Dr. Peter Sheehan
AGE: 60 • Rumson
Dr. Peter Sheehan, a Rumson native who became an internationally-respected and pioneering force in the field of diabetes, died suddenly May 16th during a medical trip to Jamaica. He was 60 years old.
He was the son of Dr. George Sheehan, the author and advocate of running and exercise, who died in 1993 but remained a strong influence on his son - especially in promoting preventative medicine. Among the younger Dr. Sheehan's achievements was the development of a multi-disciplined approach to the treatment of diabetes - a method adopted by several healthcare systems. In addition to his professional achievements, Dr. Sheehan was known by friends and family as much for his razor-like wit and jokes as his medical prowess.
"He could light up a room and keep everyone enthralled," said Andrew Sheehan, one of his 11 siblings. "He loved people of every stripe, and he worked make their lives better."
A graduate of Christian Brother Academy in Lincroft, he received his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in Endocrinology at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven.
After serving as director of the Diabetes Treatment Center at Staten Island University Hospital, he created and become medical director of the Diabetes Foot and Ankle Center at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, a clinic providing comprehensive care for diabetes sufferers and treatment of foot ulcers. In addition to wound care, the clinic works with patients to tame obesity through diet and exercise. Dr. Sheehan believed weight loss to be as important as blood sugar control in treating diabetes.
After leaving the Center, Dr. Sheehan became a senior faculty member at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, was appointed to the Board of Director of the American Diabetes Association and served as president of the ADA's New York City Board. Under his leadership, the ADA partnered with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch the city's first anti-obesity campaign. He used his positions to become a strong voice for the early detection and treatment of diabetes, which he recognized as a growing health crisis in America disproportionately affecting minorities. "Diabetes is the Hurricane Katrina of American healthcare," he said.
More recently, Dr. Sheehan founded Sheehan Health Management, a consulting firm developing health management systems such as a world-class diabetes clinical program at Sanford Health USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was in health care management discussions with the government of Jamaica at the time of his death.
Dr. Sheehan is survived by his wife Nadege and their son, Patrick, both of New York City. Also surviving are three children from prior marriage, Caitlin, Peter and Nora, all of New York City. He is survived by all of his 11 brothers and sisters. Funeral arrangements are being arranged by the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Avenue, NY, NY.
Published in Asbury Park Press on May 25, 2014