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Dr. Charles Christian of HSS Honored

Apr 19, 2021 5:38 pm

In the current issue of Annals of Rheumatic Disease, Dr. Peggy Crow honors the life and career of one the great, historic rheumatologists of all time: Dr. Charles Christian.

For nearly 25 years, Dr. Christian served as Physician-in-Chief of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), in New York City. He was beloved by his mentees and reknowned as a teacher, researcher and leader.  He passed away on Sunday, August 11, 2019. 

Chuck's career began when he arrived in NYC in the 1950's, when he became involved with new understandings of immunology and developed collaborations and laboratory investigations that would add to the understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and vasculitis.  His collaborations and fellows alone are a who's-who of rheumatology. 

For those interested in the history of rheumatology, this is a good read.

For those interested in mentoring and leading in rheumatology, this is a good read. 

For those interested in leading a truly good life, and being a real role model, this is a must read.

Dr. Crow ends this honorific piece with "...He was elegant, kind, generous and respectful of his colleagues and particularly caring for his patients. There are few rheumatologists who have left such a deep and significant mark on the field or who so perfectly represent what we might all aspire to achieve in our own career."



The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

Rheumatologists’ Comments

Robert B Zurier

| Apr 19, 2021 7:44 pm

As newly minted Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut Medical School in 1975, I submitted an article to A&R, of which Dr Christian was an editor. After several rejections and rewrites, I was ready to give it up when I received a call directly from Dr Christian. He recognized, as did I, that the rejections were based on petty thinking by reviewers like those we saw at NIH Study Sections, who worried that if they approved anything, be it grant applications or submitted articles, there would be less money or journal space for them.. Dr Christian told me to not change anything more and return the manuscript directly to him. I did, and it was published promptly. That was the good sense and big heart and caring and mentoring quality of Chuck Christian.
Bob Zurier
Robert B Zurier, MD
Professor of Medicine, Chief of Rheumatology Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Bob, thanks for this personal antecdote and example of the man that so so many revered. I didnt know him personally as many did, but when I was around him, I felt inspired and maybe enough to be a better rheumatologist.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Christian, but I knew his 2 daughters quite well at Phillips Andover. Long story short, I graduated from St George’s SOM, and subsequently met you in Dallas Jack, in 2015! Small world! You should remember me!
Susan Elias, MD

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