Popper, Hans (Hans Philipp)

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Popper, Hans (Hans Philipp)

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1903-1988

History

Hans Popper, M.D., Ph.D. (1903-1988) was a distinguished hepatologist and a central figure in the twentieth-century history of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. He was born in Vienna in 1903, and during the 1920s and 1930s he rose quickly through the medical ranks of his native city, working as a research assistant to the pioneering pathologist Dr. Hans Eppinger. In March 1938, as a consequence of the Nazi annexation of Austria, he was dismissed from his post at the University of Vienna. He accepted a research fellowship in pathology at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, where he quickly distinguished himself. In 1943 he was appointed Director of Pathology at the hospital; later that year he became a United States citizen. He continued an active research program in addition to his administrative duties, helping to establish the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research, and in 1944 he was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois with a dissertation on the use of fluorescence microscopy to study Vitamin A. During the Second World War he served in the U.S. Army as a surgical pathologist, eventually rising to the rank of Major. In 1950 he helped convene the first conference of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, which he would serve as President in 1962, and in 1958 he became a founder of the International Association for the Study of the Liver, which he served as President the following year. In 1957, he was recruited to succeed Dr. Paul Klemperer as chief pathologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He would spend the rest of his career at Mount Sinai and would contribute greatly to the growth and development of the institution. In 1967 he was elected President of the Medical Board. He was a major proponent of the creation of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which was chartered in 1963 and admitted its first cohort of students in 1968. In 1965 he was appointed the school's first Dean for Academic Affairs, and in 1968 he was invested as the first Irene Heinz Given and John Laporte Given Chairman and Professor of Pathology. Dr. Popper was intimately involved with all aspects of the School of Medicine, which he saw as a place to advance the teaching of medicine by training students who were simultaneously well-rounded and specialized. During this period he published extensively on his vision of the modern medical curriculum and its implementation at Mount Sinai, including an important article outlining what came to be known as the Mount Sinai Concept of medical education. With the unexpected death of Dr. George James on March 19, 1972, Dr. Popper became interim President of The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Acting Dean of the School of Medicine, serving for a year prior to the recruitment of Dr. Thomas Chalmers as a permanent successor to Dean James. In 1973 Dr. Popper retired from teaching and administration. He spent that year in Bethesda, Maryland as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, which gave him an opportunity to reinvigorate his love of research. For the remaining fifteen years of his life he devoted himself to liver research, spending 70-hour weeks in the lab and becoming, in his own words, {esc}(3z{esc}(Ba general practitioner of the human liver.{esc}(3y {esc}(Bduring this period he kept up an extensive schedule of travel and correspondence, presenting at nearly every major hepatological conference and corresponding with his colleagues at other institutions, who would often send him slide samples and case reports for his comments. In 1977 he was invested as Mount Sinai's first Gustave Levy Distinguished Service Professor. Over the course of his career, Dr. Popper published over 800 scientific papers and wrote 28 books. He passed away in 1988.

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