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Outside the Lab Profession

In Memoriam: Emanuel Rubin

Emanuel Rubin received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1954. After his residency in pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, he remained there as a staff member and eventually became chairman of the department. Subsequently, he chaired the Departments of Pathology at Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University Medical School) and Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

For his contributions to the science and practice of pathology, Manny received numerous awards, including the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology’s F.K. Mostofi Distinguished Service Award, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s MERIT Award, the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)’s Gold-Headed Cane Award, and an Honorary Distinguished Member of Faculty Award from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received honorary doctorates from Italy and Barcelona. For his educational activities, he received two major national awards – the Tom Kent Award for Excellence in Pathology Education from the Group for Research in Pathology Education and the Robbins Distinguished Educator Award from ASIP. In 1989, his textbook of pathology received the American Medical Writers’ award for the Best Medical Textbook of the Year.

During his long and productive life, Manny made major contributions to basic cell pathology, the biology of hepatic and cardiac diseases, and the clinical pathology of alcohol-related maladies. For me – and here I must mention that I was his resident at Mount Sinai and worked with him for 17 years in Philadelphia – he was primarily the model of a Flexnerian tripartite academic physician. By that I mean that he was equally dedicated to science, clinical medicine, and the teaching of pathology. The contributions he made along these three career pathways are hard to match and even more difficult to summarize here.

It is hard to predict what people will remember most about Manny. His pioneering work on liver pathology dating back to the 1950s? His five decades of alcohol research? His status as one of the longest continuously funded research scientists at the NIH? Chairing three pathology departments over more than 30 years? Catapulting his department at Jefferson to the top of the best NIH funded pathology departments in the country? Mentoring his students and junior colleagues to become academic pathologists and chairs in their own right? The novelties he introduced into medical students’ preclinical education? His stint as Editor-in-Chief of Laboratory Investigation (from 1982 to 1995)? His esteemed textbook of pathology?

It is hard to predict the future (and I am not a betting person), but I would vote for his book, Rubin’s Pathology: Clinicopathologic Foundations of Medicine, now in its 8th edition. As the French Nobel Prize winner André Gide once wrote, “The problem is not how to succeed, but how to last.” With his textbook and its even more successful offshoot, Principles of Rubin’s Pathology, Manny showed that he could succeed in the highly competitive business of medical publishing. I predict that his memory will live on in those two books for many years to come.

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About the Author
Ivan Damjanov

Professor Emeritus of Pathology at the University of Kansas, Kansas City, USA.

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