Family Membership Becomes Tradition At Institute Of Medicine

Membership in the Institute of Medicine (IoM) is becoming a family affair. Increasingly, members of the same family-husbands and wives, and also parents and their offspring-are being elected to the honor society. Six couples now boast membership. There also are four instances in which a parent and a son or daughter have been elected to the institute. And in one extraordinary case, there's a husband and wife and their daughter. "Perhaps both nature and nurture helped to shape the offspring," say

Feb 2, 1998
Edward Silverman

Membership in the Institute of Medicine (IoM) is becoming a family affair.

Increasingly, members of the same family-husbands and wives, and also parents and their offspring-are being elected to the honor society. Six couples now boast membership. There also are four instances in which a parent and a son or daughter have been elected to the institute. And in one extraordinary case, there's a husband and wife and their daughter.

"Perhaps both nature and nurture helped to shape the offspring," says Karen Hein, IoM's executive director. "As for married couples, I think it could be interpreted as a sign of the times, given the possibilities these days of dual-career marriages with major accomplishments possible for both partners."

Margaret Hamburg
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Margaret Hamburg and her parents, Beatrix and David, are all IoM members.
The latest case of family membership occurred with the election of Kevin Grumbach, 41, an associate professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco's Primary Care Research Center, last October. He joins his father, Melvin Grumbach, 72, the Edward B. Shaw Professor of Pediatrics at the same university.

"I've heard him talk about the institute over the years, and it carries a special meaning for him," says the younger Grumbach of his father. "So it's made [IoM membership] that much more meaningful for me. It creates an extra aura. And it'll give me a chance to have dinner with him at least once a year."

For his part, Melvin Grumbach emphasizes that while his son may be following in his footsteps, "Kevin has always taken great pains to say how he did everything on his own."


'HOME INFLUENCE': Nevin Scrimshaw believes that "the environment in which she grew up" aided in the success of his daughter, Susan, a fellow IoM member.
The trend toward family membership in IoM has accelerated during the last four years. In 1993, for instance, Susan Scrimshaw, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joined her father, Nevin Scrimshaw, who directs the food and nutrition program for the United Nations University from a Boston office and was elected in 1971.

Then there's Margaret Hamburg, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, who was elected in 1994. She joined her mother, Beatrix Hamburg, president of the W.T. Grant Foundation in New York, who was elected in 1979, and her father, David Hamburg, president, emeritus, of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who was elected in 1971 (N. Sankaran, The Scientist, Dec. 12, 1994, page 3). In December, David Hamburg was named to receive the annually awarded Public Welfare Medal, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an honor society affiliated with IoM. He will be presented with the honor, which consists of a bronze medal and an illuminated scroll, at the academy's annual meeting in April.

In addition to Beatrix and David Hamburg, five other married couples are IoM members. One couple, Huda Akil and Stanley Watson, codirectors of the University of Michigan's Mental Health Research Institute, were both elected in 1994. "We've been collaborating for 20 years," notes Watson, who specializes in neurology and psychiatry.

And two long-standing members, Rosemary Stevens, a history and sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jack Barchas, who heads the department of psychiatry at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, were introduced by another institute member and married three years ago. "The IoM has a special spot in my heart," comments Stevens.

"If I hadn't been involved in IoM, I would never have had this miracle," adds Barchas about his marriage. "It was very unexpected, but it's truly an IoM story."

IoM's two honor society counterparts also boast family memberships. At the National Academy of Engineering, there have been three father/son member pairs (although two of the fathers are now deceased), three sets of brothers, and four sets of spouses. NAS boasts six sets of fathers and sons, two sets of brothers, 19 sets of spouses, and one set of cousins.

Despite the coincidences, IoM officials emphasize that family memberships aren't the product of nepotism. To the contrary, the institute maintains a rigorous election process (see story below) that staff members contend makes it difficult for a family to finagle such an outcome.

"Of course, someone could nominate their entire family, but since the No. 1 criterion for election is outstanding professional achievement in a field related to health, they'll have to be able to prove such an achievement," argues Jana Surdi, who heads the institute's membership office. "Besides, there's nowhere on the nomination form that would indicate one's relation to anyone else."

"I remember I opened my mail and, suddenly, there was this letter," recalls Susan Scrimshaw. "My dad and I had worked together a little, and there's been some mentoring. But I was proposed by somebody in a completely different field who knows my work. Maybe voting was helped because they recognized my last name, but not with priority ranking," she says, referring to the procedure by which prospective IoM members are rated on a scale from 1 to 5, resulting in a rank order of candidates within each of the institute's 12 disciplinary sections.

Scrimshaw's father, 79, believes that parental guidance can aid in scientific success. "I think it's all a matter of home influence," Nevin Scrimshaw says. "I don't think there's any question that it was the environment in which she was brought up. She was influenced by myself and her mother, who was an anthropologist. . . . And I'm sure it's a matter of timing. I'm sure there'll be lots more" parent and child members.

Indeed, a new generation of health-care specialists, some of whom were influenced by their parents or have deliberately emulated them, are now eligible for membership in the 27-year-old institute.


'EXTRA AURA': Newly elected IoM member Kevin Grumbach, left, has heard his father, Melvin, "talk about the institute over the years."
IoM's married couples say belonging to the honor society has instilled a deeper appreciation of each other's work rather than create a sense of competition, particularly if several years elapsed between the time each of the partners was elected to membership.

"There's never been any competition between us," says Ruth Kirschstein, deputy director of the National Institutes of Health. Kirschstein was elected in 1983, four years before her husband, Alan Rabson, deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, became a member. "He's done things I couldn't do."

Adds Kirschstein: "It's because of our careers that we were elected. We've been married 47 years and both love what we're doing."

"Quite frankly, I'm surprised my wife wasn't elected earlier; she's one of the prominent contributors to understanding health care," Lester Lave, a health care economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says of his wife, Judith Lave, a health care economist at the University of Pittsburgh. He was elected in 1983, while she became a member in 1990.

"I guess some people feel more competitive than we do, I don't know. But I don't think it's made much difference one way or the other in my career-although it makes my mother pleased that we're both members," relates Judith Lave.

Kevin Grumbach doesn't dwell on the issue of competition with his father or any impression created by his recent election. In fact, as far as he's concerned, membership in the honor society simply doesn't say it all about professional accomplishments. His father, he noted, was recently quoted in an article in Rolling Stone (J. Colapinto, "The True Story of John/Joan," Dec. 11, 1997, page 54) about intersexual (hermaphroditic) children. By contrast, the younger Grumbach notes, he hasn't managed to secure the same kind of fame.

"If I worried about competing with my dad, I would have picked another profession long ago. I don't think about it in those terms," he says. "Anyway, the institute may have its advantages, but I know I haven't really made it as my father's equal until I get myself quoted in Rolling Stone."

With the election of 60 new members in October, there are now 558 active members in the Institute of Medicine (IoM). In addition, the five recently elected senior members bring the total number of individuals in that membership category to 627, and the five new foreign associate members bring the total in that category to 43. The new slate will be formally inducted at the honor society's annual dinner, scheduled to take place next October at the National Academy of Sciences.

A multistep screening process precedes the election. Candidates for membership must be nominated by two incumbent members (regular, senior, or foreign). Nominations are submitted on an official nomination form. Candidates are nominated in one of 12 disciplinary sections. A preliminary, preferential vote is held in the spring, when all nominations in a particular section are sent to members in that section of the institute.

Each candidate is scored on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 is highest); this preferential ballot results in a rank order of candidates within each section. The results of that ballot are then presented to the institute's membership committee, which uses the ballot only as a guide. The committee considers not only this ballot, but also the professional achievement of each candidate and the needs of the institute when preparing the final ballot.

The final ballot is prepared by categories (there are seven categories, under which there are 12 sections), and there is a quota to be elected for each category, which is decided by the membership committee and approved by the council. The candidates on the final ballot are rank-ordered within each category. Under the bylaws, there must be 50 percent more names on the ballot than the number to be elected in any category. The final ballot must be approved by the institute's council.

Only active members vote in the final election. Five senior and five foreign members are elected each year. Most years, only 50 to 55 regular members are elected, making the 1997 election an exception.

-E.R.S.


Ron J. Anderson
president and chief executive officer, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas

George J. Annas
Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law and chairman, health law department, Boston University School of Public Health

Barbara F. Atkinson
Annenberg Dean, MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Philadelphia

Eugene A. Bauer
Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor and dean, School of Medicine, Stanford University

Regina M. Benjamin
owner and administrator, Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala.

Donald M. Berwick
president and chief executive officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston

Dennis M. Bier
professor of pediatrics and chief, nutrition section, department of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Mina J. Bissell
director, life sciences division, E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Enriqueta C. Bond
president, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Durham, N.C.

William H. Bowen
professor of dental research, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester School of Medicine

Allan M. Brandt
Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Jan L. Breslow
Frederick Henry Leonhardt Professor and director, laboratory of biochemical genetics and metabolism, Rockefeller University

Bruce G. Buchanan
University Professor of Computer Science and professor of philosophy and medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Harry P. Cain II
executive vice president for business alliances, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago

Mary Sue Coleman
president, University of Iowa and Iowa Health System, Iowa City

Colleen Conway-Welch
dean and professor, school of nursing, Vanderbilt University; and associate director, Vanderbilt Medical Center Patient Care Services, Nashville, Tenn.

Mark R. Cullen
professor of medicine and public health, occupational and environmental medicine program, Yale University School of Medicine

Peter B. Dervan
professor of chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Thomas S. Edgington
professor, Scripps Research Institute; and professor, department of immunology and vascular biology, Scripps Institutions of Medicine and Science

Stanley Falkow
professor, department of microbiology and immunology, Stanford University

Manning Feinleib
senior research scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and research professor, department of medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center

Howard L. Fields
professor of neurology and physiology, University of California, San Francisco

Richard G. Frank
professor of health economics, Harvard Medical School

Harold P. Freeman
director of surgery and attending surgeon, Harlem Hospital; and professor of clinical surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Kevin Grumbach
research director, Pew Health Professions Commission; and associate professor, department of family and community medicine, Primary Care Research Center, University of California, San Francisco

Zach W. Hall
professor of neurophysiology, University of California, San Francisco

Barton F. Haynes
Frederic M. Hanes Professor and chairman, department of medicine, Duke University Medical Center

David D. Ho
director, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center for the City of New York Inc., Rockefeller University

Ralph I. Horwitz
Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and chairman, department of internal medicine, Yale University School of Medicine

David E. Housman
professor of biology, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suzanne T. Ildstad
director, Institute for Cellular Therapeutics; and professor of surgery, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences

Richard M. Knapp
executive vice president, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; and director, Institute on Aging; and chief, division of geriatric medicine, Ralston-Penn Center, Philadelphia

Marie C. McCormick
Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor and chairwoman, department of maternal and child health, Harvard School of Public Health

William W. McGuire
chairman, president, and chief executive officer, United HealthCare Corp., Minnetonka, Minn.

John Mendelsohn
president, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston

I. George Miller, Jr.
John F. Enders Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and professor of epidemiology, molecular biophysics, and biochemistry, Yale University School of Medicine

Linda B. Miller
president, Volunteer Trustees Foundation for Research and Education, Washington, D.C.

John T. Monahan
Henry and Grace Doherty Professor of Law and professor of psychology and legal medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Jennifer R. Niebyl
professor and head, department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City

Stephen G. Pauker
Sara Murray Jordan Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine; and chief, division of clinical decision-making, informatics, and telemedicine, department of medicine, New England Medical Center, Boston

Steven M. Paul
vice president, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis

Philip A. Pizzo
Thomas Morgan Rotch Professor and chairman, department of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; and physician-in-chief and chairman, department of medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston

Jeffrey L. Platt
Dorothy W. and Joseph W. Beard Professor of Experimental Surgery and professor of pediatrics and immunology, Duke University Medical Center

Vinod K. Sahney
senior vice president, planning and strategic development, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit

Jonathan M. Samet
professor and chairman, department of epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health

Leonard D. Schaeffer
chairman and chief executive officer, Wellpoint Health Networks Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.

Gloria R. Smith
vice president for programs, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Mich.

Helen L. Smits
president and medical director, HealthRight Inc., Meriden, Conn.

Judith L. Swain
Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor and chairwoman, department of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

Judith E. Tintinalli
professor and chairwoman, department of emergency medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Joseph J. Volpe
Bronson Crothers Professor and chairman, department of neurology, Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School

A. Eugene Washington
professor and chairman, department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, University of California, San Francisco

Ralph R. Weichselbaum
Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor and chairman, department of radiation and cellular oncology, University of Chicago

Bryce Weir
Maurice Goldblatt Professor; professor of surgery and neurology; and director, Brain Research Institute, University of Chicago

Kenneth B. Wells
professor, department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

Michael J. Welsh
investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of internal medicine and of physiology and biophysics, department of internal medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City

Nancy S. Wexler
Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

James T. Willerson
Edward Randall III Professor and chairman, department of internal medicine, University of Texas Medical School, Houston

Robert H. Wurtz
chief, Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute
Senior Members

Aaron T. Beck
University Professor, Emeritus, of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

C. McCollister Evarts
chief executive officer, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; and senior vice president for health affairs and dean, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey

Robert J. Gorlin
Regents' Professor, Emeritus, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Howard Leventhal
Board of Governors Professor of Psychology, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.

Louis Sokoloff
medical officer, physiology, and chief, Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism, National Institute of Mental Health

Foreign Associates

Zang-Hee Cho
Visiting Chair Professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul; and professor of radiology sciences and psychiatry and human behavior, department of radiological sciences, University of California, Irvine

Tadamitsu Kishimoto
professor, department of medicine III, Osaka University Medical School, Yamada-oka, Japan

Charles Marsden
dean and professor of clinical neurology, Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London

Sir Peter J. Morris
Nuffield Professor of Surgery and chairman, department of surgery, University of Oxford, England

Bengt Samuelsson
professor, department of medical biochemistry and biophysics, division of physiological chemistry II, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Edward R. Silverman is a writer with the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.