Former NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz Remembered in Speech and Song
RO-1 Grant category, IRP scholars program, Building 10 conference room named in his honor
Colleagues Pay Their Respects
"We see NIAMS as the keeper of Steve's legacy and by internalizing Steve's values, we at NIAMS continue to feel his force." Dr. Robert Carter Acting Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
"I felt so very lucky to have Steve as a trusted colleague and as a very special mentor. It was only years later that I realized many people felt this way about Steve." Dr. Lawrence Tabak Principal Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health
"He was a man of action and as a gentleman… his personal interest and wise counsel were invaluable. ..I was not alone in loving this wonderful and generous physician." Dr. Vivian Pinn Former Director, Office of Research on Women's Health
"He was a citizen of NIH…he put NIH first, then his Institute, and then himself. He was a special tree in the NIH forest." Dr. Elias Zerhouni Former Director, National Institutes of Health
"Steve was remarkably wise, kind and generous person. He was completely committed to the NIH and its mission. I was fortunate to have him as a colleague, a mentor and guide. His interest was genuine and advice heartfelt and honest." Dr. Story Landis Former Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
"Steve was a consummate physician… encyclopedic in his knowledge, with an endearing bedside manner. His analytical skills, his heartfelt compassion for mankind and his deep integrity were a wonder to behold. There is no task he would not undertake for the good of NIH." Dr. Anthony Fauci Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
"I believe the effect that Steve had on all us will lead his legacy…let the measure of his strength and generosity of character extend well beyond his own his own life through all we can do to perpetuate it." Dr. Richard Hodes Director, National Institute on Aging
"Steve was highly celebrated as both an active and prominent leader in the dermatology community and as NIAMS Director in setting important research goals. His personal mentoring of generations of physician/scientists and building and sustaining the dermatology branch has had a profound influence on our field." Dr. Heidi Kong Investigator, Dermatology Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
"Steve was…. a person of many talents … a cheerful fellow who saw problems but thought only about how to solve them. He was the most straightforward person I have ever known." Dr. Harold Varmus Former Director, National Institutes of Health
"We are initiating new form of the RO 1 award, made available to early stage investigators which encourages the development of novel ideas and programs by individuals who wish to start their careers in new directions over where they might have been in their previous training, and for which preliminary data will only be required in a very modest way. That award will be known as the Stephen I. Katz RO 1 award. This new program will allow some of our best and brightest to launch their careers in new and innovative ways, something that Stephen always promoted and would have loved." Dr. Francis Collins Director, National Institutes of Health
On May 3, friends, colleagues and co-workers gathered in the NIH Clinical Center Masur Auditorium to remember and reflect on the life and professional influence of former National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) director, Dr. Stephen I. Katz, who passed away on Dec. 20, 2018. View the celebration online.
Katz came to NIH in 1974 as a Senior Investigator in the Dermatology Branch at the National Cancer Institute, initiating a highly productive research program in the immunology of skin diseases. By 1980 he was Branch Chief, and when a Director for NIAMS was sought in 1995, Katz emerged as the ideal candidate.
Katz was the head of the Clinical Center Governing Board, a group established in 2011 to provide recommendations on the budget, policy direction and oversite of the Clinical Center. In that role, he worked very closely with Dr. Jim Gilman, CEO of the Clinical Center.
Shortly after Katz passing, Gilman said, "I come from a background where people love to tell about the battles that they fought. In [the] Navy and Army they call them sea stories or war stories. Lots of people will give you advice on how to fight a battle but Steve fought these battles for you. That's what Steve did here at the Clinical Center and more in my two years here. And I only know a portion of the times he did that. He was a great friend, and we will miss him very much."
Remembered not only for his achievements and unique expertise in dermatology, Katz was warmly recalled as supporter and NIH 'booster', a friend, a father, and as expressed by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, 'a wonderful scientist and remarkable leader.'
At the event, it was announced that the NIH is pursuing naming a category of NIH's existing R01 grant award in memory of Katz. The R01 is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH and it provides support for health-related research and development based on the NIH mission. In addition, the NIAMS intramural research program will be sponsoring the Katz Scholars Program "for dermatologists pursuing advanced research training in the Dermatology Branch" and named a conference room on the 12th floor of Building 10 in his honor.
A three-song musical tribute from an NIH musical group led by Dr. Collins (including vocals from Katz's daughter, Karen Katz) opened and closed the event – a fitting tribute for a lifelong music lover.
Members of the Katz family – sons Mark and Ken, and daughter Karen all remembered their father in brief, moving statements of affection.
Web exclusive! NIH was fortunate to have Dr. Katz discuss his life and career in 2018 as part of the NIH Office of History Oral History Project. Learn more.
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