PATHOLOGY AT JOHNS HOPKINS
Pathology was the very first Department at Johns Hopkins. Indeed there was a Johns Hopkins Pathology before there was a Johns Hopkins Medical School or a Johns Hopkins Hospital - the Pathological Laboratory opened in 1886, some three years before the Hospital and seven before the Medical School.
A CONTINUUM OF EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION
From its start in the late 19th century, Johns Hopkins Pathology used the diverse tools of scientific inquiry to advance our understanding of the mechanisms of human disease, largely based on the accurate assessment of the pathologic manifestations of disease. The success of investigative pathology is evident today in hundreds of commonly-performed laboratory tests and morphologic evaluations used to classify and characterize diseases and to guide treatment.
The breadth, depth, and interaction of interests and skills now represented in Johns Hopkins Pathology capture the true spirit and excitement of discovery that William Welch began over a century ago. The Department continues to evolve thanks to the careful stewardship of its leaders.
William Henry Welch joined Johns Hopkins in 1884, but spent two years experiencing the best of the European scientific tradition before opening his own laboratory in 1886. In his laboratory, which was the first post-graduate medical training program in the United States, Welch discovered the cause of gangrene while many of his students went on to become household names in American medicine. Dr. Welch was the first Dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the force behind the creation of the School of Public Health and Hygiene, and the founder of the discipline of history of medicine.
William G. MacCallum was a member of the first graduating class of The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. After a brief period on the Johns Hopkins faculty, he spent nine years as a Professor of Pathology at Columbia, returning in 1917 to succeed Dr. Welch. Like Dr. Welch, Dr. MacCallum's contributions spanned many areas. In the laboratory, he defined much of the pathology of malaria while also helping to characterize the functional role of the parathyroid gland. As a teacher, MacCallum wrote the Textbook of Pathology, which was the definitive work in the field for several decades. As a leader, he was co-founder of the U.S.-Canadian Academy of Pathology.
Arnold Rice Rich took over the reins on an interim basis following MacCallum's death in 1944, becoming the third Baxley Professor of Pathology in 1947. He was then at peak of an investigative career focused upon the pathogenesis of inflammation in general and the lesions of tuberculosis in particular. Dr. Rich's stewardship was one of absolute academic integrity, seeking above all else to assure the excellence of research, service, and teaching at Johns Hopkins. In an era of specialization and compartmentalization, he reminded his students and colleagues by example and by precept that breadth of knowledge is as important as depth if one seeks to understand complex disease processes.
Ivan L. Bennett Jr., a quintessential physician-scientist, assumed leadership of Johns Hopkins Pathology in 1958 having made substantial contributions to the understanding of how infectious agents interact with host defense systems to produce fever and septic shock. Dr. Bennett began to integrate veterinary pathology into the Department, recognizing its key role in the understanding of models of disease. Under Dr. Bennett, the Department became more outward-looking, expanding through diversification of research funding sources and recruitment of outstanding individuals from across the United States and abroad.
Robert H. Heptinstall was recruited by Dr. Bennett and ultimately became his successor. Trained in the United Kindgom, Dr. Heptinstall was the definitive renal pathologist of his era and is the author of the renowned textbook Pathology of the Kidney. As acting director in 1966 and continuing with his appointment as Baxley Professor in 1969, Dr. Heptinstall instilled his trainees ad fellow faculty with the value of combining experimental investigation and observation with detailed diagnostic knowledge in specific areas of pathology. Under Dr. Heptinstall, the first steps were taken to integrate the academic activities of the faculty in Laboratory Medicine into the Department of Pathology. The faculty was also broadened to include investigators focused principally upon the fundamental aspects of disease.
John H. Yardley and John K. Boitnott shared the leadership of the Department respectively as Baxley Professor and Pathologist-in-Chief during a critical transitional period for the Department between 1988 and 1992. Dr. Yardley and those he trained recognized that advances in the molecular understanding of diseases such as colorectal cancer could be made only through the integration of pathology and molecular biology. This forward-looking outlook engendered many major advances at Hopkins over the last decade. A former Dean for Academic Affairs, Yardley expanded the educational offerings of the Department. Dr. Boitnott, a clinician interested in liver disease, recognized the importance of medical informatics to clinical service, research, and teaching in anatomic pathology. The strength of the Department in anatomic pathology informatics directly traces to the steadfast efforts of John Boitnott. Together, Drs. Boitnott and Yardley dramatically increased the research space available to the Department and increased the role of Ph.D. scientists in Pathology.
Fred Sanfilippo, originally from Duke University, joined Johns Hopkins as Baxley Professor and Pathologist-in-Chief in 1993. A distinguished physician-scientist recognized for his basic research in transplantation immunology and clinical service in both renal pathology and immunogenetics, Dr. Sanfilippo helped make Johns Hopkins Pathology an environment that facilitates and stimulates innovation and excellence in all its missions. Under his leadership, the previously separate departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology were brought together into a fully integrated academic and service community with true interface of activities among scientists, clinicians, and educators. He successfully guided the substantial growth in size and achievement of faculty and trainees during his term of leadership by enhancing the synergy of research, service, and educational activities.
Jay Brooks Jackson was recruited by Dr. Sanfilippo from Case Western Reserve University in 1996 as Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs. He was named Baxley Professor and Director of Pathology in 2001. A specialist in Transfusion Medicine, Dr. Jackson is world renowned for his research in HIV diagnostics, prevention, and treatment. Under his leadership the research enterprise, the teaching programs, and the breadth and volume of clinical services continue to grow both locally and internationally.