Clark D. West, MD, a pioneer in pediatric nephrology and a renowned clinician who led our division of nephrology for 36 years, died last week at the age of 95.
Dr. West was born July 4, 1918 in Jamestown, New York and chose the career of medicine as a result of his mother’s insistence that he choose a career outside of the family’s farming roots.
He arrived at Cincinnati Children’s in 1948 to begin a research fellowship and officially became a member of the faculty in 1951. He established the Division of Physiological Chemistry in 1953 – that division was renamed Nephrology in 1973.
The medical career his mother encouraged was full of achievements, including his participation on the team that performed the first kidney transplant in Ohio, in 1965.
Dr. West retired from his clinical practice in 1989, but he continued his research for many years, publishing his last two papers in 2008. He was 90 years old at the time.
Fifty years ago, Dr. West wrote the proposal that won $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to launch the Clinical Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s. A few years later, he and pediatric chair Edward Pratt, MD, wrote the proposal that won funding for the second research building at Cincinnati Children’s, the Institute for Developmental Research (IDR).
Dr. West’s early research was on renal physiology, but over time he switched his focus to the new field of immunology because it was becoming apparent that many renal diseases were of immune origin. He did breakthrough research on a number of kidney diseases but is best known for his work on glomerulonephritis. The successful treatment that he developed is still used today.
Dr. Clark D. West was a truly remarkable man and we know Cincinnati Children’s today stands on the strong foundation he did so much to build as a physician, researcher, teacher and leader. He will be greatly missed.