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James W. Mosley M.D.

1929 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
James W. Mosley M.D. Obituary
August 8, 1929 - November 26, 2015 James Wilson Mosley, M.D., an internationally recognized leader in transfusion medicine, died peacefully after a long illness in Los Angeles, CA. He was Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, where he taught medical students, interns, residents, and fellows, and conducted transfusion-associated academic research since 1970. He was an expert in the epidemiology of hepatitis viruses, HIV, and other food, water, and blood borne infections. He designed and directed two seminal multi-center studies in the U.S., creating the resource of donor-patient repositories for evaluating laboratory tests and assessing the effectiveness of screening of our blood supply. Born in Temple, TX, Jim graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from the University of Texas, Austin. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He did his medicine internship at New York Hospital, medicine residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and infectious diseases residency at New England Center Hospital. While at Harvard, he worked on developing measles and mumps vaccines with Nobel Laureate Dr. John Enders. Jim joined the Public Health Service as a Commissioned Officer and later became Medical Director. Assigned to the Kentucky State Health Department, he investigated hepatitis outbreaks throughout the U.S. He loved medical detective work and the problem solving required for these investigations. He went to work at the Centers for Disease Control and became a leader in research. He set up a laboratory to study and isolate hepatitis virus and became Chief of the Hepatitis Unit. He participated in numerous world-wide epidemic projects, including the World Health Organization's Polio Elimination Program in Pakistan, and the USAID Relief Mission for Smallpox and Cholera in East Pakistan. As a pioneer in blood borne pathogens, he collaborated with hepatitis scientists in Israel, Iran and other Middle East countries and mentored students from Greece, Romania, Croatia, and Chile. He was a Fogarty Senior International Fellow at the International Center for Medical Research and Training in Costa Rica. He left the Public Health Service in 1970 and joined the USC School of Medicine as Director of the Epidemiologic Research Laboratory. In the early 1980's, he took a leave to serve as Medical Epidemiologist and Director of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Program at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. From the mid-1970's to the early 1980's, Jim was Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health Transfusion-transmitted Viruses Study (TTVS) to investigate the cause of non-A, non-B hepatitis, later established as hepatitis C virus and approaches to prevention in 4 U.S. cities. He established a large national repository of serial specimens from 8,000 study participants. In more recent years, his primary research interest was the application of increasingly sensitive tests for hepatitis C to study the transmission and course of infection in participants of the study. In 1983, Jim was instrumental in the development of the NIH Transfusion Safety Study (TSS) to investigate the newly-identified AIDS virus (HIV) and related viruses transmitted by blood transfusion. He led the organization of 6 clinical centers to study HIV-infected blood donors and transfusion recipients to study factors that influence the occurrence and progression of HIV infection to AIDS. A total of 4,000 persons were enrolled and observed for over 25,000 visits, creating a large specimen repository available for future research. TSS was the largest single study funded by the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. During his distinguished career, Jim authored and co-authored over 150 research papers, 20 books or book chapters, and over 100 other publications. He was Associate Editor for several medical journals and principal investigator of 13 federal research grants or contracts. He was chairman, member, or consultant to numerous national and international infectious disease advisory committees, including the Surgeon General, Veteran's Administration, FDA, and national blood banking organizations. In addition to his academic work, Jim loved gardening, great food and wine, and the companionship of his dogs. He enjoyed sharing and discussing his intellectual curiosities and was a long-time member of the La Ca�ada Men's Book Club. He was a master of words and enjoyed writing. In college he submitted a short story to the New Yorker and was very proud to have received a hand-written response from its founder and editor-in-chief complimenting him and asking him to "try us again." He loved traveling and adventures, including mountaineering in the Swiss Alps, parasailing in Tahiti, and whitewater rafting in Colorado. He was a devotee of opera and musicals, classical and contemporary music, the theater, and the visual arts. He loved archaeology and visited many archaeological sites throughout the world. Jim will be remembered for his tireless professional career and his remarkable intellect, scientific rigor, intellectual curiosity, grace, sense of humor, and quick wit. He was an inspiration to junior faculty and scientists, and a valued colleague, advisor, and mentor. He was a leader able to coalesce scientists from diverse fields, resulting in major contributions to transfusion medicine. Numerous other NHLBI transfusion safety programs have been modeled after the TTVS and TSS. He was modest about his own accomplishments and contributions, but eager to acknowledge those of others with whom he worked. Most important was his dedication to scientific integrity, for which he remains a model. He is survived by his loving wife, Eva Operskalski, his former wife Ann Mosley and their three children, Carolyn Hansen, Bruce Mosley, and Laura Mosley, and two grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to the Glendale Humane Society (717 Ivy Street, Glendale, CA, 91204).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 20 to Jan. 24, 2016
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