In Memoriam: Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD

An announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Dr. Nathan J. Zvaifler

Emeritus professor Nathan J. Zvaifler, MD, former chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and a founder and influential leader in the Department of Medicine, passed away on January 28 at the age of 87.

Dr. Zvaifler was internationally known for his research and academic leadership. Here at UC San Diego, he was also beloved for his generosity in teaching and mentorship. Although he retired to emeritus status officially in 2008, he remained active in his instructional activities for years later.

Dr. Zvaifler left his stamp not only on the successful growth of the academic division he led for two decades but also on the character of the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine.

In 1970, he was recruited from Georgetown University, where he had led the Arthritis Unit since 1961, to head the rheumatology division in the new medical school at UC San Diego.

From 1972 to 1974, he served as acting chair of the Department of Medicine after founding chair Eugene Braunwald left to take a position at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of the Harvard Medical School.

This was a period that subsequent Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Helen M. Ranney later described as “a crucial two years in the development of the new School of Medicine at UCSD.”

Dr. Zvaifler spent his entire career at UC San Diego.

A lectureship, the Rheumatology Lectureship Fund, was established in Dr. Zvaifler’s name by the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology in 2008. Its purpose is to bring internationally recognized investigators to UC San Diego for seminars and teaching activities. More detail can be found at http://raidivision.ucsd.edu/About/giving/Pages/give-zvaifler.aspx.

Contributions in Dr. Zvaifler’s memory can be made to the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.

The American College of Rheumatology conducted a 75th Anniversary Interview with Dr. Zvaifler in 2009.