Robert F. Willkens, M.D. - Lucile T. Henderson Endowed Professorship in Rheumatology
The Robert F. Willkens, M.D.-Lucile T. Henderson Endowed Professorship in Rheumatology was created by the friends and admirers of Robert F. Willkens, as well as by the estate of Lucile T. Henderson. The fund was established in 2007.
Robert F. Willkens, M.D., was an alumnus of the University of Washington School of Medicine, a clinical professor of medicine emeritus at Harborview Medical Center, and the former section head of the division of rheumatology at Harborview. At the age of 80, after more than 50 years of service to the University, Dr. Willkens retired. He passed away in 2009.
This professorship pays tribute to Dr. Willkens’ achievements; he was one of the first researchers to publish on the use of methotrexate for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, he was a master in the American College of Rheumatology, and he was an excellent doctor and mentor. “Above all else,” remembers one of his trainees, “Bob taught a generation of rheumatologists to be clinicians. He taught us to evaluate a new patient by taking such a careful history and performing such a rigorous exam that we could diagnose the condition without the aid of laboratory tests or scans. To me, this is the mark of a skilled clinical rheumatologist.”
Lucile Evelyn Townsend Henderson was born in 1904, and she graduated from the University of Washington in 1927 with a degree in economics and a minor in French. Her family didn’t have enough money to support graduate studies, so Ms. Henderson went to work, instead. Her career was spent working with children in various capacities: as the executive director of the Seattle Girl Scouts Council and later, with her husband, Frank C. Henderson, in running the San Juan International Camp for Boys on San Juan Island, Wash. Mrs. Henderson was widely admired for her directness and intelligence, and when she died, she left a portion of her estate to support research into the disease that had afflicted her sister — rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please make a gift.