MetroHealth Celebrates 175th Anniversary, Inducts 20 into Medical Hall of Honor

More than 1,000 of Cleveland’s leaders joined members of MetroHealth’s medical community at The Champions Ball on October 15.

The purpose was dual-fold: to kick-off MetroHealth’s 175th anniversary celebration and to pay tribute to the first class of inductees in the MetroHealth Medical Hall of Honor.

Established in 1837 as a city infirmary, MetroHealth is now a respected academic health care system with a medical center in downtown Cleveland and 16 community health centers across Cuyahoga County. Each year, its physicians handle more than 800,000 cases — 100,000 in MetroHealth’s Emergency Department (which houses Cleveland’s only Level I trauma center) — and deliver 3,000 babies. They also train nearly 1,500 medical and nursing students, residents and fellows each year and attract almost $40 million in annual research grants to study community health issues such as chronic disease, high-risk pregnancies, rehabilitation and heart disorders.

“MetroHealth physicians have made great contributions to both health care and to the Cleveland community,” says Alfred F. Connors, Jr., MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president of Medical Affairs, The MetroHealth System. “They reflect the mission for which the institution was founded — to provide the highest quality health care to all, regardless of the ability to pay.”

The Hall of Honor was recently established to recognize MetroHealth physicians who best exemplify this mission. Selected from a pool of 140 nominees, 20 people were honored in the first class of inductees this fall for advancing medicine and improving patient care at MetroHealth and literally around the world. Specifically, they were chosen for their excellence in research, education and patient care and/or health 
care management.

The following 15 legacy members were inducted posthumously to the Hall of Honor: Betty Q. Banker, MD, Edward M. Chester, MD, Brown M. Dobyns, MD, PhD, John W. Harris, MD, Howard Karsner, MD, Henry Manning, Jerome R. Pomeranz, MD, Louis Rakita, MD, Charles H. Rammelkamp, Jr., MD, Frederick C. Robbins, MD, Roy W. Scott, MD, Robert M. Stecher, MD, Fiorindo Simeone, MD, Maurice Victor, MD, and Robert J. White, MD, PhD.

“They were all really remarkable people, some of which I knew and interacted with,” says Dr. Connors, who first joined MetroHealth as an intern in 1974. “For example, in the early 1950s, when Dr. Robbins was chair of Pediatrics at MetroHealth, he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing the methodology that ultimately led to the oral polio vaccine, which saved thousands of lives around the world.

“Dr. Rammelkamp, who was chair of Medicine here for 27 years, won the Lasker Award — the highest national award in Internal Medicine — for discovering the connection between streptococcal pharyngitis and rheumatic fever. He also championed the first large scale multi-center randomized-controlled trial for strep throat and proved rheumatic fever could be prevented by treating strep throat. It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of these and the other honorees’ contributions.”

The five active or living award recipients include Robert Eiben, MD; Richard B. Fratianne, MD; Irving Kushner, MD; Edward G. Mansour, MD; and Emanuel Wolinsky, MD.

Dr. Eiben was chief of Infectious Diseases during the height of the polio epidemic in the 1950s and was very involved in managing children with polio. A pioneer in the field of pediatric neurology, he established the Child Neurology Program at MetroHealth in the 1970s and is emeritus professor of Pediatric Neurology at CWRU School of Medicine. A national leader as well, 
Dr. Eiben served as acting chief of Clinical Investigations and Therapeutics of the Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in the late 1970s and president of the Child Neurology Society in the mid 1980s.

Dr. Fratianne founded MetroHealth’s nationally recognized Comprehensive Burn Center in 1970 and revolutionized burn treatment with a holistic approach. He also founded the hospital’s Level I trauma center and served as the first medical director of Metro Life Flight. Dr. Fratianne is director emeritus of the Comprehensive Burn Center and professor of Surgery at CWRU School of Medicine. In the past 10 years, he has received numerous national awards including the Albert Schweitzer Memorial Trophy and induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. In 2011, he received the American Burn Association’s highest honor for physicians, the Harvey Stuart Allen Distinguished Service Award, for his 40 years of contributions to the field.

Dr. Kushner is an internationally recognized authority on inflammatory diseases as a result of his research on the C-reactive protein — an indicator of inflammation in such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis. During his 50+ year career at MetroHealth, he held various leadership positions, including director of the Division of Rheumatology from 1974 to 1985 and principal investigator for NIH funded research from 1965 to 2005. A professor emeritus of Medicine at CWRU School of Medicine, Dr. Kushner also served as chairman of multiple NIH special study sections. In 1995, he was recognized as a Master of the American College of Rheumatology, one of the highest honors the college bestows.

Dr. Mansour joined MetroHealth in 1969 and founded the area’s first multimodal oncology clinic in 1975. He served as director of MetroHealth’s Division of Surgical Oncology for 30 years and is currently an active professor of Surgery and of Oncology at CWRU School of Medicine. Internationally renowned for his research in managing early stage breast cancer with chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, 
Dr. Mansour was one of 10 doctors in the world to receive the “Celebrating Survival: A Century of Advancements in Early Breast Cancer” award for research in 2000. Other national awards include the American Cancer Society National Division Award (St. George Medal) and inductions into the American Cancer Society Hall of Fame and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Dr. Wolinsky was already acclaimed for his research on drug therapies for tuberculosis when he joined MetroHealth in 1955 and helped establish the hospital’s first division of Infectious Disease. Among his numerous awards for outstanding work in the field of microbiology is the Trudeau Medal, the highest award bestowed by the American Thoracic Society, which he received in 1986. A species of non-tuberculous mycobacterium, mycobacterium wolinskyi, was also named in his honor. And in 1995, he received the Louis Weinstein Award for the best clinical article. The latter award was later renamed the Emanuel Wolinsky Award in honor of the doctor’s extensive contributions to the field of infectious diseases. Dr. Wolinsky is emeritus professor of Medicine and Pathology at CWRU School of Medicine.

“All of these remarkable physicians literally saved hundreds of thousands of people from suffering and death with their discoveries,” says Dr. Connors. “They are a testament to the rich history of MetroHealth and its mission.”

To learn more about all of the MetroHealth Medical Hall of Honor inductees, visit

MD News November/December 2011, Cleveland/Akron/Canton



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