Gerald Medoff, MD, FIDSA, an emeritus professor of medicine and former director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and vice chair of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died peacefully Monday, Jan. 14 following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Medoff earned his medical degree in 1962 from Washington University School of Medicine and went on to the New England Medical Center and Boston City Hospital for his internship and residency. He completed research and clinical fellowships in infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and then joined the medicine and pediatrics faculty at Harvard Medical School. He served as attending physician at MGH and Boston Children’s Hospital until moving back to Washington University in 1970 as an assistant professor of medicine and molecular microbiology. In 1972, he became director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University, a role he served for the next 20 years.
“Jerry was an advisor and friend to the many trainees in medicine and ID who passed through Washington University. One of Jerry’s characteristics was his generosity to colleagues. His reputation as a clinical giant was not widely appreciated outside of St. Louis but everyone who has trained there in the last 40 years knew who to consult in a difficult case and equally knew that he will give them the time and attention they need,” said William Powderly, MD, FIDSA, Past President of IDSA. “All of us can point to times in our careers where someone provided a guiding light mentoring and supporting career choices – both by word and example. For me, and countless others who trained at Washington University over the last 40 years, Jerry Medoff was that guiding light.”
Dr. Medoff’s research received NIH funding for over 20 years and his work on fungi and antifungal therapies formed the basis for modern basic, clinical and translational investigation in the field. In 1989, Dr. Medoff shifted his focus from research to clinical programs. Seeing patients with increasingly complex infections, he realized the importance of infectious diseases as a clinical specialty and at the same time recognized the need for greater mentorship in the careers of clinical investigators.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Medoff founded the first AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at Washington University. When many providers refused to care for these patients, Dr. Medoff established an AIDS clinic and sought the best possible medical care for AIDS patients. In addition to becoming known as an acute diagnostician, he was also known for providing exceptionally compassionate care for all his patients. His care, insight and conscientiousness were hallmarks of his career as a clinician.
Dr. Medoff became the vice chair of clinical affairs for the Washington University School of Medicine in 1992, and in 2000, along with Mark Thoelke, MD, founded the Division of Hospital Medicine. He also served at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, chairing the infection control committee at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for more than 25 years and chaired the quality assurance committee and served as associate chief medical officer and chief of the Kipnis-Daughaday Firm.
Along with his many accomplishments as a researcher and clinician, Dr. Medoff also served as a mentor for over 30 years, sharing his commitment to clinical medicine and his love of science with trainees. His notable contributions fostering the careers of young ID specialists earned him the IDSA Walter E. Stamm Award, which recognizes those who are exceptional in guiding professional growth in ID professionals.
In addition to his longtime IDSA membership, Dr. Medoff was also a member of several professional societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the recipient of many awards including the Distinguished Educator Award and the Second Century Award from the Washington University School of Medicine, the Neville Grant Award from Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the Fellows Award from the Academy of Science—St. Louis.
Dr. Medoff is survived by his wife Dr. Judith Medoff, sons Dr. Benjamin Medoff, Nathaniel Medoff, and four grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. Gerald Medoff Lectureship or the Dr. Gerald Medoff Scholarship Fund, both at Washington University in St. Louis, care of Rachel Hartmann; Campus Box 1247, 7425 Forsyth Blvd.; St Louis, Mo. 63105. Memorial contributions also may be made to the APDA Greater St. Louis Chapter, at www.apdaparkinson.org/greaterstlouis; 1415 Elbridge Payne, Suite 150; Chesterfield, Mo. 63017; or Evelyn’s House, care of BJC Foundation for Hospice; P.O. Box 790369; St. Louis, Mo. 63179; or Race for Another Day, care of Team Gateway for a Cure, teamgatewaytoacure.org.