UH Med Now
Aloha Oe, Dr. Irwin Schatz, Longtime Chair of Medicine at JABSOM
A memorial is scheduled May 31 for Dr. Irwin Schatz, former Chair of Medicine and Emeritus Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Visitation is from 12 noon, with the service from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Punahou School’s Thurston Chapel.
Dr. Schatz died of cancer at his home on April 1st. But his teaching, his ethics, his professionalism and compassion live on in the thousands of physicians throughout Hawaiʻi, who are better doctors because of him.
In a note to fellow physicians in the local American College of Physicians, Dr. Mary Ann Antonelli wrote, “Irv touched us all, each in many different ways; as colleagues and students he taught us by sharing his insight and love of medicine.” Dr. Antonelli is the former director of Student Affairs for JABSOM and a physician at the Veterans Administration in Hawai’i.
Career at UH
Dr. Schatz dedicated much of his time to the Honolulu Heart Program, a long-term study of Japanese-American men in Hawaiʻi with almost 1/2 century of data (48 years as of 2015.)
Taking a Courageous Stand
Dr. Schatz was influential in changing how patients are protected in clinical studies, because he bravely questioned the ethics of the controversial “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male”, conducted between 1932 and 1972. As a young doctor, Schatz was the only physician to reach out to the government to express his outrage. He wrote to the researchers, “I am utterly astounded by the fact that physicians allow patients with (sic) potentially fatal disease to remain untreated when effective therapy is available.” In 2009, the Mayo Clinic, where Irv studied medicine, honored him for his courage and his career of service.”
Dr. Schatz also taught and elective for MD students in Art appreciation at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, believing it could help them become better observers of their patients. He also served at the Veterans Administration Hospital and volunteered at the Waikīkī Health Center, where, in addition to Island Hospice, the family says donations in Dr. Schatz name would be welcome.
The Schatz family plans a memorial service but has not yet chosen a date.