March 30, 1921 - March 26, 2017 Dr. Barbara Maria Korsch Ward passed away in Santa Monica, CA on Sunday, March 26, 2017, just 4 days shy of her 96th birthday, surrounded by her son, Robert, close friends and her beloved King Charles Spaniels: Oliver and Nigel. Barbara M. Korsch received her B.A. from Smith College in 1941 and her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1944. After her residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics, she completed her fellowship at the Institute of Child Development at Cornell University in 1949. Dr. Korsch was a professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California from 1969 until her retirement in the summer of 2015. She served as co-director, CHLA Development and Behavioral Pediatric Program. From 1968 to 1980 she served as director of Doctor-Patient Communication at CHLA and then served as head of the Division of General Pediatrics (1981-1989). Dr. Korsch's research and professional interests have included priorities in pediatric education and the psychosocial aspects of pediatrics. She was a founder and first chair of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, and is best known for her pioneering work in the area of doctor-patient communication. Dr. Korsch's many roles at USC have included co-founder/director, Introduction to Clinical Medicine program at USC. She had held visiting professorships in the United States, Germany, Italy, Canada, Vietnam, South Africa, France, Japan, England, Switzerland, and Belgium. Dr. Korsch was the recipient of the following major honors and awards: the Ambulatory Pediatric Association George Armstrong Lectureship (1973) and Distinguished Career Award (1991); elected to the National Academy of Sciences (National Institute of Medicine) (1981); the AAP C. Anderson Aldrich Award (1988); the American Academy on Physician and Patient Honorary Lifetime Fellow (1993); and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles Phillip E. Rothman Professorship (1999). Dr. Korsch authored numerous publications, including journal articles, books, and chapters. She produced the teaching video, Patient Centered Communications in Pediatric Practice-Reducing the Power Gap. She also authored two books: "The Intelligent Patient's Guide to the Doctor-Patient Relationship: Learning How to Talk So Your Doctor Will Listen" and "We are All Patients." Dr. Korsch was not only a pioneering luminary for physicians; she made it her business to learn what nurses do beyond their duty to carry out doctors' orders, and appreciated their primary responsibility as patient advocates. She fostered interdisciplinary communication, championed for pediatric pain management, and helped develop policies for addressing biomedical ethical dilemma. In honor of all her contributions, a stone has been in the CHLA garden for many years enscribed: "Listen'-Good advice from a good doctor," underscored with her name. Dr. Korsch Ward is survived by her son, Robert Ward III. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Robert Ward, her sister Sybille, and her parents. Among Barbara's many passions were learning multiple languages, joining the Literary club and the German language club, playing chess and daily ocean swims. A memorial service will be held at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, with details to be announced in April. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Barbara Korsch Ward Foundation, at 330 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Mar. 30 to Apr. 1, 2017.