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Obituaries

Stephen I Katz: influential director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l171 (Published 11 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l171
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. Washington, DC, USA
  1. bobroehr{at}aol.com
Credit: NIAMS

Steve Katz’s selection to be director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) in 1995 generated some apprehension among the arthritis community.

The institute had been separated from a larger body by law in 1985. Its first director was renowned rheumatologist Lawrence E Shulman. As its second director, Katz was an unknown figure, a dermatologist who had a laboratory at the National Cancer Institute.

“He quickly won over both the research and patient communities with his commitment to science, immunology, and the NIH,” Debra Lappin told The BMJ. She served on an advisory council to NIAMS and was a board member and later chair of the non-profit Arthritis Foundation when Katz was appointed.

“He was politically very astute. You don’t do all that he did without understanding how to manage, how to read the political tea leaves, and how to prioritise what was important for his time and leadership.” Lappin said, “I don’t think I ever sent him an email that he didn’t respond to within an …

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