American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Obituaries

From the October ACP Observer, copyright 2003 by the American College of Physicians.

Robert E. Westlake Sr., FACP

Robert E. Westlake Sr., FACP, a longtime educator and former President of the American Society of Internal Medicine (ASIM), died April 28, 2003. A resident of Stuart, Fla., he was 84 years old.

Born in 1918 in Jersey City, N.J., Dr. Westlake completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 1940 and earned his medical degree from New York's Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1943.

He served as a Navy medical officer on a destroyer based in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. When the conflict ended, Dr. Westlake returned to complete his residency training at the University Hospital at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate in Syracuse in 1948.

After completing a cardiology fellowship in Ann Arbor, Mich., Dr. Westlake returned to Syracuse to start a private practice in internal medicine and cardiology, where he worked until 1981.

In 1949, Dr. Westlake began his career as an educator at the SUNY Upstate Medical Center. After several years as instructor and assistant professor, Dr. Westlake became a clinical associate professor in 1956, a full clinical professor in 1967 and finally professor emeritus in 1981, a position he held until his death.

In addition to his work as an educator, Dr. Westlake consulted for the National Institute of Health from 1966-67, the U.S. Public Health Service from 1966-72, the Social Security Administration from 1968-71 and the U.S. Department of Defense from 1969-74. He worked with Blue Shield of Central New York from 1965-73 as vice president and as chairman of the board from 1973-1981.

Dr. Westlake became a Fellow of the College in 1962 and was ASIM President from 1965-66. As one of the physicians involved in the founding of the ASIM, he helped build the organization into a strong political force in the early 1960s.

According to Stewart P. Seigle, FACP, who was ASIM President from 1960-61, Dr. Westlake and others in the organization worked to call attention to the importance of taking a history and being reimbursed for that time. "Like the rest of us at ASIM, he thought that thinking was more important than testing," Dr. Seigle said. "He felt the internist's role should be recognized."

One of the major goals of the ASIM during Dr. Westlake's tenure was to have a political voice in shaping Medicare so that physician fee schedules would acknowledge the internist's pivotal role.

"Dr. Westlake was a firm believer that there needed to be more economic thinking in organized medicine," said Malcolm S. Watts, MACP, who was President of the ASIM immediately prior to Dr. Westlake. "Because other medical organizations weren't focusing on the financial aspects of practice at the time, we had to rattle the cage a bit."

Bryan Williams, FACP

Bryan Williams, FACP, former Chair of the College's Board of Governors and long-time instructor and dean of student affairs at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, died April 2, 2003. A resident of Dallas, Dr. Williams was 78 years old.

Born in Longview, Texas, Dr. Williams earned a medical degree from the Southwestern Medical College in Dallas in 1947. After serving his internship in Denver, he went on to a residency at Harvard Medical School.

He interrupted his residency to serve as a physician within several branches of the military during the Korean War. After he was discharged, he completed his residency and a research fellowship at Harvard, then worked in private practice in Dallas for 13 years.

Dr. Williams joined the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas as a clinical instructor in 1957. After rising to clinical professor, he began working as associate dean for student affairs in 1970. Twenty years later, he retired as dean of students and began working as dean for alumni affairs.

While an administrator at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dr. Williams became a charter member of the Institute of Medicine in 1970, the first practicing physician to be given that honor. He also co-authored "Rehabilitation of the Cardiac Patient."

Dr. Williams was elected a Fellow of the College in 1963 and served as Governor of the Texas Northern Region from 1973-77. He was Chair of the Board of Governors from 1975-77 and a Regent from 1979-1982. While a Regent, he served on the Finance, Fellowships and Scholarships, and Pensions committees.

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