ASPEN Mourns the Loss of its First President, Stanley J. Dudrick, MD, FACS

His pioneering research and leadership in parenteral nutrition advanced surgery and continues to save millions of lives worldwide

January 19, 2020, Silver Spring, MD — Dr. Stanley J. Dudrick, FACS, the first president and founder of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) died yesterday. Dr. Dudrick’s groundbreaking research in the efficacy of intravenous feeding is recognized as one of the three most important advances in modern surgery.

Dr. Dudrick’s research, first published in 1968, and his continuing commitment to the development of parenteral nutrition, has transformed the care of acutely ill patients and saved the lives of millions of children and adults.

“With the passing of Dr. Dudrick, medicine has lost one of its most inspirational leaders,” said ASPEN President Lingtak-Neander Chan, PharmD, BCNSP. “Dr. Dudrick’s legacy goes far beyond his pioneering research. While he continued as the seminal scientist in the development of parenteral nutrition, throughout his life he also chaired the surgery department at four institutions, authored textbooks and hundreds of journal articles, and taught and mentored countless physicians and other healthcare providers. Dr. Dudrick will be remembered as a healer and visionary, whose kindness has deeply touched many people, and whose achievements have changed the lives of many.”

“Dr. Dudrick truly nourished other medical and healthcare professionals. He always found the time to meet with physicians, scientists, clinicians, and students from around the world to answer questions about his research and nutrition. ASPEN’s archives are filled with letters of appreciation—and wonder—at his generosity, knowledge, and compassion,” said Marion Winkler, PhD, RD, President of the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation.

A tireless proponent of the importance of the science of nutrition, Dr. Dudrick was one of the 35 healthcare professionals who worked together in 1975 to create ASPEN as an interdisciplinary association founded for the purpose of providing optimal nutrition to all people.

“ASPEN’s interdisciplinary membership and approach reflects one of the principles that guided Dr. Dudrick’s life and marked his brilliant and life-changing career,” said ASPEN’s 8th president Ezra Steiger, MD, FACS, FASPEN, AGAF. “He practiced collaboration from the earliest days of his research when he reached out to other physician specialists, basic scientists, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, and medical suppliers.”

“ASPEN also continues Dr. Dudrick’s commitment to scientific research and advancement through its educational programs and journal publications that he championed,” said Marion Winkler. “In addition, each year the Dudrick Research Scholar Award is presented to a mid-career scientist who is contributing to our understanding and the advancement of nutritional support.”

ASPEN is far from alone in recognizing Dr. Dudrick’s contributions to medical research, education, and clinical practice.

Throughout his inspirational life, Dr. Dudrick received more than 100 national and international honors and awards including the AMA Joseph B. Goldberger Award in Clinical Nutrition; the AMA Brookdale Award in Medicine; the Ladd Medal of the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Nutrition Goldsmith Award; and the American Surgical Association’s First Flance/Karl Award in 1997 for his seminal and lifetime scientific contributions to surgery; and the American College of Surgeons Jacobsen Innovation Award in 2005.

“In 2017 we recognized Dr. Dudrick’s visionary and paradigm-shifting contribution to clinical nutrition in his development of parenteral nutrition and his outstanding mentorship of generation after generation of nutrition professionals with ASPEN’s first Lifetime Achievement Award,“ said ASPEN’s 40th president,  Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FASPEN. “His perseverance and insight were appreciated on that occasion with heartfelt toasts, hugs and tears from clinicians and patients alike.  He will be sorely missed. “

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Dudrick graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a B.S. degree in Biology with honors in 1957. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1961. After completing a rotating internship and residency training in general surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Dudrick joined the faculty at Penn and rose in rank from Instructor to Professor of Surgery within five years.

His distinguished academic career spanned more than 40 years, including his selection as the first Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the then new University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He went on to chair the departments of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania; at Saint Mary’s Hospital, a Yale teaching hospital; and at Bridgeport Hospital/Yale New Haven Health System. He also served as Professor of Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine; and Adjunct Clinical Professor of Surgery of Quinnipiac College, Bridgeport Hospital/Yale New Haven Health System. In 2007, Dr. Dudrick was named — and remained active for a number of years — as Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery and Director Emeritus of the Program in Surgery at Saint Mary’s Hospital and at Yale. 

When his health allowed, Dr. Dudrick continued to participate in ASPEN programs and events, including ASPEN’s annual Nutrition Science & Practice Conferences. “He drew a crowd wherever he went and never tired of sharing his inspiring stories with everyone. He followed new research with great curiosity and enthusiasm and was generous with his encouragement and guidance to young clinicians and investigators. He was a true educator, mentor and role model for all,” said Immediate Past President Nilesh M. Mehta, MD.

“He also was very active in the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation, serving many years on the Board of Directors, and as Director Emeritus. This commitment to research demonstrated his dedication to young investigators discovering the next important breakthrough in clinical nutrition,” said Nilesh Mehta.

In a 2006 interview, Dr. Dudrick said, “And I hope that I would be remembered as somebody who truly, greatly appreciates the privilege of having spent a wonderful life with wonderful parents, family, teachers, mentors, colleagues, residents, fellows, students, staff, friends, and patients, who have contributed so much to enrich my life and to allow me to feel that I might have achieved some of my own goals and aspirations and whatever the purpose or purposes were of my creator.” 

“Our condolences go out to Dr. Dudrick’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with his wife Terri (Theresa), who had been at his side since medical school and to his six children — Susan Marie, Stanley Jonathan, Holly Anne, Paul Stanley, Carolyn Mary, and Anne Theresa — who shared their father with laboratory experiments, patients, and medical students,” said ASPEN Chief Executive Officer Wanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, FACEHP.  

Messages can be left on the digital guestbook

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ABOUT ASPEN
The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, ASPEN is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,500 members from around the world, ASPEN is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research and education. For more information about ASPEN, please visit www.nutritioncare.org.