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Samuel B. Guze, M.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Psychiatry and former head of psychiatry and vice chancellor for medical affairs at Washington University, died Wednesday, July 19, 2000, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital from a fall complicated by polycythemia vera, a bone marrow disease. He was 76.
One of the most influential psychiatrists in the world, Guze and colleagues sent shock waves through the psychiatric community in the 1950s with their belief that psychiatric illness should be diagnosed just as any other physical illness --through use of a scientific medical model and a biological approach. Their ideas shaped today's psychiatric practice.
"Sam Guze was a man ahead of his time," said William A. Peck, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, "not only as one of the founding fathers of the scientific approach to psychiatry, but also as an administrator. His vision for the medical school kept us progressive and focused during times of great change." Peck succeeded Guze as vice chancellor in 1989.
Richard W. Hudgens, M.D., professor of psychiatry, was a friend and colleague of Guze's for 37 years. "Dr. Guze has been one of the people most responsible for the fact that in the last half of the 20th century, psychiatry has moved into the mainstream of medical science," Hudgens said. "He has been the most articulate and consistent advocate of clinical psychiatry as a scientific endeavor."
Guze's work also spawned great interest in the genetics of psychiatric disorders. He was among the first to use twin studies as a means of identifying the role of heredity in psychiatric illness. He and his colleagues produced key findings about genetic vulnerability to alcoholism and to other conditions such as schizophrenia and affective disorders. In addition, his research brought widespread recognition of the important role epidemiologic studies should play in psychiatric research.
An internist who switched to psychiatry, Guze once said: "I couldn't ignore my training in internal medicine. I suggested we approach psychiatric patients the way general physicians approach all patients." Guze also held an appointment as an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine.
In 1980, Guze and his colleagues finally received validation of their work by the psychiatric community when they helped create the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The manual immediately became a best seller and is still in use today. With colleagues, he also wrote a textbook for followers of the Washington University approach. "Psychiatric Diagnosis" was published in 1974 and is considered a classic.
In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Guze led the school as vice chancellor for medical affairs during a time of rapid expansion and changes in medical care and medical research. He was appointed vice chancellor and president of the Washington University Medical Center in 1971, positions he held until 1989. He was head of the Department of Psychiatry from 1975 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1997. In all, he served on the faculty for almost 50 years. He also served as psychiatrist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals.
Guze, considered an outstanding teacher, trained hundreds of psychiatrists who now are leaders in their respective institutions. He and his wife, Joy, established the Samuel B. Guze Professorship in Psychiatry in 1998. To Guze's delight, the first holder of the professorship is his former student and current head of the psychiatry department, Charles F. Zorumski, M.D.
"Sam Guze was one of the greatest superstars of Washington University, a brilliant scientist, an outstanding physician, a wise and trusted leader, an intellectual of breadth and depth, a man of strong character and a wonderful friend," said William H. Danforth, M.D., professor of medicine, chancellor emeritus of the University and vice chair of its Board of Trustees. "He has left his mark on Washington University and on all of us, his many colleagues."
Guze was born in New York City Oct. 18, 1923. He attended the City College of New York, Washington University and its School of Medicine, receiving his medical degree in 1945.
"I've lost my best friend, and psychiatry and the medical school have lost one of the greatest," said M. Kenton King, M.D., professor emeritus and former dean of the medical school.
Guze published more than 200 scientific papers and several books. He also was the recipient of numerous awards. His most recent honor was received in January when he was awarded the Thomas William Salmon Medal from the New York Academy of Medicine.
Other awards include the Sarnat Prize in Mental Health from the Institute of Medicine, the Samuel Hamilton Medal and the Paul Hoch Award Medal from the American Psychopathological Association, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services and an Alumni/Faculty Award from the School of Medicine.
Guze was a member of the Institute of Medicine, Alpha Omega Alpha, Sigma Xi and the Psychiatric Research Society, among other groups, and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, American College of Physicians, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Donations to honor Guze may be made to the Samuel B. Guze Research Fund in the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, Campus Box 8134, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110. The fund has been established to support young investigators' research. Guze's body was donated to the medical school for research and teaching, in accordance with his wishes.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 in Graham Chapel, followed by a reception.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joy Campbell Guze; a son, Jonathan D. Guze of Durham, N.C.; and a daughter, Jeremy Ann Opitz of Danbury, N.H.; five grandchildren; colleagues and friends.