Winter 2018


Honoring some of the faculty and alumni who made their marks over the years.

By Molly McDonough

Morton Prince. Photo: Tufts Digital Collections and Archives

Psychiatry Pioneer

Morton Prince

Professor of psychiatry at Tufts from 1902 to 1912, founder of the American Psychopathological Association, president of the American Neurological Association, and creator of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Morton Prince explored hypnosis, multiple personality disorder, and the relationship between mind and body. A thought leader among psychologists in Boston at the turn of the last century, Prince critiqued psychoanalysis, arguing that mental disorder did not stem from sexual repression alone, but also from negative experiences. That didn’t earn him favor with his contemporary Sigmund Freud—who supposedly called Price an “arrogant ass”—but it did help lay the foundation for modern cognitive therapy.


Alice Ettinger. Photo: Tufts Digital Collections and Archives

First Lady of Radiology

Alice Ettinger

In 1932, Berlin native Alice Ettinger sailed for the United States with valuable technology: a device developed by her German mentor that allowed radiologists to record gastrointestinal X-ray images on film for the first time. She planned to demonstrate it at Tufts School of Medicine during a six-month stay; instead, she joined the faculty and taught at Tufts for the next 53 years. Ettinger is known for being a radiology leader in Boston and beyond (she was appointed roentgenologist-in-chief at the Boston Dispensary and at the Pratt Diagnostic Hospital in 1939, and later chaired the Tufts Department of Radiology), for her award-winning teaching style, and for setting the standard of compassionate patient care.


Joseph Kirsner. Photo: Jeff Sciortino

Gastroenterology Star

Joseph Kirsner, M33

School of Medicine alum Joseph Kirsner had an impressively long career: At the age of 95, the gastroenterologist was still seeing patients; at the age of 100—two years before his death in 2012—he gave his last lecture at the University of Chicago. The Boston native and son of Jewish-Ukrainian immigrants was a preeminent authority in the field of gastroenterology, publishing more than 700 academic papers and authoring six editions of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the gold-standard textbook on the subject. He also received the lifetime achievement award from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America . . . twice.


Jane Desforges

Hematology Hero

Jane Desforges, M45

Jane Desforges was equally at home in the exam room, laboratory, and lecture hall. As a world-renowned hematologist specializing in sickle-cell disease and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Desforges was widely admired for her exacting standards and commitment to patients. As a professor of medicine at Tufts, she inspired a generation of young doctors, particularly women. (For proof, look no further than the 13 Outstanding Teacher Awards she won during her tenure.) In 1988 Desforges was the first female awarded the American College of Physicians Distinguished Teaching Award; today, the award is named after her.


Dorothy Boulding Ferebee. Photo: Courtesy Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College

Doctor on a Mission

Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, M24

Despite graduating at the top of her Tufts School of Medicine class, Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, an African-American from Norfolk, Virginia, couldn’t obtain an internship in Boston’s hospitals. Undeterred by this blatant racism, she moved to Washington, D.C., and embarked on a lifelong career of bringing health care to underserved populations. After founding a clinic for African-Americans and day care for working mothers in the capital, she directed medical-relief missions to Mississippi during the Depression, providing much-needed immunizations and treatment in rural black communities. Ferebee went on to direct health services at Howard University Medical School (now College of Medicine) and to lead the National Council of Negro Women.


Benjamin Etsten. Photo: Tufts Digital Collections and Archives

Anesthetic Innovator

Benjamin Etsten, A31

Before the mid-1950s, anesthesiologists had to estimate the amount of gas delivered with each squeeze of the breathing bags they used to ventilate patients. But Benjamin Etsten, who had worked in New York and Wisconsin before returning to his undergrad alma mater to teach, had a better idea. As he assumed the role of professor and chairman of Tufts’ anesthesiology division (later department) in 1949, he developed and tested a more precise bellows device that let practitioners deliver known amounts of gas to patients: the Etsten Ventilator. He retired in 1974, after helping the department grow from one staff anesthesiologist and four residents to 10 staff members and 15 residents.


Vivian Pinn. Photo: Brian Tietz

Model Mentor

Vivian Pinn, H93

While growing up in the segregated South, Vivian Pinn was determined to be a doctor. And she pursued the path despite all odds; she was the only female and only African-American in her graduating class at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1967. As associate professor of pathology and assistant dean of student and minority affairs at TUSM from 1970 to 1982, she encouraged women and minorities to pursue careers in the field. Later, while directing the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, she advocated for the inclusion of female subjects in studies. In 2011, the medical school gave Pinn a Dean’s Medal and dedicated the Vivian W. Pinn Office of Student Affairs in her honor.


Stuart Levy. Photo: Kathleen Dooher

Resistance Fighter

Stuart Levy

Public awareness of antibiotic resistance has increased in the last few years—but Stuart Levy has been sounding the alarm for decades. Shortly after joining TUSM as assistant professor of medicine and of molecular biology and microbiology in 1971, he began unraveling the mechanisms leading to bacterial resistance, and presented the first evidence that low-dose antibiotics in farm animals encouraged the proliferation of resistant bacteria that can transfer to humans. He went on to establish and lead the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, and is the director of TUSM’s Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance, as well as an advisor to the World Health Organization, the FDA, and the EPA.

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