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Medical historian/hematologist, Dr. Richard Davis, dies

Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., a longtime faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, died Nov. 17 from cardiac causes at Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis. He was 84.

 


 

A hematologist, Dr. Davis served on the UNMC faculty from 1969 until his retirement in 1994. He was director of the Special Coagulation Laboratory at UNMC from 1970-1987 and director of the Nebraska Regional Hemophilia Center from 1983-1986. From 1979 to 1982, Dr. Davis served as head of the section of hematology in the department of internal medicine.

In 2008, his interest in the history of medicine led to his establishing the Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., History of Medicine Lectureship at the McGoogan Library of Medicine at UNMC. The annual lectureship, which brings in nationally known speakers to address the process of scientific discovery, has been held twice. Topics covered include the social and therapeutic history of syphilis and significant discoveries in blood coagulation that led to new medical treatments.

“The history of medicine is alive and well at UNMC thanks to Dr. Davis,” said Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D., director of the McGoogan Library of Medicine. “Dr. Davis understood that medical history is not simply an academic pastime. Using examples of significant discoveries, he hoped to create an appreciation of the challenges faced by physicians and scientists as they work to cure disease and solve research puzzles, sometimes with very limited information.”

Robert Wigton, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education in the UNMC College of Medicine, recognized Dr. Davis for being among the early physicians to join the UNMC faculty on a full-time basis. He too remembered Dr. Davis for his passion for medical history and his special interest in researching the hereditary hemophilia that afflicted European royal families.

Dr. Davis, who is a native of Iowa City, published more than 90 articles on hematology topics in scientific journals.

A World War II veteran who served overseas, Dr. Davis earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University. He received his medical degree from the University of Iowa in 1953 and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1964.

He did his residency training in internal medicine in Burlington, Vt., and at the University of Minnesota. From 1964-1965, he served as visiting investigator at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and at the M.R.C. Blood Coagulation Research Unit, both in Oxford, England.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Jean, of Minneapolis; daughters, Janet (James) Brophy and Catharine (Dan) Reed, M.D., both of Minneapolis; and son, Stephen (Karen) Davis, M.D., Longwood, Fla.; and nine grandchildren.

A private memorial service will be held Friday in Minneapolis.

-end- metroMAGAZINE

 

 

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