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Baumgarten family

  • Family
  • 1840-

The Baumgarten family was a German-American family who settled in St. Louis in 1850 and had great influence on the local medical profession with its members practicing medicine across four generations. It began with Frederick (1810-1869), and passed down through succeeding sons in the next three generations with Gustav (1837-1910), Walter Sr. (1873-1945), and Walter Jr. (1912-1980).

Born in Nordheim, Germany, Friedrich Ernst Baumgarten was a German-American physician who emigrated to the United States in the 1840s, settling in St. Louis in 1850. He received his medical degree from the University of Gottingen in 1831, and became a mining surgeon in in the town of Clausthal in the Harz Mountains. After earning another degree from the University of Jena in 1844, Friedrich became interested in the prospect of a better life in the United States. He left his family for Galveston, Texas and attempted to establish a medical practice there, but yellow fever epidemics pushed him to settle further north. In 1850, Friedrich (now known as Frederick) came to St. Louis and found it to his liking due to the growing German immigrant community, so he sent for his wife and children to move in with him. The family settled in 1851, and Frederick became an American citizen in 1852. However, his wife could not adjust to life in America so she soon moved back to Germany with their daughters while their son, Gustav, remained behind with his father. During his career in St. Louis, Frederick emphasized his medical interest in obstetrics, but carried on a successful practice with patients with a variety of backgrounds and medical afflictions. He was a founding member of the German Medical Society of St. Louis and participated in the St. Louis Medical Society, the St. Louis Academy of Science, and the Masonic Order.

The son of Frederick Baumgarten, Gustav joined his father with the rest of his family in St. Louis as a young teenager. He enrolled in E. Wyman's English and Classical High School. Like his father, Gustav was interested in medicine and earned a medical degree from St. Louis Medical College in 1856 with a thesis on nutrition. After graduating at 19 years old, he was not yet ready to practice medicine so he returned to his native country in 1857 to spend a year at the University of Gottingen in its Ernst-Augustus Hospital. Gustav also spent a year at the University of Berlin, working at nearby clinics and studying under Rudolph Virchow, the leading authority in cellular pathology at the time. He then spent a third year in Europe, studying at the University of Vienna and working at clinics in both Vienna and Prague. Upon his return to St. Louis, Gustav entered practice with his father, seeing patients at St. Louis Sisters of Charity and City Hospital. During the Civil War, he served as a naval surgeon in the Union Navy throughout the Gulf Coast and at the Memphis Naval Hospital. After the war, Gustav's German fiance joined him in St. Louis for marriage and family, raising three children as his medical practice took off. While he was a private physician for the rest of his career, Gustav was active in the local and national medical communities. He was a co-editor of the St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal in 1866, contributed articles to the Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences (1885), and served as president of the Association of American Physicians in 1899. In addition, Gustav joined the faculty at St. Louis Medical College in 1871 as a professor of physiology and medical jurisprudence and later professor of special pathology and therapeutics. He was a significant figure in the medical college's independence from St. Louis University in 1872 and its affiliation with Washington University in 1891, along with the college's merger with Missouri Medical College to become Washington University Medical Department in 1899-1900. He also served as the dean of the school during the merger. He passed down his medical practice to his son Walter in the early 1900s, and died in 1910 after a prolonged illness.

Walter Baumgarten, Sr. followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps into medicine after earning an A.B. degree from Johns Hopkins University and a medical degree from St. Louis Medical College in 1896. Walter Sr. spent his early medical career throughout the country, serving assistantships at St. Louis City Hospital, Harvard University, and Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1903, he returned to St. Louis to enter private practice at his father's medical practice and also began teaching in 1907 as a lecturer in chemistry and microscopy at Washington University. Walter Sr. became an instructor in medicine at Washington University in 1917 and remained in the position until 1943. He was a councilor of the Southern Medical Association, an editor of the Missouri State Medical Journal, a fellow in the American College of Physicians, and a member of various local and national medical societies. Walter Sr. married in 1910 and raised three children, but died in a fire at his home in 1945 while his elder son, Walter Jr., was returning from WWII.

As the fourth and final member of the Baumgarten family to practice medicine in St. Louis, Walter Jr., was a doctor of internal medicine from 1946 to his death in 1980. He graduated from John Burroughs School in St. Louis, and received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Washington University. Between 1939 and 1942, Walter Jr. served internships and residencies in St. Louis and Chicago. He then became a flight surgeon with the United States Army Air Force until August 1945. After WWII, Walter Jr. spent his medical career as a staff surgeon at St. Luke's and Barnes Hospitals, and taught clinical medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. Along with his work in surgery and medical education, Walter Jr. served as president of the St. Louis Heart Association and the Missouri Heart Association, and as the chairman of the social planning council of St. Louis Department of Health and Hospitals. In 1967, he became the head of the medical staff at St. Luke's Hospital, and helped establish a hospice for terminally ill patients at the hospital. Walter Jr. was also known for his passion in historic preservation, having acted as trustee for the Jefferson National Expansion Historical Association and a member of the Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. He made the history of medicine and collection of rare medical texts a special field of study, and was a chairman of the Library for the St. Louis Medical Society, which named him as honorary curator in 1964.

Johnson, John B., 1817-1903

  • Person
  • 1817-1903

John B. Johnson (Bates) (1817-1903) was the first physician to be elected vice president of the American Medical Association. A Massachusetts native, Johnson received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from Berkshire Medical College in 1840. Johnson settled in St. Louis in 1841 and soon gained prominence for establishing the first public dispensary west of the Mississippi River. He began his teaching career in 1846 at Kemper Medical College, which later became Missouri Medical College.

In 1850, Johnson was one of the organizers of the AMA, which he was voted as their inaugural vice president in the same year. He also was one of the founders of the Missouri State Medical Association, and served one term as president in 1852. The Medical Department of St. Louis University, hired him in 1854 to become the chair of principles and practice of medicine. In 1955 The Medical Department of St. Louis University became independent institution, the St. Louis Medical College. During the Civil War, he was a member of the United States Sanitary Commission and was influential in raising funds for the care of the sick and wounded soldiers. After the war, Johnson continued to practice medicine in St. Louis until his death in 1903.

Berg, Leonard

  • Person
  • 1927-2007

As a leading figure in the study of Alzheimer's disease, Leonard Berg's contributions to the field of neurology are immense. Berg's intellectual acumen was evident early in his life. Born in St. Louis on July 17, 1927, he graduated from high school at the age of 15 and earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Washington University before he turned 22. He held internships and residencies at Barnes Hospital, the Neurological Institute in New York, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, before joining the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in 1955. Berg taught in the Neurology Department of Washington University while also maintaining a private practice with Irwin Levy, Professor of Clinical Neurology at Washington University.

Through the course of his research, Berg developed a test to differentiate early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease from normal aging. The Clinical Dementia Rating is now the international standard for diagnosing and assessing Alzheimer's disease. In 1979, Berg began the Memory and Aging Project, a long-term study of Alzheimer's patients that followed more than 3,000 volunteers over 30 years and showed researchers that Alzheimer's disease affects the brain decades before symptoms appear. With the help of two major grants from the National Institute on Aging, the Memory and Aging Project morphed into the Healthy Aging and Senile Dementia program and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, both still operating at Washington University. Berg served as director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center until his retirement in 1998.

In addition to his groundbreaking research, Berg also, at various times, headed the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Missouri State Advisory Board on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders, and the National Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council. He also served on a Congressional Advisory Panel on Alzheimer's Disease. Berg died on January 15, 2007, following a stroke.

David P. Wohl, Jr., Memorial—Washington University Clinics

  • Corporate body
  • 1960-Present

Mrs. David P. Wohl and Chancellor Ethan A.H. Shepley laid the cornerstone for the David P. Wohl, Jr. Memorial Clinic, Washington University School of Medicine on November 2, 1960 (Creation). The Wohl Clinic dedication ceremony occurred in 1961 (Creation). In the 1978-1979 bulletin & 1995-1996 bulletin, the name of the clinic was still David P. Wohl, Jr., Memorial—Washington University Clinics. By 2000 the official name of the 10 story Wohl Clinics Building changed slightly with the addition of Outpatient to Washington University Outpatient Clinics. A shortened version is Wohl Clinic Building and Wohl Clinics.

In 2016, according to the Washington University School of Medicine bulletin, 2016-2017, the lower five floors of Wohl Clinic contained the Chromalloy American Kidney Dialysis Center, space for translational research and faculty & administrative offices. The upper five floors are devoted to research facilities for several departments of the School of Medicine. On March 30, 2020, Washington University Wohl Clinic is a group practice with 1 location at 4940 Childrens Pl.
Saint Louis, MO 63110. Currently, Washington University Wohl Clinic specializes in Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, Neurologist, Psychology and Psychiatry with 7 physicians.

Irene Walter Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation

  • 06814732‏
  • Corporate body
  • 1950-present

In 1950 Irene W. (Mrs. Oscar) Johnson donated $235,000 to Washington University for the establishment of a medical rehabilitation facility as a unit of the McMillan Hospital. In October 1959 the Irene Walter Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation opened at 509 S. Euclid Avenue, between the McMillan Hospital and the Washington University Clinics. Services of the Institute were coordinated through the Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
Source: Women in the Health Sciences

Shank, Robert E.

  • Person
  • 1914-2000

Robert E. Shank (1914-2000) was a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine, Class of 1939, and a resident at Barnes Hospital (1939-1940) and at St. Louis Isolation Hospital (1941). In late 1941 he became an assistant in research and resident physician at the hospital of the Rockefeller Institute in New York. While retaining these positions, Shank entered the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was assigned to the hospital's Naval Research Unit. Returning to civilian life in 1946, he became an associate of the New York Public Health Research Institute. In 1948 Shank was called to his alma mater in 1948 to become Danforth Professor of Medicine and head of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

As head of Preventive Medicine, Shank brought a new research emphasis to his department, that being nutrition studies. He contributed to many projects in this specialty of national and international importance. He was particularly associated with the formation of standards for minimum dietary allowances by the National Research Council Food and Nutrition Board. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service, the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense, the Pan American Health Organization, and several food industry associations. Under his leadership, the scope of the department broadened to include work in rehabilitation, health maintenance organizations, biostatistics, applied physiology, and lipid research.

Shank became professor emeritus in 1981. He proved to be the last regular head of the department: after five years under interim leadership, Preventive Medicine and Public Health was discontinued in January 1987 and its faculty and programs assigned to other departments, notably Internal Medicine.


Bishop, Ethel Ronzoni

  • Person
  • 1890-1975

Ethel Ronzoni was born August 21, 1890, in California. With no family financial support, she put herself through Mills College, earning a bachelor's degree in 1913. She then earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1914. Ronzoni worked as an instructor at the University of Missouri-Columbia for several years during World War I prior to earning a doctorate in physiology from the University of Wisconsin in 1923.

Ronzoni's special research interest was carbohydrate metabolism. She also conducted research on muscle biochemistry, steroid hormones, and amino acid metabolism.

Ronzoni came to Washington University's biochemistry department directly after completing her Ph.D. From 1923 to 1943, she was an assistant professor. During this period of time she ran the chemistry lab of the Department of Medicine and Barnes Hospital. In 1943 she was promoted to associate professor in biochemistry and remained in that position until she retired in 1959. Post World War II, she switched to neuropsychiatry and ran the lab in the Department of Psychiatry for Edward Gildea, M.D. She was a member of the Society of Biological Chemistry.

Source: "Ethel Bishop Ronzoni" (PDF). Washington University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2012.

Ronzoni, Ethel

  • Person
  • 1890-1975

Ethel or Ethyl Ronzoni was born in California to Silvio Ronzoni and Mary Espy in 1890. She was a chemist at the time of her marriage to George H. Bishop in 1922. She earned her BS from Mills College in 1913, her masters from Columbia University in 1914, and her Ph.D. in Physiology from Wisconsin in 1923. She was one of the first women to join the faculty of Washington University Medical School as Assistant Professor in 1923. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1943. Her research was in muscle chemistry and steroid hormone. She retired in 1959.

Bishop, George H.

  • Person
  • 1889-1973

George H. Bishop received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1919 and joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in 1921. He held a variety of appointments, among them research associate and associate professor in the Department of Physiology (1921-1930), professor of applied physiology in the Department of Ophthalmology (1930-1932), professor of biophysics in the Neurophysiology Laboratory (1932-1947) and professor of neurophysiology in the Department of Neuropsychiatry (1947-1954). Dr. Bishop is remembered for his collaboration with Joseph Erlanger and Herbert S. Gasser in research on the properties of nerve fibers, for which the latter two received the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Bishop is also well-known for his work in the development of electroencephalography as a diagnostic tool in the understanding of epilepsy.

Homan, George, 1846-1928

  • Person
  • 1846-1928

George Homan (1846-1928) graduated from Missouri Medical College in 1873. From 1886 to 1893, he was Professor of Hygiene and Forensic Medicine at St. Louis Medical College. Afterwards he became the Chief Sanitary Officer for St. Louis Health Department from 1893 to 1915. During his tenure, his position was upgraded to that of City Health Commissioner. He was a member of the St. Louis Medical Society, and its President in 1906.

Cordonnier, Justin J.

  • Person
  • 1905-1980

Justin J. Cordonnier (M.D., WUSM, 1928) was associated with the surgical staff of Barnes Hospital for over fifty years. He was professor and head of the Division of Urology, WUSM Department of Surgery, from 1953 until his retirement in 1970. In 1978, he received the Raymond Guiteras Award from the American Urological Association, the nation's highest award in the field.

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