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September 2011
Your Colleagues
In Memoriam: Richard B. Hornick, MD, FIDSA (1929-2011)

A prominent ID physician scientist, clinician, and teacher, Richard B. Hornick, MD, FIDSA, a former president of IDSA and a founding member of the Society, died Aug. 9, 2011, at the age of 82 in Winter Park, Fla.

During a medical career spanning more than five decades, Dr. Hornick contributed to the treatment and prevention of diseases including tularemia, typhoid fever, dysentery disorders, and others. He was behind some of the groundbreaking studies establishing the typical number of bacteria required to cause typhoid fever and infectious diarrhea, according to a remembrance from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, where he was chair of the Department of Medicine from 1979 to 1985.

“One of Dr. Hornick’s greatest strengths was that he recognized the talents of developing physicians and provided them both the emotional and scientific help they needed to jumpstart their careers,” said Robert F. Betts, MD, FIDSA, professor emeritus in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, in the university’s remembrance. “He was an extremely nice guy and always welcomed young professionals into the field with open arms.”

Born in Johnstown, Pa., in 1929, Dr. Hornick graduated from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1951, later earning a medical degree from the university and completing his residency in internal medicine there. Following his service in the U.S. Army at the Walter Reed Medical Unit at Fort Detrick in Maryland, Dr. Hornick joined the faculty of the University of Maryland.

There he rose from assistant instructor to professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases before his appointment in 1979 as professor and chair of medicine at the University of Rochester. In 1987, Dr. Hornick was named vice president for medical education at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida. Despite stepping down in 1999, he continued to teach students and treat patients until three weeks before his death from cancer, according to an Orlando Sentinel article.

An active member of many professional organizations and societies, Dr. Hornick was a founding member of IDSA in 1963, a Joseph E. Smadel Lecture winner in 1982, and served as Society president in 1986.

He was also elected to the Institute of Medicine and served as an infectious diseases consultant to the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration. Widely published, he contributed to more than 300 scholarly articles, book chapters, and reports on ID-related topics throughout his career.

Dr. Hornick is survived by his wife, Susan; two sons, Douglas and Thomas; two daughters, Martha Hornick and Blaine Hawley; and seven grandchildren.
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