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In Memoriam

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2011 - Autumn


Madeline S. Crivello, M.D. ’77, died on February 19, in Naples, Fla., after a lengthy fight with cancer. She was 58. After a residency and fellowships in diagnostic radiology, Crivello spent several years in private practice at Framingham Hospital in Massachusetts, followed by many years in practice as director of women’s imaging and active involvement in the radiology residency program at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. She was diagnosed in her 40s with aggressive breast cancer and underwent extensive therapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She went on to develop one of the first women’s imaging centers in New England, where she found great fulfillment as a leading advocate for women’s health in the Boston area. Although a lifelong nonsmoker, she was diagnosed with primary lung cancer in 2008.

William H. Prusoff, Ph.D., a member of the School of Medicine faculty for 57 years, died on April 3. He was 90 and lived in Branford, Conn. Prusoff was born in 1920 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of a grocer. In the late 1930s the family moved to Miami, where Prusoff majored in chemistry at the University of Miami. His poor eyesight kept him out of the Armed Forces during World War II, but he spent the war as a munitions inspector in Memphis and a water-quality tester for troops stationed in Miami. After the war and unsuccessful attempts to enter medical school (including Yale), he obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia University and then joined Arnold Welch, Ph.D., at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve). When Welch came to Yale to head the pharmacology department in 1953, Prusoff came with him. Prusoff soon synthesized 5-iododeoxyuridine, one of the first nucleoside analogues, which was shown to have antiviral activity. The first clinically useful anti-viral drug, it found widespread use as a preventive of herpes virus keratitis in infants. Prior to the synthesis of this compound, researchers had thought the development of effective nontoxic antiviral agents was impossible. Prusoff has been called the father of antiviral chemotherapy for this seminal work. But his major contribution was still to come. As the aids epidemic was raging in the 1980s, Prusoff and his late Yale colleague Tai-Shun Lin, Ph.D., showed that an unsuccessful cancer compound known as stavudine or d4T was active against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After securing the patent for d4T, Yale licensed it to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which sold it under the trade name Zerit in 1994. Zerit soon became a component of the first combination drug therapy for HIV. The William H. Prusoff Foundation supported numerous programs under his direction, including the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism. Prusoff also endowed lectureships in virology and pharmacology at Yale, funded scientific prizes, and supported the research of individuals and laboratories at Yale. When Doctors Without Borders and Yale students called on the university and Bristol-Myers Squibb to make Zerit available at low cost in impoverished areas of the world, Prusoff actively joined in the campaign. The company acceded in March 2001.

David Seligson, M.D., Sc.D., professor emeritus of laboratory medicine, died at home in Branford, Conn., on March 3. He was 94. Born in Philadelphia, Seligson was the founding chair and chief of the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the School of Medicine and at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The discipline of clinical chemistry and the broader field of laboratory medicine as they are practiced today are the results of his vision and creativity. Recruited from the University of Pennsylvania to Yale and Grace-New Haven Hospital as the first director of the hospital’s clinical laboratories in 1958, Seligson established the infrastructure of the Department of Laboratory Medicine, creating divisions of clinical chemistry, microbiology, transfusion medicine (blood banking), and hematology. Recognizing the growing need for clinical laboratory data in the modern practice of medicine, Seligson pioneered the use of automation. One of the first applications of a digital computer in the clinical laboratory was made in Seligson’s department at Yale, and shortly thereafter data were transmitted directly from the laboratory computer to data stations on the patient wards. Seligson was also among the first to highlight the clinical importance of test specificity and accuracy, as compared to simple reproducibility. He retired in 1988.

J. Alfred Berend, M.D. ’56, died on January 18 of heart failure in San Diego, Calif. He was 79. Berend had been an internist at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., for 31 years.

Colin M. Bloor, M.D. ’60, HS ’62, FW ’64, distinguished professor emeritus of pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, died on September 9, 2010, in San Diego Hospice from complications of a stroke. He was 77.

Benjamin Bursten, M.D. ’58, HS ’62, died on December 4 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. A specialist in forensic psychiatry, he was 83.

Linus W. Cave, M.D. ’46, died on September 4, 2010, in Dover, N.J. He was 87.

Robert Evans, M.D., a clinical professor and psychoanalyst at the Child Study Center, died on May 13, 2010, in North Branford, Conn. He was 95.

Michael A. Gilchrist, M.D., HS ’69, died on October 31, 2010, in Chelmsford, Mass. A pediatrician, he was 66.

Barbara (Wilmer) Gibson, M.D. ’55, died on January 17 in Burlington, Vt. She was 80.

Val S. Greenfield, M.D. ’56, a retired ophthalmologist, died on March 16 in Voorhees, N.J. He was 78.

Marshall R. Holley, M.D., HS ’69, former associate clinical professor of obstetrics/gynecology at Yale, died of cancer in New Haven on December 5. He was 75.

Harold March, M.D. ’50, died on January 23. He was 92.

Elmer T. Mitchell Jr., M.D. ’56, a specialist in plastic surgery, died on December 27 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He was 80.

Adrian M. Ostfeld, M.D., former chair and longtime faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, died on January 28 in Hamden, Conn. He was 84.

Joel M. Rappeport, M.D., professor of medicine (hematology) and pediatrics at Yale and a pioneer in the treatment of patients with bone marrow failure, died on January 16 at his home in Woodbridge, Conn. He was 71.

Sara S. Sparrow, Ph.D., professor emerita of psychology and chief psychologist in the Child Study Center from 1977 to 2002, died in New Haven on June 10, 2010. She was 77.

Carter Stilson, M.D. ’42, HS ’46, died on January 7 in New Haven. He was 94.

Walter P. Sy, M.D., HS ’56, an anesthesiologist, died on February 17 in Westmoreland, N.H. He was 74.

Irving N. Wolfson, M.D. ’43, a retired cardiologist, died at his home in Worcester, Mass., on July 8, 2010. He was 90.

Send obituary notices to Claire M. Bessinger, Yale Medicine Publications, 1 Church Street, Suite 300, New Haven, CT 06510, or via e-mail to

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