and scientific journals over his career; his chief areas of research included infectious diseases and in-depth studies of fever. Dr. Petersdorf was a frequent commentator on medical education, the organization and management of academic medical centers, graduate medical education and health manpower issues.
Dr. Petersdorf was married to Patricia Q. Petersdorf for more than 44 years. They have two children, Dr. Stephen H. Petersdorf, a cancer specialist and associate professor at UW Medicine, and John E. Petersdorf, CFO of the Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Dr. Petersdorf passed away in September 2006, and Mrs. Petersdorf passed away in May 2010.
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