Dr. Wilkins was not only one of the major creators of the new field of Pediatric Endocrinology but he was also a major mentor of trainees of this field.
Dr. Melvin Grumbach from the University of California in San Francisco analyzed in a sensitive statement what made Dr. Wilkins a great man. He stated the following:
“Lawson was a man for all seasons, a many sided man, clinician, scientist, mentor, educator, encyclopedist, recorder, raconteur, and a pioneer who fathered and fostered the academic and clinical discipline of Pediatric Endocrinology. He cast a large shadow.
Lawson had a restless, inquiring mind, and insatiable curiosity. He was a great clinician but he was also a great scientist – not a bench scientist but a clinical investigator whose laboratory was the clinic, bedside, and operating room. Soon after founding the Endocrine Clinic at Harriet Lane Home, he recruited a series of gifted laboratory directors. They were able to bring to bear the most recent advances in laboratory techniques on the research questions at hand and served as laboratory mentors for a covey of fledgling fellows. Lawson had a profound understanding of the scientific method and the rules of evidence. A keen observer, with an extraordinary ordered mind, meticulous data collector and recorder, he instilled in all of us the importance of attention to detail whether in clinical observations or laboratory work.
Lawson was a hypothesis tester and a critical one. To convince him of the validity of a clinical or laboratory findings or the evidence in favor of particular speculation, one had to do more than one’s homework. A born doubter, his acceptance did not come easily. Parenthetically, he gave little credence to idle speculation or ideas, hypotheses, or notions that were not susceptible to testing.
Once Lawson developed an interest in a clinical problem, he explored it with great determination, commitment, and thought. He had a contagious enthusiasm and the ability to interest others skilled in the laboratory to address clinical problems. He read widely, and freely discussed the clinical issues that interested him with a wide and diverse group of scientists and clinical investigators. He was eminently approachable.
A compassionate man with a lust for life, he was intensely loyal to his fellows, “The Boys,” and took great pride in their achievements. Lawson was an indefatigable worker, but he also loved a good time. Conviviality, get-togethers usually marked by song, and weekends on the Chesapeake were an important part of his and Lu’s life. He was a wonderful informal host. Lawson hated to be alone and thrived on gregariousness.
Who can forget the twinkle in his eyes, the gentle smile, the glowing cigarette held between nicotine-stained fingers, the stentorian resonant voice, his warmth and vigor and the affection which he generated in his fellows?”
Dr. Robert Blizzard, another fellow, wrote a profile of Lawson Wilkins in the Journal of Pediatrics. He had a section on Wilkins as a teacher. He wrote the following:
“Wilkins’ accomplishments as a teacher reached their pinnacle after he joined the faculty at Hopkins in 1946. He taught orally at the bedside, in the clinic, and in the classroom and through the written word in his manuscripts. He documented, through photography and charts, the longitudinal manifestations of endocrine, metabolic, and dysmorphologic diseases; this led to “poster teaching sessions” at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meetings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Because of the favorable reception, he published this material in the first edition (1950) of his textbook entitled, The Diagnosis and Treatment of Endocrine Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence. His book excelled as a model teaching text because of the clarity of the writing and the case histories which were frequently longitudinal.
The memorable Saturday endocrinology clinics were held in the Harriet Lane Home outpatient department from 9:00am to 1:00pm and were attended by many residents, faculty members, fellows, and students. After the patients were all seen by a fellow or resident, the presentations and discussions began. As Wilkins paced back and forth across the floor in his white coat, with hands behind his back, he discussed what was known about each patient, what was known about the patient’s condition, and what was not known. As should be true of all great teachers, he welcomed thoughts, questions and comments.”
The following listing of the many fellows of Lawson Wilkins and specific comments about these fellows was written in collaboration by William Cleveland and Claude Migeon. Efforts were made to be accurate but we apologize for any error or omission.
Walter Fleischmann, Ph.D. (1938-1946) was born and educated in Vienna. His father Carl was an obstetrician, a friend of Sigmund Freud, and he delivered Anne Freud. Walter was a Ph.D. involved in research. In 1938, he was at a conference in Chicago at the time of the Munich Agreement. He was advised to stay in the United States and Lawson Wilkins gave him a job at Johns Hopkins University.
Walter was able to bring his wife and daughter, Ruth, to the US after going to Antwerp. His parents and siblings went to England when they settled. Ruth Fleischmann Weiner wrote, “In effect, Lawson Wilkins saved the lives of the Fleischmann family.”
Walter worked on the effects of various androgenic steroids on creatine metabolism in humans. He was also involved in the attempt to suppress adrenal hypersecretion by various synthetic steroids, unfortunately with effect until cortisone was used. He joined the Veteran Administration Hospital of Baltimore and, later worked in Tennessee.
Roger Lewis, M.D. (1946-1950) was involved with the clinic collaborating with colleagues who carried out several studies of thyroid function and started the treatment of children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
Eugenia Rosemberg, M.D. (1948-1950) came from Argentina and worked with Roger Lewis and Robert Klein, helping the investigation of the patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. When she left, she went to the NIH and later joined the steroid group in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts with Dr. Gregory Pincus. Dr. Gregory Pincus and Dr. M.C. Chang were the first to synthesize the combined oral contraceptive pill. Later, Eugenia established her Pediatric Endocrine Clinic at the Worchester Hospital.
Salvatore de Majo, M.D. (1948-1950) graduated from medical school in Buenos Aires. He came to learn at the clinic and the treatment of its patients. In addition, he worked with Dr. Lewis on the effects of ovariectomy on albino rats, as well as on the effects of various synthetic steroids on the rat adrenals. When he returned home, he became the director of the Pediatric Endocrine Clinic at the Hospital de Niños in Buenos Aires.
Robert Z. Klein, M.D. (1948-1950) graduated from the Harvard Medical School and had training in Pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital. He was an instructor at Johns Hopkins working in Endocrinology with Wilkins and was co-author of some of the pioneering publications about adrenal hyperplasia. He left Hopkins for the University of Pittsburgh where he established a highly regarded program in Endocrinology, continuing research and training fellows. He subsequently held professorships at Boston University and Dartmouth. He continued to make valuable contributions particularly in the area of measuring outcome in congenital hypothyroidism and its relationship to treatment. In this work, he directed the New England Congenital Hypothyroidism Collective.
Lytt Gardner, M.D. (1950-1952) was originally from North Carolina and could make the best julep in the world. He directed the laboratories at Hopkins and contributed to the work on congenital adrenal hyperplasia. He established a pediatric endocrine program at the new State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse where he remained until his death in 1986. He was succeeded by Dr. Robert A. Richman. Dr. Gardner’s life, professional career, and many valuable contributions have been described by Dr. Mary L. Voorhees (former fellow), and includes a notable list of pediatric endocrinologists trained by Gardner. His work resulted in a highly respected textbook, Endocrine and Genetic Diseases of Childhood and Adolescence.
John F. Crigler, Jr., M.D. (1950-1951) was a member of the house staff at Johns Hopkins. Prior to joining the Wilkins group, he was co-author of many of the early papers on treatment of adrenal hyperplasia with cortisone. He then went to Boston Children’s Hospital as a member of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School. He established a very productive endocrinology division. His training program included 70 fellows from all over the world. John remained in this position until his retirement.
Claude J. Migeon, M.D. (1950-1952) completed his medical education and pediatric residency in Paris, France. A Fulbright Fellowship brought him to Lawson Wilkins for two years. After three very productive years with Leo T. Samuels in Salt Lake City studying cortisol secretion and metabolism in humans, he returned to Johns Hopkins, and stayed there for the rest of his long career. In 1960, he was named the Co-Director of the Pediatric Endocrine Clinic with Robert Blizzard and was named Director in 1974 until 1994. During these 30 years, he had many fellows from the US and abroad.
John Money, Ph.D. (1951) led a group studying the psychologic factors involved in pediatric endocrine disorders. Other valuable contributions to this group came from the John and Joan Hampson. When John Money was asked how he came to Johns Hopkins, he responded as follows:
“In 1949-1950, as a graduate student at Harvard, I had a student appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital, writing a dissertation on the psychosexuality of hermaphroditism. Fuller Albright and Fred Bartter arranged for me to meet Lawson Wilkins when he attended the American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Meeting in Boston and gave his popular workshop on the adrenogenital syndrome of female pseudohermaphroditism. The efficacy of cortisone, newly synthesized for the treatment of the syndrome was simultaneously confirmed at MGH and Johns Hopkins in the first week of 1950.
Lawson and I got along well professionally, perhaps because I had already resolved to use pediatric not psychoanalytic English. He approved my request to visit Hopkins to abstract psychological information from the files of patients whose cases had been published by hospital number, and to interview maybe one or two of them for my dissertation. When the written letter of invitation arrived however, it was to invite me to work in the pediatric endocrine clinic full-time. I began in July 1951.
It has always seemed remarkable to me that this very pragmatic, chart-making man, not much given to psychologizing, should have had the prescience to recognize that he was on to something basically very important psychologically in treating people with hormones.
Although I was not a postdoctoral fellow in Pediatric Endocrinology, Lawson Wilkins provided me, especially at the famed Saturday clinic, with as much Pediatric Endocrinology as I needed to become the first pediatric psychoendocrinologist. Here resides the outstanding feature of his intellectual and academic grandeur as it most personally affected me.
I think that Lawson Wilkins metaphorically adopted all of his trainees, his “boys” (this was not the age of equal opportunity), as substitutes for his only son whom he lost at age 16 in a postal truck auto accident. Double-twisting the helix, he had also himself become a stand in for his son, starting a new career as if on his son’s behalf. Confronting his loss, he gave up general pediatrics and became a full time pediatric endocrinologist. In a sense, he was on an equal footing with his fellows as one of us, not an overbearing father, but a Socratic teacher.”
Sam Silverman, M.D. (1951-1952) was interested only in clinical studies. He got involved with the special form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the hypertensive form and the salt-losing form. He also studied “Precocious Adrenarche.” He left Baltimore to go into practice at Pediatric Endocrinology in New Jersey.
Alfred M. Bongiovanni, M.D. (1952-1955) and Walter Eberlein, M.D. (1952-1953) became well known for their contributions to the study of abnormal secretion of adrenal steroids in the various forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. They returned to Philadelphia to establish a Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. Eventually, Dr. Bongiovanni became Professor and Chairman at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1972. Following this, he became an itinerant professor holding posts at the University of Ife, Nigeria, Cairo, and the Catholic University of Ponce-de-Leon in Puerto Rico. He later became Dean of this school. He then returned to the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1980 where he remained until his death in 1984.
George W. Clayton, M.D. (1952-1954) helped Dr. Bongiovanni as shown by a series of publications. Clayton returned to his beloved Texas where he established a program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He was Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Endocrine Division until his retirement. He moved to Galveston and his principal activities relate to fishing, traveling, and his ongoing interest in the history of the Civil War.
Melvin M. Grumbach, M.D. (1953-1955) was busy and very productive. He made a team with Dr. Judson Van Wyk, so their publications were conjoint. The main contributions were related to the study of sex chromosomes in ovarian agenesis and a genetic study of congenital adrenal hyperplasia with Dr. Barton Childs.
He left Baltimore to head a division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Babies Hospital in New York. Among the many fellows he trained, one of the most outstanding was Selna Kaplan. When Dr. Grumbach moved to a position at the University of California at San Francisco, Selna went with him. An outstanding Division has flourished as a result of their efforts. Many leading endocrinologists have been trained in their program.
Mel became chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at UCSF until his retirement. Distinguished colleagues have included Selna, Felix Conte, and Walter L. Miller.
Judson J. Van Wyk, M.D. (1953-1955) was one of Wilkins’s most devoted disciples. Jud was involved with Grumbach and Bongiovanni in lab work during his fellowship. He left for the University of North Carolina, where he started a vigorous Clinic of Pediatric Endocrinology. His colleagues at UNC included Frank French, Joseph D’Ercole, and more recently Louis Underwood who assumed direction of the Division. Dr. Van Wyk trained many fellows including Dr. Stockholm. He made many important contributions, particularly in his work relating to somatomedin (IGF-1) as a growth factor.
Thomas H. Shepard, M.D. (1954-1955) moved to Seattle after completion of a year with Wilkins where he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Washington. He directed a division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital from 1956-1961. He developed an interest in embryology and teratology; studies in this area became the main focus of his career. After a year as a research associate in embryology in the Department of Anatomy, University of Florida College of Medicine, he spent another 6 months in the Fetal Laboratory, University of Copenhagen with Dr. Henning Anderson.
Upon his return to Seattle, he continued his academic career and headed a Birth Defects Research Laboratory for 30 years. He became Emeritus Professor in 1993. He published extensively – some reports involving Endocrinology but most related to embryology and teratology.
Robert M. Blizzard, M.D. (1955-1957) was destined to play a major role in the Harriet Lane program and in Pediatric Endocrinology. After his training, he left Hopkins to direct a division at Ohio State in Columbus. Upon Wilkins’s retirement in 1960, Bob was chosen to succeed him as Clinical Director of the Harriet Lane Program with Claude Migeon as Laboratory Director. He was asked to serve as acting Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Hopkins following the departure of Dr. Robert Cooke. He did this for 15 months until the position was taken over by Dr. Littlefield.
Later, Bob was recruited to the Chairmanship of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, a position which he held until his retirement. During his tenure as chairman, he maintained a productive career in Endocrinology, working with outstanding colleagues including Alan Rogol and Anne Johanson. In his “retirement,” he remains very productive with many roles including chairmanship of the Board of the Genentech Foundation.
Gerald H. Holman, M.D. (1956-1958) became a peripatetic professor after completing his residency and fellowship at Hopkins. He spent 1958-1961 in Saskatoon and 1961-1964 in Kansas City. From 1964-1969, he was Professor and Chairman at the Medical College of Georgia. From 1969-1974, he was Professor and Head of Pediatrics at the University of Calgary. From 1974-1975, he was Professor and Chairman at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine. From 1975-1979, he was Dean at Norfolk. He then went to Amarillo, Texas and held various administrative and faculty positions there, including directing a division of Pediatric Endocrinology. In these various situations, he participated in a prestigious number of programs and committees. His publications are expectedly wide ranging including Endocrinology, nutrition, ethics, and the social aspects of medical care.
Robert Stempfel, M.D. (1956-1958) went from the training program to appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, Duke University, School of Medicine as director of Pediatric Endocrinology. He maintained a clinical and laboratory program until his recruitment to the Chairmanship of Pediatrics at the newly established University of California School of Medicine at Davis. His involvement in Endocrinology there was somewhat peripheral. He recruited Dr. Bagher Sheikholislam to his faculty; Bagher continues in the program there. In 1971, Stempfel was enticed to come to Miami as Director of the Mailman Center for Child Development, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Chairman. He maintained this position until 1995. During his tenure he became heavily involved in the political aspects of child care in the State of Florida and represented the School of Medicine, University of Miami, in Tallahassee in legislative matters. After giving up directorship of the Center he moved from Miami to Key Largo and maintained his political representation until 1995 when he retired completely. He wasable to devote his full attention to his abiding interest in fishing in the Keys and the Bahamas.
Orville C. Green, M.D. (1957-1960) left Baltimore to establish a program at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He maintained a flourishing Division, productive both in research and training until his retirement. He currently spends winters in Sarasota and summers in Wilmette and Nantucket. Among his trainees was Dr. Robert Winters who has succeeded Orville in the direction of the Division. When asked about Lawson Wilkins, Orville recalled two statements made by Wilkins:
“Never take money from a drug company – take their products for experimentation if they seem worthwhile but never take money – they will never get off your back.”
“The clinical use of the science of endocrinology is to diagnose and treat conditions of excess and deficiency.” Orville adds, “I think this basic principle should be reaffirmed.”
Gloria Steward, M.D. (1957) left the program after 6 months.
David H. Mosier Jr., M.D. (1955-1957) was from Kansas. He went to the University of Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins Medical School. After a Pediatric Residency at the University of Southern California, he came back to Hopkins as a fellow in Pediatric Endocrinology with Wilkins. Afterwards, he returned to California, where he was named Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine. As head of the Division of Endocrinology, he has been active in experimental and clinical research of the various problems influencing growth.
David W. Smith, M.D. (1955-1956) spent two years in the United States Army after completing his residency in Pediatrics. He returned after two years to complete one year of fellowship with Wilkins in Endocrinology. He then spent a year in practice in Los Gatos, California before accepting a faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin. He established an Endocrinology training program producing third generation fellows including Dr. Arlan Rosenbloom. He then took a sabbatical in Zurich and became interested in genetics. Like his mentor, he then proceeded to pioneer a new field, dysmorphology, and published the definitive text on the subject: “Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation” which has continued as the authoritative compendium of dysmorphic syndromes. In 1966, he moved to the University of Washington where he remained as Professor of Pediatrics until his untimely death at the age of 55 years. His character and contributions are described in an introduction to a Festschrift issue of the Journal of Pediatrics in 1982.
William W. Cleveland, M.D. (1958-1961) left the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Miami to come to Johns Hopkins as fellow with Lawson Wilkins. He worked diligently with patients and wrote several papers. William was also a close friend; he and his wife were our witnesses at my marriage to Barbara in 1960.
Cleveland returned to his faculty position at the fledgling School of Medicine, University of Miami. He continued to direct a Division of Endocrinology for the ensuing 36 years. During twenty of those years (1969-1989), he was also Chairman of the rapidly expanding Department of Pediatrics.
Malcolm M. Martin, M.D. (1958-1959) was originally from England. He helped review the question of pituitary dwarfism. He then went to Georgetown University in Washington D.C. where he directed the endocrine clinic.
Raphael David, M.D. (1958-1962) was educated in the French system of Cairo. He migrated to the United States and was a Hopkins pediatric resident before joining the clinic of Lawson Wilkins. At the time of Wilkins’s first heart attack, Ralph was his constant companion in the Marburg Building. With time, they grew very friendly.
Ralph has devoted his career to an excellent Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine at New York University. His program has been highly productive in training and research. As might be expected from his urbane nature, he is a confirmed and enthusiastic New Yorker.
David Alexander, M.D. (1958-1960) was originally from Scotland. He did his pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins. After residency, he joined the Pediatric Endocrine Clinic. Following one year of clinical work, he went with his Scottish countryman Dr. Malcolm Ferguson-Smith in cytogenetics. Malcolm was an expert in the investigation of karyotypes in patients. Another notable accomplishment during training of David was to marry Jean, another Hopkins pediatric resident. They moved to Kingston, Ontario from Baltimore where they have maintained practices, David in Endocrinology and Jean in child development.
Cesar Bergada, M.D. (1959-1961) and his wife Estela came from prominent families in Buenos Aires. Cesar worked with Dr. Salvador de Majo and Dr. Martin Cullen. Cesar and Estela met Lawson when Lawson and his family visited South America in 1957. As a fellow, Cesar was involved in the study of DSD (intersex) patients in collaboration with Dr. Howard Jones in Gynecology
Upon completion of his training in Baltimore, Cesar returned to Buenos Aires to establish an endocrine division at the Hospital de Niños R. Gutierrez, which he directed for more than three decades. Cesar was recognized as one of the outstanding pediatric endocrinologists in South America. He has trained many endocrinologists, including his own son and Marco Rivarola.
Thomas Aceto Jr., M.D. (1960-1962) left the army in 1960 to join the training program at Hopkins, along with Alvro Camacho and Fritz Kenny. After that, he went to the Children’s Hospital of University of Buffalo. Then he became the Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota at Sioux Falls. His next promotion was as Medical Director of the Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital at St. Louis University. Unfortunately, Thomas developed Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2009.
Frederic M. Kenny, M.D. (1960-1962) graduated from Princeton. He attended Hopkins for medical school and pediatric resident training. He married Jean, a colleague in resident training. For two years (1958-1960) he was Pediatrician in Chief at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Annapolis.
In 1960, he returned to Hopkins for two very busy years in Pediatric Endocrinology. Next, he moved to the Children’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh. There, he took the place of Dr. Robert Klein and worked at a very large diabetic clinic, which attracted other Hopkins fellows, Dr. Alan Drash and Dr. Dorothy Becker. Unfortunately, Fritz battled with depression and ended his own life in 1978.
Wellington Hung, M.D. (1960-1962) did most of his training and spent most of his life in Washington D.C. at American University, the Medical School of George Washington University, and the Children’s Hospital of D.C.
After two years at Hopkins doing clinical research, he returned to Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center, Washington D.C.
During his stay at Hopkins, he had learned about thyroidology from Dr. Robert Blizzard, and he became an expert in this field.
Along with colleagues Dr. August and Dr. Glasgow, he wrote a succinct book of Pediatric Endocrinology.
Dagfinn Aarskog, M.D. (1962-1963) did his undergraduate and medical school studies in Norway at the University of Oslo and Bergen, respectively. He did his pediatric training at the University of Bergen prior to coming to Baltimore. Upon his return to Norway, he became Professor and Chairman of the University of Bergen in 1971. In 1984, he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Dagfinn contributed greatly to the field of Pediatric Endocrinology, including describing the Aarskog Syndrome.
John Spaulding, M.D. (1962-1963) was a fellow for only one year during which he contributed to the study of patients with the rare problem of unresponsiveness of the adrenals to ACTH. After his fellowship, he rejoined the University of Kansas Medical Center where he directed the clinic of Pediatric Endocrinology.
JoAnne Brasel, M.D. (1962-1965) was a lovely lady who lived her life fighting a slow progressive, disabling neurological problem. She went to medical school at the University of Colorado and did her residency at Cornell University.
From 1962 to 1965, she joined the Hopkins Pediatric Endocrinology program and joined the staff in 1968. She became interested in growth and development research, working successively at Cornell, Columbia, and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She was in charge of the training program at Harbor-UCLA. When she died in 2007, we lost a great scientist and a wonderful friend.
Jordan Finkelstein, M.D. (1961-1963) spent two years at Hopkins. He worked with Dr. Kowarski on the determination of aldosterone secretion in rats in various conditions. Particularly, the study of patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia showed that all of them have a salt-losing tendency, but those who had a milder mutation of their 21-hydroxylase gene could compensate with increased aldosterone secretion, therefore avoiding salt-loss. In contrast, the patients with severe mutations could not compensate and were salt-losers. Jordan returned to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.
A. Avinoam Kowarski, M.D. (1962-1965) was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. He started medical school in Lausanne, Switzerland and finished at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After three years as fellow at Hopkins and two years at Hadassah University Hospital, he returned to the pediatric endocrine clinic, where he was involved with laboratory research. In 1981, he opened the Pediatric Endocrine Clinic at the University of Maryland.
Gordon Kennedy, M.D. (1951-1952) came from Cambridge, England, with the purpose to see the function of the Pediatric Endocrine Clinic. He was an expert on experimental brain lesions to rats which resulted in increased appetite and gross obesity.
José Cara, M.D. (1951-1952) came from Argentina. He was interested in clinical work and eventually joined Lytt Gardner at Syracuse. José’s son was also an endocrinologist.
Other doctors from abroad were truly involved in all the activities of the Clinic. The first was Dr. Jean Bertrand (1955-1956) from Lyon, France. We became close friends and after his return home, he went to join me in Stockholm to help me at the Karolinska Hospital where we worked with Dr. Carl Gemzell on the transplacental passage of steroids. Bernadette Loras, M.D. (1962-1964), Maguelone Forest, M.D., and José Saez, M.D. were three pupils of Jean Bertrand who worked in his laboratories.
Raphael Rappaport, M.D. (1960-1961) came from the Hopital de Enfants Malades and then returned home to create an important clinic. Paul Malvaux, M.D. (1961-1962) came from Louvain and similarly returned to his institution to be the Director of Pediatric Endocrinology. Both of them returned to Johns Hopkins to help with the clinical load when Dr. Blizzard was temporary Chief of Pediatrics.
Some doctors who had not been fellows felt that Wilkins was their mentor. For example, Andrea Prader of Zurich, Switzerland, the founder of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology, wrote the following:
“Because Lawson had the greatest impact on my training as a clinician and clinical investigator, I add a personal note regarding Lawson. He, along with Guido Fanconi, stimulated my interests in endocrinology, metabolism, genetics, and growth. Both were superb clinicians and forceful and enthusiastic teachers.
Their scientific contributions were not the results of systematic laboratory research in the framework of a sophisticated research program, but the offshoots of very careful clinical observations combined with a deep interest in the patient and his problems. They used charts to follow the courses of diseases and the growth of patients. They recognized important disease aspects not noted by others, were able to add new insights into many diseases, and offered challenging new speculations.”
This was the same for Henning Anderson of Denmark. Henning had a special relationship with Lawson. When they were together, Lawson and Henning considered themselves as Vikings and Harold the Blue Tooth was one of their ancestors.
Another important admirer of Lawson Wilkins was Professor Alfred Jost, head of the Laboratory of Comparative Physiology, Faculty of Sciences at the University of Paris. After Wilkins’s death in 1963, Dr. Jost gave the fourth Lawson Wilkins Memorial Lecture on April 26, 1971. On that occasion, he wrote about meeting Lawson Wilkins:
“On my return from Mexico, I visited several eminent American experts in the field on sex differentiation in animals. The first stop was in Baltimore, where I was to meet world-famous scientists at the Department of Biology of The Johns Hopkins University and at the Department of Embryology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Dr. Robert K. Burns an Associate in Embryology was very friendly to me during this visit, and he suggested that I should meet at The Johns Hopkins Hospital a clinician by the name of Dr. Lawson Wilkins, who was interested in problems of human genital anomalies. Dr. Burns made the appointment for the early afternoon, and thus I was introduced to Lawson Wilkins. He was 55, I was 33; he was a well-known clinician, I was not even a doctor of medicine. He calmly and patiently followed my description of the rabbit experiments, looking at the rabbit pictures, asked many pertinent questions, and listened to the interpretations proposed for human anomalies. Then he submitted me to a keen clinical examination. I had to comment on the illustrations and reports concerning clinical cases. I thus had the privilege of being among the very first ones who saw the cases later to appear in the first edition of “The Diagnosis and Treatment of Endocrine Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence.” But not only did I have to look at pictures, I was asked for interpretations which were coldly evaluated and screened. Also, I was introduced to extremely important clinical experiments, for instance, those concerning the absence of sensitivity to androgens of “hairless women with testes.”
Several of the fellows from abroad attended the daily clinics of Lawson Wilkins, including Constantine Papadatos, M.D. (1955) from Athens, Greece, Edouard Juillard, M.D. (1955) from Lausanne, Switzerland, John Gerrard, M.D. (1956) and Donald Delahaye, M.D. (1956) from Canada, Fouad Hamaoui, M.D. (1956) from Beirut, Lebanon, Jean-Luc de Gennes, M.D. (1957) from Paris, France, Enrico Delanto, M.D. (1959) from Mexico, Marija Nikesic, M.D. (1960) from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, John Eckert, M.D. (1961) from Australia, and Morato Marano, M.D. (1962) from Montevideo, Uruguay.
A bibliography can be found in Additional file 1.