After completing the MD/PhD program at SUNY Buffalo in 1969 Bruce Rabin MD '69, joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and remained there until retiring in 2017. He says, "I was recruited to Pittsburgh to establish a Diagnostic Clinical Immunopathology Laboratory which brought together all patient immunology testing into a single site. Some personal highlights were establishing the joint MD/PhD program for the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University in 1987 and extensive teaching of clinical immunology to medical students and residents. For 40 years I led a major research program in psychoneuroimmunology and developed and implemented programs to help healthy people and those with immunologically mediated diseases increase their ability to cope with stress with significant clinical benefit. I continue to devote time to conducting stress coping programs throughout western Pennsylvania and, in addition, teaching in Osher programs. Unfortunately, the need to help people improve their ability to cope with stress is continually increasing. I have 3 grandchildren in Pittsburgh and 3 in Scottsdale Arizona. I’m enjoying spending some winter time in Scottsdale."
Jeffrey Carr, MD ’64, writes: “I am retired, and my wife, Diane, and I live in upper Westchester County, N.Y. Favorite memories: Leaving the hospital at day’s end with my closest alphabetical classmate, Seamus Carmody. Me: ‘It’s beautiful out.’ Him: ‘Good, leave it out.’ Also: lectures from O.P. Jones, and D.K. Miller.”
Virginia V. Weldon, MD ’62, received an honorary doctor of science degree from Washington University in St. Louis at its commencement ceremony in May 2017.
After earning her medical degree at UB in 1962, Weldon completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and remained for a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Weldon joined the Washington University School of Medicine faculty as an instructor of pediatrics in 1968 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a professor of pediatrics and serve in a number of leadership positions.
She treated many children with diabetes and received national recognition for her research on a growth hormone deficiency in children that results in extreme short stature. Her research included investigating whether animal growth hormones were as effective as human growth hormones.
Weldon took on significant administrative duties at the School of Medicine, including serving as assistant to the vice chancellor for medical affairs from 1977 to 1981 and associate vice chancellor for medical affairs from 1981 to 1983. She served six years as deputy vice chancellor for medical affairs from 1983 to 1989 and was vice president of the Washington University Medical Center from 1980 to 1989.
Weldon left Washington University in 1989 to become vice president of scientific affairs at the Monsanto Company, where she addressed public policy issues affecting the company and its products. She retired from Monsanto in 1998 as senior vice president for public policy.
She returned to the university in 1998 to serve for one year as director of the Center for the Study of American Business, now called the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy. Nationally recognized for her leadership on medical education and biomedical research issues, Weldon held many national advisory positions, including on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology under Bill Clinton.
She was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 1999 to the National Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology. In addition, she played a role in establishing the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, a national organization that addresses issues of world hunger.
In 1985, Weldon became the first woman to chair the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Among her many honors, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Weldon and her husband, Francis Austin, live in St. Louis. She has two daughters, Ann Weldon Doyle and Susan Weldon Erlinger, two granddaughters and a grandson.
Leon Hoffman, MD ’67, who is on faculty at Icahn School of Medicine, recently published Manual of Regulation-Focused Psychotherapy for Children (RFP-C) with Externalizing Behaviors: A Psychodynamic, with co-authors Timothy Rice and Tracy Prout (Routledge Books).
Hoffman is director of the Pacella Parent Child Center, co-director of the Research Center at the New York Psychoanalytic Society Institute and chief psychiatrist at West End Day School, New York City.
Favorite memories: What a great group of classmates! Remember Professor Oliver P. Jones, professor of anatomy, ringing the bell in class on November, 22, 1963 and announcing : “Gentlemen the President is dead.” (There was a handful of women present.)
Ophthalmologist Moira J. Burke, MD ’69, received a Leading the Way Award from the University of South Florida (USF). She was recognized for her “inspiration, motivation and empowerment” at a luncheon held at USF in conjunction with National Women’s Health Week. A native of Buffalo, Burke earned her undergraduate degree from Vassar College prior to attending UB medical school. She completed her residency at Philadelphia’s Wills Eye Hospital.
In 1975, Burke entered private practice in north Tampa. In 2005, she joined the faculty at the USF Morsani College of Medicine, where she trained ophthalmology residents. For five consecutive years, she received USF’s Award for Excellence in Surgical Teaching. In the sixth year, the award was renamed in her honor.
In 1990, Burke joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve Medical Corps as a lieutenant colonel and was deployed during Desert Storm. She retired from clinical practice in 2015 and currently works part-time as medical director of Premier Eye Care.
She has two sons, Brendan and Ryan, and four grandchildren. She enjoys reading, knitting, walking, piano playing, and volunteering with the Literacy Advocacy Council, USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, and The Chiseler’s.
J. Brian Sheedy, MD ’67, is medical director of palliative care at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. He retired from Hematology Oncology Associates of NW Florida in 2008 and helped to establish a palliative care consultation service at Tallahassee Memorial in 2009.
Favorite memories: Drs. Calkins, Nolan, Friedman, Genco, Bossman, Klocke, Sanes, Puleo. Classmates Venuto, Sheehan, Kelly, Menchini, Weiss, Gerstein, Goldfarb.
James Moran, MD ’66, lives in Santa Monica, California. He is still in active clinical practice, affiliated with Providence St. John’s Health Center and serving as clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at USC’s School of Medicine. He has four children and six grandchildren.
Sanford Hoffman, MD ’65, an otolaryngologist, writes: “I’m presently practicing ENT part-time in Arizona. Originally I retired from active practice 20 years ago and helped run an international program with Millard Fillmore Hospital and hospitals in Ukraine. At the same time, I was president of the American Rhinological Society. I subsequently started a company in Boston to look at medical outcomes and also was an executive vice president for IPA WNY before finally moving to Scottsdale, AZ. I missed patient care, so 11 years ago I went back to part-time practice.
I’ve been happily married to my sweetheart, Beth, for 50 years. We have two children and four grandkids."
Gary Jeffery, MD ’65, writes: “I retired from eye practice in Batavia, NY, four years ago and retired about 15 years ago after many years of organizing the Christian Medical and Dental Association chapter in WNY. Now my wife and I travel to northern Virginia, Chicago and Portland, Oregon, as often as possible to visit our three kids and their families, including eight grandchildren. Our oldest daughter was in Buffalo this spring for her 25th UB Med School reunion! Both she and her husband practice pediatric ophthalmology. Our son is an adolescent psychiatrist, but knows enough adult psych to be indispensable for us all."
H. Elliott Larson, MD ’65, FRCP, FIDSA, is currently working in Kabul, Afghanistan, with Global Health Consulting regarding private hospital standards. Favorite memories: Intellectual stimulus of studying the basic sciences.
On May 13, 2014, Philip D. Morey, MD ’62, received the first annual Individual Supporter Award from the Town of Amherst’s Arts and Culture in Public Places Board. Earlier in the year, the board created a program to celebrate individuals who contribute to the arts in the community. Morey was recognized for his leadership on the governing board of the Musicalfare Theatre and for chairing the “Songs for Tomorrow” campaign, which funded a major expansion of the theatre. He also served on committees related to board nominations, legal affairs, new sound and lighting equipment, playbill sales and landscaping. For 14 years, Morey and his wife, Colleen, have chaired the Musicalfare Gala, which raised more than a quarter of a million dollars, as reported in the May 7, 2014, issue of the Amherst Bee.
Thomas Guttuso, Sr., MD ’60, clinical professor of ophthalmology, vice president, Medical Alumni Association, and former dean of admissions, spent quality time with his scholar, Tim Buckley MD ’10, over the holidays. Guttuso and Buckley enjoyed catching up over dessert with the Guttuso family. After completing his medical degree and residency at UB, Buckley moved to Chicago, where he is a board certified family physician at Heartland Health Centers.
Morton E. Weichsel, Jr, MD ’62, recently wrote a letter to Evan Calkins, MD, pictured left, former chair of the Department of Medicine, in follow up to an article about Calkins that appeared in the summer 2013 issue of UB Medicine magazine.
The following are excerpts from Dr. Weichsel’s letter, which he would like to share with his fellow alumni.
Dear Dr. Calkins,
This is a much overdue letter to congratulate you on your outstanding and exemplary career.
But, as a member of the 1962 medical class, I have another agenda. As I recall, in the early fall of 1960, I started my first rotation as a student on the internal medicine wards at the Buffalo General Hospital, and to the best of my recollection, I was the very first UB medical student to present a case to you, the new professor of medicine who had come from Harvard. I got my patient, a lady with discoid lupus, at about 10:30 pm the night before and upon finishing the workup, the library was closed and I found, after a frantic search, a copy of Dr. Cecil’s textbook of medicine. It contained only a couple of short paragraphs on that subject. After a few hours sleep, I presented the case to you on ward rounds, and I will never forget how I botched it! I remember feeling depressed and humiliated that I had such a poor job at representing my medical class of some 73 students.
You were calm and patient and extraordinarily kind, as you asked me what I knew of Dr. Cecil, which of course was little or nothing! You reminded me of the lag time of getting new information into a textbook. I felt very appreciative of the way you handled my disastrous presentation, and have used it as an example for my own performance as an academic attending physician.
Again, I thank you for your thoughtfulness, which transcends the technical aspects of routine ward rounds...
With kindest regards, gratitude and fond memories, I wish you all the best.
Lance Fogan, MD ’65, retired from neurology practice in southern California in 1997.
Currently, he teaches neurology and lead brain pathology conferences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In March 2013, he published a novel, titled Dings, about an eight-year-old boy diagnosed with epilepsy. The novel received a highly favorable review by Joseph I. Sirven, MD, editor-in-chief of the Epilepsy Foundation of America’s website, epilepsy.com. “Told in a realistic but page-turning manner, the book plays out as a medical mystery that finally reveals itself towards the end,” wrote Sirven. “By that time, the reader is left with the impression of how difficult it is for someone to be diagnosed with epilepsy and to take on the role of having to educate everyone around you when you are struggling as a parent and patient to grasp the situation.” Dings is available on Amazon.com.
C. John Abeyounis, PhD ’65, professor emeritus of microbiology, died June 14, 2018, four years after being diagnosed with frontal-lobe dementia. A native of North Carolina, Abeyounis completed his doctorate in microbiology at UB in 1965. After serving a postdoctoral fellowship at the Arthritis Foundation, he joined the medical school’s faculty as an instructor in the Department of Microbiology. In 1969 he was named an assistant professor and associate director of graduate studies, and in 1972 was named director. In 1977, Abeyounis was promoted to full professor and retired in 2000, but continued to teach non-science undergraduate students and clinical problem solving for medical students. Under his leadership the graduate program flourished and attracted students and fellows from all over the world. He was a highly respected mentor known for stressing rigor and reproducibility in research and as someone whom students could look to for professional guidance. Abeyounis’ research resulted in the publication of many papers, with later studies focusing on the then-emerging field of transplantation immunology.
Kenneth E. Bell, MD ’61, a leader in family-centered obstetrical care and a dedicated advocate for the medically underserved, died on July 14, 2018, at age 82.
A native of New York City, NY, Bell graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and attended Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in history. Following graduation from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1961, he completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, where he was named chief resident.
He then enlisted as a captain in the air force and served for two years as head of OB/GYN at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. In 1968, Bell joined Southern California Permanente Medical Group at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower, CA, where he was later named chief of OB/GYN. During this time, he held faculty positions at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. In 1978, he moved to the newly opened Orange County Kaiser Permanente facility as chief of OB/GYN.
Bell was a driving force behind the first professional training program for OB/GYN nurse practitioners and midwives in Southern California. He brought the concept of family-centered obstetrical care to Kaiser Permanente, which became a model for hospitals worldwide. In 1988, he became the medical director for Orange County, CA.
In 2008, a street at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Irvine, CA, was named “Ken Bell Boulevard.” The honor was bestowed because, as one of his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente said, “I can think of no one who is more responsible for what we are, or what we will become than Ken.”
After retiring from Kaiser in 2001, Bell continued to inspire and be a mentor in his role as chief medical officer of CalOptima, Medicaid Managed Care, which oversaw 300,000 of Orange County’s indigent and vulnerable population. Many called Bell “the father of CalOptima” for his extraordinary support for and innovation in delivering care to its members.
In 2007, he retired from CalOptima to become the chief medical officer for the Coalition of Orange County Community Clinics, a group of 17 clinics serving the uninsured and underinsured in Orange County.
Bell was the recipient of many awards, including the Orange County March of Dimes 1997 Mentor in Medicine Award and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group 2001 Physician’s Exceptional Contribution Award.
Robert L. Malatesta, MD ’60
Robert L. Malatesta, MD ’60, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and medical educator, died Feb. 5, 2017 after a brief illness. He was 83.
Following graduation from UB’s medical school, Malatesta completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecological surgery at Buffalo General Hospital. He then joined the staff at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, N.J., his hometown, and started a private practice before serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to Plainfield, he gave up private practice to initiate and direct Muhlenberg’s residency program in OB/GYN. The program became the nucleus of the Rutgers Medical School residency, and he was named a clinical professor at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
A diplomate of the Board of OB/GYN and a fellow of the American College of OB/GYN, Malatesta served as Muhlenberg’s Chief of OB/GYN from 1973 to 1990. In 1984, he was elected president of the New Jersey OB/GYN Society.
A generous donor to the UB medical school, Malatesta joined his classmates in sponsoring the MD Class of ’60 Student Group Study Suite in the school’s new building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Surviving are his wife, Barbara; his son, Charles; his daughters, Nanette Saylor and Emily Kelton; and six grandchildren.
Rocco C. Venuto, MD ’67, professor of medicine, a former chief of the Division of Nephrology and a leading researcher on chronic kidney disease and treatment, died July 11, 2019 at his home in Williamsville, NY. He was 77.
A UB alumnus and physician with UBMD Internal Medicine who cared for generations of chronic kidney disease patients in Western New York, Venuto’s name had been synonymous with the field of nephrology in Buffalo and nationwide for half a century. He was seeing and caring for patients up until the day he died.
Venuto contributed significantly to research focused on how to improve care for kidney patients, whether they were being medically managed or were transplant recipients. An internationally recognized expert on hypertension in pregnancy, his research contributed significantly to the understanding of the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
A tireless advocate for organ donation, in 2011 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Upstate New York Transplant Services, which he co-founded.
He and his UB colleagues collaborated on studies that revealed the inadequacy of early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease, and he was an advocate for earlier diagnosis.
As division chief of nephrology, Venuto partnered with UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics in a major New York State-funded study of kidney disease that utilized big data in order to improve the care of chronic kidney disease patients in Western New York.
As medical director of renal transplant and director of the chronic kidney disease program at ECMC, he treated patients, as he put it, “with virtually every aspect of kidney disease,” from those undergoing dialysis to those receiving transplants. He also cared for high-risk pregnant women with renal dysfunction at Oishei Children’s Hospital.
He collaborated with researchers from ECMC and UB’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to improve the clinical impact of medications used in transplant immunosuppression regimens.
To read the full obituary, go to medicine.buffalo.edu and search “Venuto.”