David A. Wood

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David Alvra Wood, MD. (December 21, 1904 - November 6, 1996), was a medical doctor noted for his advanced research in cancer research and pathology.

The American Association for cancer education is saddened by the death of one of its most distinguished Charter Members, David Alvra Wood, MD of San Francisco, Professor Emeritus of Pathology, University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine. Dr. Wood was active in the Coordinators of Cancer Teaching from its founding in 1948, and he served as its Chairman in 1962. He became a Charter Member of the American Association for Cancer Education (AACE) when it was founded in 1966. He served as Historian of the AACE from 1981 to 1993, and in 1987 he was awarded the Margaret Hay Edwards Achievement Medal, the highest honor of the AACE, being its second recipient after Dr. Edwards.

Born in Flora Vista, New Mexico to Evans and Blanche Wood, Wood grew up in modest surroundings in Gooding, Idaho. Showing academic talent from an early age, Wood graduated valedictorian of his high school class. He attended Stanford University receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1926 and the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1930. He joined the faculty of Stanford University of Medicine in 1930 and was professor of pathology until 1951, during which period married Ora Belle Bomberger, the mother of their five children.

During World War II he served as a distinguished Navy doctor at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital rising to the rank of Captain.

In 1951, Wood became the head of the Cancer Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he served until his retirement in 1972 when he became Professor Emeritus. In 1983, the University of California endowed the David A. Wood Chair for Tumor Biology and Cancer Research in his honor.

In 1956, Wood became the president of the American Cancer Society, from which he received the organization's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award (ACS)|Distinguished Service Award, in 1972. After serving on a key National Cancer Institute advisory committee from 1968-1970 and then as president, chair, and consultant to various other organizations Wood retired.

His interests in cancer diagnosis and research centered on the gastrointestinal tract. He was author of the fascicle on tumors of the intestines in the prestigious series Atlas of Tumor Pathology. He was an authority on the histopathology and staging of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the colorectum. He was a member of the American Joint Commission on Colon, Rectum and Anus from 1962 to 1984. He published more than 150 articles, books, and book chapters in the fields of pathology, pharmacology, tumor biology, and cancer education.

His contributions to the nation’s cancer programs were monumental. He served as President of the College of American Pathologists from 1952 to 1955 and as President of the American Cancer Society in 1956-57. He was a lifetime member of the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, attending their national meetings well into his eighties. He was a consultant to the National Cancer Institute from 1956 to 1970, participating in the drafting of the National Cancer Act and serving as Chair of the Committee on Population Screening. He was a member of the James Ewing Society, subsequently named the Society of Surgical Oncology, and he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

Dr. Wood was truly one of the pioneering giants of cancer education of the twentieth century. He was a key figure in the evaluation of medical student cancer education in the 1950s through the application of a national interschool multiple-choice examinations that permitted comparisons of different teaching techniques and curricular methods.

Wood died at age 91 of a blood ailment at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco on November 6, 1996. His legacy lives on in the David A. Wood Chair of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research, established at UCSF in 1983.

External links

  • "History and Overview". Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. UCSF.
  • "David Alvra Wood III Family pages". Genealogy. Ancestry. Feb 2, 2010.
  • "Obituaries". Stanford Magazine. Stanford Alumni. Mar 1997.
  • "David A. Wood". Obituary. NY Times. Nov 13, 1996.
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