Hodes, Horace L. (Horace Louis)

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Hodes, Horace L. (Horace Louis)

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Horace L. Hodes, MD served for many years as Director of the Pediatrics Department at The Mount Sinai Hospital and as Herbert H. Lehman Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Dr. Hodes was born in Philadelphia in 1907. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his BA there in 1927 and his MD in 1931. While still in medical school, he and his classmate Milton Rapoport published a groundbreaking paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry demonstrating that the main function of Vitamin D was to increase absorption of calcium in the intestine. He interned at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he served as Chief Resident Physician from 1934 to 1935.
In 1935, Dr. Hodes became Director of Dispensary at the Harriet Lane Home of Johns Hopkins Hospital. The following year he developed a method for neutralizing the infectiousness of viruses using ultraviolet light, which became the basis of commercial rabies and influenza vaccines. While working at the Harriet Lane Home he met Helen Zepp, AB, a bacteriologist who would collaborate with him throughout his career.
In 1938, Dr. Hodes became Pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as Medical Director of Sydenham Hospital in Baltimore. An outbreak of infant diarrhea in 1942 led him to isolate and describe the first known cause of viral diarrhea in human beings, today known as the rotavirus. During the Second World War he served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Guam, where he demonstrated the mosquito-borne transmission of Japanese B. encephalitis.
Dr. Hodes resumed his positions in Baltimore after the war. In addition to his research and clinical duties, he taught Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins medical school, Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical School, and lectured in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene.
In 1949 Dr. Hodes was recruited to join The Mount Sinai Hospital as Director of Pediatrics. He invited his collaborator Helen Zepp to join him, and both would remain at Mount Sinai for the remainder of their careers. From 1951 to 1952 Dr. Hodes served as President of the Society for Pediatric Research. He conducted important polio research, demonstrating the presence of distinct polio antibodies in human milk and human serum, and was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics panel that testified before Congress on the efficacy of the Salk vaccine. In 1953 Hodes established the Jack Martin Polio Respirator Center at Mount Sinai. The first such facility in the City, it cared for adults as well as children and was closed in 1960. In 1962, ten years prior to Dr. Hodes' expected retirement date of 1972, then Chairman of the Board of Trustees Gustave L. Levy personally appealed to him to delay his retirement until 1976 so that he could oversee the continued expansion of the Pediatrics Department.
With the creation of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the 1960s Dr. Hodes became the first Herbert H. Lehman Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics. In 1966 he was responsible for recruiting Kurt Hirschhorn, MD, an internist at New York University, to establish a Division of Genetics within the Department of Pediatrics. This eventually became Mount Sinai's Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences.
Dr. Hodes served the American Pediatric Society as President from 1974 to 1975 and was honored in 1975 with a festschrift issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, the second such issue in what was then the journal's 44-year history. He retired from clinical practice in 1976, becoming Director Emeritus of the Department of Pediatrics, but continued an active teaching and research career, doing important work on endotoxin. He died in 1989.


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