John C. Beck

Obituary
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1924 - 2016
John C. Beck, M,D., an extraordinary man beloved of many, died of a pulmonary embolism in Perth, Australia on September 29, 2016 at the age of 92.

Dr. Beck is survived by the wife he adored, Arlene Fink; a son, Philip Beck; a sister, Ellen McLean; and his beloved golden retriever, Ingvard.

Dr. Beck was a distinguished academic who contributed enormously to the development of medical institutions in Canada, the USA, Israel, and countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. The international reputation of the Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, are in part a reflection of his vision and leadership. At the time of his death, he was an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Beck was Chair of the Department of Medicine at McGill University and Physician-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and trained innumerable graduate students. He was instrumental in organizing the first International Congress of Endocrinology in Copenhagen in 1960, which ultimately led to the formation of the International Society of Endocrinology. Dr. Beck was elected Secretary-General, a role he played until 1976. He was responsible for the organization of international congresses of endocrinology and the development of a companion organization, the International Society of Neuroendocrinology.

Over time, Dr. Beck became concerned about the fragmentation of medicine, the role of primary care in the delivery of health services, and the health and social care of the elderly. In view of his leadership in the pilot Clinical Scholars Program sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation and the Commonwealth Fund of New York to address such concerns, Dr. Beck became the Program's first National Director. The Clinical Scholars Program has become one of the most prestigious fellowships awarded to physicians in the USA.

Dr. Beck moved to Los Angeles in 1974, and with his colleagues, built one of the earliest and strongest programs in geriatric medicine in the USA. He became Director of UCLA's MultiCampus Division of Geriatric Medicine, where he remained for ten years. When Dr. Beck left to pursue other activities, UCLA's Division of Geriatrics was deemed to be the best in the USA.

Dr. Beck was awarded a Mastership from the American College of Physicians, the Milo F. Leavitt Memorial Award from the American Geriatrics Society, and the Duncan Graham Award of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada). Dr. Beck was a member of the Institute of Medicine, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also a recipient of the Philip's Award, a lifetime award for Clinical Excellence which was conferred by The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

Memorial Service: Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 10:45 am at UCLA Luskin Conference Center, 425 Westwood Plaza.

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Published on NYTimes.com from Nov. 9 to Nov. 10, 2016
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