NOVITCH Avrum Mark Novitch Died on September 16, 2019, age 87, of complications from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). A physician and retired executive, Mark is survived by his wife of 48 years, Louise; daughter, Julia; sister, Beth Rossheim of Williamsburg, VA; and several nieces and nephews. His brother Joel predeceased him. Mark was born on April 23, 1932 in New London, CT to Charles and Mary Novitch. He graduated from Bulkeley School in 1950, Yale University in 1954 (BA), and New York Medical College in 1958 (MD). He served his medical residency at Boston City Hospital until 1960. Various fellowships and assistantships followed throughout most of the 1960s at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, MA and Harvard Medical School. He held a lifelong love for both New London and Boston. Mark moved to Washington, DC in 1967 and began a remarkable career of public service when he joined the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs. He was Assistant Staff Director of the Task Force on Prescription Drugs from 1967 to 1969. In 1970, he became a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution. A year later, in 1971, he joined the US Food and Drug Administration as Deputy Associate Commissioner for Medical Affairs. He became Deputy Commissioner in 1981. In 1982, he spearheaded urgent policy changes during the "Tylenol Crisis," leading to breakthroughs in medical and food safety packaging. He served as Acting Commissioner of the FDA in 1983 and 1984. In 1985, Mark began his career in the private sector when he joined The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, MI as Corporate Vice President. He retired in 1994 as Vice Chairman, Board Member, and Chief Compliance Officer. Mark believed strongly in giving back to one's community and became very active in local affairs. He served on the Board of Trustees at Kalamazoo College and as Chairman of the fundraising campaign for the Kalamazoo Valley Public Museum. For a decade, Mark served first as President of the US Pharmacopeia, then as Past President and Member of the Board of Trustees. After leaving Upjohn in 1994, he returned to Washington, DC as Adjunct Professor of Health Care Sciences at George Washington University and served on various boards throughout the US. Mark loved to travel, and his work took him to a multitude of places around the world. He was a keen reader of history and a passionate collector of medical books and antiquities. He always maintained an inquisitive mind. Mark devoted his working career to public service, believing passionately in and striving for accessible, affordable health care for all. Anyone who knew him, casually or personally, witnessed a man who treated all people with equal kindness and respect. Around 2005, he retired from public life to spend more time with his family. People who knew him well marveled at his humility and integrity. Demonstrating this humble quality, in death as in life, he requested no memorial services. His family would like to extend a special thanks to the Infusion Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital and to the blood donors who gave the family more time together.His family would like to extend a special thanks to the Infusion Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital and to the blood donors who gave the family more time together.
Published in The Washington Post on Sep. 22, 2019.