Published May 25, 2012
John P. Naughton, MD, the longest-serving dean in the history of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, died May 21. He was 79.
Naughton was dean for 21 years and vice president for clinical affairs for the last 12 of those years.
He is credited with elevating the national stature of the medical school, dramatically reshaping UB’s relationship with its affiliated teaching hospitals and improving the university’s ties with the Western New York medical community.
Naughton was one of the key players in establishing UB’s innovative consortium of teaching hospitals—a model that subsequently garnered national attention as a new approach to medical education.
Under his guidance, the school instituted aggressive new approaches to medical training for underrepresented groups and placed a renewed emphasis on programs in primary care medicine.
Naughton also developed the UB Faculty Management Plan, the precursor of UBMD, the university’s physician practice plan.
Naughton served as professor of medicine and dean for academic affairs at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences before coming to UB in 1975 as dean and professor of medicine.
In 1984, he assumed the duties of vice president for clinical affairs. In 1985, he was named professor of physiology.
Naughton was an internationally known cardiologist with expertise in exercise and the prevention of coronary heart disease.
He developed the Naughton Treadmill Protocol used in exercise testing.
Naughton was a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine—which he served as president—the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Physicians.
Author of two books and more than 125 scientific publications, he served as editor and a member of the editorial boards of a number of professional journals.
A graduate of St. Louis University, Naughton received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.
“John often reflected on a medical school rotation he did with a rural GP who knew all of his patients, cared for them all like family and read every medical journal he could get his hands on,” recalled Thomas C. Rosenthal, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine.
“He wanted all UB grads to be like that doctor, and he applied these same standards to everything he did. His efforts led to the school rising in national prominence among academic medical centers.”
After stepping down as dean in 1996, Naughton returned to the UB faculty as a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, where he also served as interim chair from 1993 until retiring in 2009.
In 1997, he received the Charles P. Norton Medal, UB’s highest award, given to individuals whose accomplishments have greatly added to the prestige of the city of Buffalo and the university.
“I am saddened by John Naughton’s death, as I felt a connection to him as soon as I arrived at UB,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“Not only did John welcome me into a deanship he had held for so many remarkable years, but he was dean of the George Washington Medical School when I graduated there, and he handed me my medical degree at commencement.
“John was also a member of our UB community when I undertook the role of vice president, another position he filled capably for 12 years of his deanship. It is with poignancy that I salute the end of a life that witnessed so many of my own life’s beginnings.”
Naughton is survived by his beloved partner, Nancy Glieco, a retired medical school staff member; four sons, George, Michael, Thomas and Bruce Naughton, MD, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Geriatrics; two daughters, Marsha Lutostanski and Lisa Bolten; a brother, Joseph M.; and a sister, Anne F. Edlefson.