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March 24, 2009, Volume 55, No. 26

Dr. Epstein, Medicine


Dr. Paul Epstein, clinical professor of medicine and noted expert in occupational pulmonary medicine, passed away March 12 at the age of 68 from pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Epstein was a graduate of Princeton University. He earned his medical degree from Tufts University. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in pulmonary medicine under Dr. Alfred P. Fishman. After his appointment to the faculty at Penn in 1973, Dr. Epstein served as director of the Pulmonary Fellowship Training Program until he left HUP to become chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the “new” Graduate Hospital in 1981. He built a highly respected academic practice there. Dr. Epstein returned to the Penn faculty in 1994 and built a practice in general and occupational pulmonary medicine at Penn Medicine, Radnor. During the course of his career, he evaluated nearly 20,000 individuals for pneumoconiosis. He lectured and wrote about coal workers’ lungs, silicosis, asbestosis-related lung disease and other related occupational lung diseases. In 2005, he testified influentially before the Senate Judiciary Committee on asbestosis and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

Concurrently, Dr. Epstein built a national and international reputation as a medical editor and educator in service to the American College of Physicians (ACP). He served as associate editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine from 1977 to 1997 and as deputy editor from 1997 to 2008. He also served as editor-in-chief of the ACP Medical Knowledge and Self Assessment Program (MKSAP) for the 12th and 13th editions, and as co-editor of the 14th edition of MKSAP. Dr. Epstein served as ACP governor of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Region from 2000 to 2006, and as president of the Pennsylvania College of Internal Medicine, the ACP Chapter for the state. He was the Laureate winner from the Pennsylvania Chapter in 2004. Dr. Epstein became a master of the American College of Physicians in 2007.

Dr. Epstein is survived by his wife, Marcia; and daughters, Robin and Amy.


Dr. Saunders, Veterinary Medicine


Dr. Leon Z. Saunders, retired adjunct professor of pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease March 4. He was 89 years old.

A native of Manitoba, Canada, Dr. Saunders was a graduate of Wesley College and Ontario Veterinary College.

After serving in World War II as a veterinary officer, he earned a master’s degree in veterinary bacteriology from what is now Iowa State University in 1946. He earned a doctorate in pathology from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1951.

In 1970, Dr. Saunders became a visiting professor of pathology in the department of pathobiology in Penn’s Vet School while also serving as an executive for Smith Kline & French Laboratories (now GlaxoSmithKline). He continued to teach at Penn as an adjunct professor until he retired in 1984. He retired from Smith Kline in 1990 after working there for 32 years.

For his studies of the history of veterinary pathology, Dr. Saunders was the first American  awarded the Cheiron medal, the highest international award presented to a historian of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Saunders is survived by his wife, Marliese; daughter, Christine; a brother; a sister; and two grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Dr. Leon Z. Saunders (Class of 1951) Memorial Scholarship Fund, Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, Box 39, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401.

Ms. Zahn, LRSM

Nora D. Zahn, retired administrative assistant in the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM), passed away March 9 at age 94.

In 1960, Ms. Zahn was hired as an administrative assistant in the School of Arts and Sciences. Six years later she became an assistant to the director of LRSM, Dr. Alan Heeger, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. She remained at LRSM until her retirement in 1982.

Ms. Zahn is survived by her sons, Spencer, Brian and Robert; and five grandchildren.

To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.

Almanac - March 24, 2009, Volume 55, No. 26