Death Claims F. Marian Bishop, Family Med Pioneer, U Med School Leader

Death Claims F. Marian Bishop, Family Med Pioneer, U Med School Leader

Mar 16, 2003 5:00 PM

F. Marian Bishop, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., a distinguished educator widely acknowledged as "the mother of academic family medicine," and longtime chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, died of cancer March 15 at her home in Salt Lake City. She was 75.

Bishops career at the University of Utah medical school spanned nearly 20 years, 10 of them as chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She became chair emerita in 1994 but remained active as a professor on the faculty until her death. "To say that Marian Bishop was a woman who made a difference would be a terrible understatement," said Michael K. Magill, M.D., chair of the Universitys Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. "Her landmark contributions to medicine and medical education on the local, state, and national levels have had a direct impact on the careers of every family physician practicing today, and on the excellent quality of care they have delivered to their patients over the past 30 years." George L. White, Jr., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., director of the Us public health program that Bishop helped shape into the third-ranked program in the nation, echoed Magills sentiments. "Dr. Bishops life improved the lives of all who knew her," White said. "She will forever be our grand lady of public health." The recipient of scores of national awards from government agencies, colleges and universities and professional societies, Bishop was often introduced from the podium as "the mother of academic family medicine." Her usual response, colleagues remembered: "Just as long as I'm not the grandmother!" Bishop was the first woman ever named to lead a department at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Prior to being named chair at Utah, she had served for a decade as chair of community medicine at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. "Dr. Bishop's tenure as our first female department chair should not be remembered for that reason alone, although it was a singular distinction," said A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., U of U senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school. "She guided the University of Utahs family medicine program from adolescence to adulthood with a firm hand and a clear vision of all we could become, and we are immeasurably stronger for her leadership." Bishop helped establish two disciplines in academic medicine--family medicine and preventive medicine. Some of her career "firsts" have the word "woman" attached to them; others note that she was the first Doctor of Philosophy in a field dominated by M.D.s. She was the first Ph.D. to serve as president of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine (1978-79), the first woman president of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (1981-82), and the first individual to serve as president of both of these organizations. Both groups have subsequently named annual awards in her honor; she received the preventive medicine groups educator of the year award in 1990. In 1981, Bishop was the first woman and the first Ph.D. to be honored by the American Academy of Family Physicians for outstanding contributions to family medicine education. Last year, Bishop received the academys highest honor--the John G. Walsh Award--for her leadership in furthering the development of family practice. Bishop had a multidisciplinary background, holding masters degrees in sociology, higher education administration, and public health, along with a doctorate in medical sociology and anthropology from Washington University, St. Louis. A widely published author and lecturer, Bishop was a frequent contributor to numerous professional journals, as well as several textbooks. In 1969, she and her husband, Robert E. Froelich, M.D., a psychiatrist in academic medicine, co-authored the first textbook on medical interviewing specifically written for medical students. She was a frequent advisor to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and other government agencies. In the 1980s she served on the National Advisory Council for Health Professions Education. In the '90s, HHS Secretary Louis W. Sullivan appointed her to the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. She also served on the Council on Graduate Medical Education of the Health Resources and Services Administration, advising the Secretary of HHS and Congress with ongoing assessments of physician workforce trends. She received the 1990 U.S. Public Health Service Directors Award honoring her exemplary service to the National Health Service Corps. Her participation in the work of the National Board of Medical Examiners dates from 1975, and she served several terms on the executive board of that group. In 2001, Bishop received the "Women Who Make a Difference Award" from the International Womens Forum, a worldwide nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of women in leadership. Last year, an annual student award presented by the U of U Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and the Utah Academy of Family Physicians was renamed in Bishops honor. Bishop is survived by her husband, Robert E. Froelich, M.D.; two children, and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held April 11, noon-1 p.m., in the Rice-Eccles Stadium Towers (south entrance) on the U of U campus. Guests may call one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation, Bishop Fellowship Program, 11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway, Leawood, KS 66211.

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