Lewis P. Rowland, MD: 1925–2017

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Lewis P. “Bud” Rowland, one of the most influential neurologists of his time, died on March 16 following a stroke. Bud received his BS and MD degrees from Yale University, where he was also elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After an internship in medicine at Yale–New Haven Hospital, he accepted a position as Assistant Resident in Neurology with H. Houston Merritt at the Neurological Institute of New York, part of the Columbia–Presbyterian Medical Center.
In 1953, Bud was accepted as one of the first group of clinical associates appointed to the newly created National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This first group of clinical associates actually arrived before G. Milton Shy had been appointed as the first intramural clinical Director. Among other positive experiences, Bud was strongly influenced by the atmosphere in Seymour Kety's intramural laboratory, where investigators from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke worked side by side with those from the National Institute of Mental Health. It was during his time at the NIH that Bud developed his lifelong interest in the genetics of neurological diseases.
As a medical student at Yale, Bud had joined, and later became the national president of, the Association of Interns and Medical Students (AIMS). The House Committee on Un‐American Activities had classified this organization as either communist or a communist front. In March 1954, Bud was called to the security office at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to answer questions concerning these past activities. He refused and was subsequently suspended from his position by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare “in the interest of national security” based largely on his membership in AIMS, which by that time was considered by Joe McCarthy and his supporters a communist front organization.
Unable to work in Washington, D.C., Bud was offered a position at Montefiore Hospital, at the time a Columbia affiliate, largely as the result of strong advocacy by Merritt and Harry Zimmerman, Chief of Pathology at Montefiore. In 1967, he left Columbia a second time to become Chairman of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. This coincided with the arrival of Milton Shy as the new Chairman at Columbia. In 1973, after 6 years at Penn, Bud was recruited back to Columbia as Chairman of Neurology, a position he held for 25 years.
At Columbia Bud was, as anticipated, an extraordinary leader, and Columbia's Department of Neurology under his direction again became, as it had been under Merritt, one of the largest and best academic departments in the country. Bud's own clinical interests focused on neuromuscular diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With Dr Salvatore DiMauro, Bud established the H. Houston Merritt Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy and Related Diseases, which pioneered research in a number of muscle diseases including mitochondrial disorders and, most recently, spinal muscular atrophy. Bud also founded and codirected the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center.
Bud was a prolific author, writing or coauthoring 483 articles and 26 books. After Merritt's death, he authored and then edited subsequent editions of Merritt's Neurology, now in its 13th edition. During his decade as Editor‐in‐Chief of Neurology (1976–1986), it became an outstanding clinical journal that competed effectively for the best clinical papers in neurology. No one who submitted a paper for consideration to Neurology escaped Bud's editorial red pen. Often, there was far more red handwriting than black typescript! He was also founding Editor‐in‐Chief of Neurology Today (2000–2010), the American Academy of Neurology's newspaper.
Bud's leadership of the major neurological organizations enhanced his influence in the field.
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