Edward J. Van Liere, M.D. was the “Father of the WVU Medical Center.” He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was Professor and Chair of Physiology before he became Dean of the School of Medicine in 1937 – his reign lasted until 1960. Dr. Van Liere developed the two-year medical school into a four-year accredited program. After WWII, he instituted an accelerated medical curriculum in response to the country’s need for physicians. He was also a consultant to Surgeon General of the United States.
Dr. Van Liere’s life-long love was research. He was a pioneer in altitude physiology, studying the effects of low oxygen pressure (hypoxia) on the body. Two publications highlight his research career and are considered seminal papers:
- Anoxia, Its Effect on the Body, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1942
- Hypoxia, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1963
Dr. Van Liere insisted on academic excellence fostered by scientific research and firmly believed in repeated, repeated, repeated observations. Below, are two of his famous quotes:
- “Special attention must be called to research in any treatise dealing with medical education.”
- “What is the evidence that leads you to that conclusion?”