ANNA-RIITTA FUCHS

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FUCHS--Anna-Riitta. Pioneering endocrinologist and educator. Anna-Riitta was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1926, the youngest child of Martti and Rut Olsson. At the age of 13 she enlisted in the junior corps of the women's auxiliary when the country was attacked by the Soviet army in the aftermath of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Stalin and Hitler. At age 17, she joined the regular women's auxiliary corps of the armed forces and served as a communications specialist and air raid observer with various combat units. After the war, she married the Danish doctor, Fritz Friedrich Fuchs and settled in Copenhagen. The couple eventually had four children. In 1950, she received a Master of Science in Chemistry with honors from the University of Helsinki. She and Fritz spent a year in the US in 1951 as research fellows at the Carnegie Institution in Baltimore. The family moved permanently to the United States in 1964. Initially, she worked as a researcher in endocrinology at the Rockefeller University. Later, she became Professor of Endocrinology at Cornell University. Already an established scientist, she received the D. Sc. Degree from Copenhagen University in 1978. Her research focused on the endocrinology of childbirth. Her work elucidated the role of oxytocin in the onset of labor and led to pioneering research on the use of ethanol as a treatment for premature labor. She volunteered to be a test subject herself when she went into labor prematurely with her last child, Lars, who was born to term two months later. In her long scientific career, she published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters and several textbooks. She served as a visiting scientist in Salvador, Brazil, Bangkok, Thailand and Hamburg, Germany and was appointed a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Fuchs was an active promoter of women in science throughout her career. Among the researchers she mentored in her lab are several successful women doctors and scientists. In 2001, she was appointed Professor Emerita at Weill-Cornell Medical College at Cornell University. In 2003, Dr. Fuchs became the second woman to receive the Carl G. Hartman Award, the highest honor conferred by the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Anna-Riitta is survived by her four children, Anneli, Martin, Peter and Lars, and five grandchildren.

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 23, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Chas. Peter Nagel Funeral Directors
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