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In Memoriam

Francis P. Chinard

Francis Pierre Chinard passed away on January 5, 2015 at age 96. His career at New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) spanned several decades. He served on the NJMS faculty from 1968, when he was recruited as chair of medicine, until his retirement in 1997, at which time he was named distinguished emeritus professor of research medicine and physiology at NJMS.

Francis Chinard was born June 30, 1918, in Berkeley, California. He attended Johns Hopkins University from 1934 to 1936 and received his A.B. degree from University of California, Berkeley in 1937. Professor Chinard earned his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1941. He was an intern and resident at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, but his residency was interrupted by his entry into active military duty in 1942. With the Eighth Air Force Central Medical Establishment, he served as an Aviation Physiologist and later Director of Physiology. Among his duties, he was involved in interrogations of German prisoners of war who had participated in Nazi medical experiments involving hypothermia and decompression.He received the Legion of Merit in 1944 and was discharged in 1945,holding the rank of Major.

Between 1946 and 1968, Professor Chinard held academic and hospital appointments at Rockefeller University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical School, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, and New York University School of Medicine.

Professor Chinard began his career at NJMS in 1968 as a professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine from 1968 to 1975. He was the director of medical service at the former Martland Medical Center from 1970 to 1971.Professor Chinard was later professor of experimental medicine (1975–1977), research medicine (1977–1996), and physiology (1977–1996). He was named a distinguished professor in 1989, and retired as distinguished emeritus professor of research medicine and physiology in 1996.

His career at the university was filled with major administrative, clinical, and hospital responsibilities. He was a member and chair of numerous university committees, including the Committee on Conduct of Research. He served as chair of the University Faculty Committee on Libraries and was a longtime and influential member of the Smith Library Committee.

Professor Chinard’s research involved clinical studies of the nephrotic syndrome and pulmonary emphysema, renal and pulmonary physiology, cellular transport mechanisms, enzyme controls, and free radicals. As a principal investigator at the university, he was awarded nearly $5 million in grants between 1970 and 1990. He authored over 130 publications and served on several editorial boards. He received the Eugene Landis Award of the Microcirculatory Society (1978) and the Osler Humanitarian Award from the New Jersey Thoracic Society (1991).

In 2006, on his 88th birthday, the George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences dedicated the Francis P. Chinard Humanities Collection, which includes works of history, literature, and philosophy. The collection’s statement of intent reflects Professor Chinard’s humanistic perspective:

“This collection is based on the recognition that medicine functions best as an interaction between a physician and a patient and less completely as an interaction between physicians and diseases. This singularity serves to distinguish medicine from other sciences– the human element cannot be ignored. For that reason, medicine has deep roots in its history and in the cultures and civilizations which have fostered its development. Medicine does not exist in a void. Without its historical and social roots, medicine would be lost as a human endeavor.”

Funeral arrangements are private.

The information above was prepared by Robert Vietrogoski in the George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences. We are grateful to Mr. Vietrogoski for the attention paid to the details of Professor Chinard’s life and career.

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