Harry Dowling

Harry F. Dowling, MD

The Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Illinois at Chicago has a long history of excellence in the field of Infectious Diseases. The first Chief of the Division was Dr. Harry F. Dowling in 1950.

Dr. Dowling was trained as the first fellow under Maxwell Finland who is known as the father of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Dowling received his medical degree with distinction from the George Washington University in 1931. From 1934 to 1950, he contributed more than 100 publications on various aspects of the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases and was among the first investigators to evaluate immune serum, sulfonamides, and penicillin in the treatment of pneumococcal infection. Dr. Dowling was recruited to Chicago in 1950 to be Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the University of Illinois, School of Medicine. The very next year, he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician in Chief at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital. He remained in those positions for the next 18 years and, along with his early recruits Mark H. Lepper and George G. Jackson and many other faculty members, students, and trainees, contributed almost 100 major articles to the medical literature.

Dr. Dowling’s studies always were aimed at clearly defining the best and most practical ways to manage infection. Even then he cautioned about the overuse of antibiotics; he was among the first to demonstrate that the administration of two antibiotics to an infected patient was not necessarily better than one and, in fact, may be worse than either used alone. As head of the Department of Medicine of the University of Illinois at Chicago, he played a key role in developing the College of Medicine in the current era of high technology and specific pharmacologic therapy.

Division Chiefs that followed Dr. Dowling and contributed to the field of Infectious Diseases include George Gee Jackson, Albert Anderson, James L. Cook and present day Division Chief, Richard M. Novak. Dr. Novak has worked in the Division of Infectious Diseases for the past 36 years, dividing his time between teaching, research and patient care. In 1991 he collaborated with the UIC School of Public Health and sought funding to establish a few neighborhood HIV clinics in the worst afflicted neighborhoods in Chicago. He has been actively involved in HIV clinical care now for 30 years and serves as the Director of what has grown into the UIC Community Clinic Network. Dr. Novak has been engaged in HIV treatment and prevention research throughout his career, much of it sponsored by the NIAID or CDC. He has written and co-authored over 100 original research papers, reviews and book chapters in medical literature.

Today, the Division of Infectious Diseases is committed to excellence in the areas of patient care, and education in an academic environment dedicated to discovery through basic research and clinical investigation. The Division of Infectious Diseases Faculty have specific areas of clinical and basic research expertise that provide a spectrum of collaborative interactions with Faculty in other Divisions in the Department of Medicine and in other Departments in the College of Medicine and other Colleges at the University of Illinois. These interdisciplinary interactions enrich the division’s activities, its contribution to clinical and scientific initiatives at the University and its ability to provide the best teaching environment in which to train the academic Infectious Diseases Faculty of the future through our Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program.

Past Chiefs & Service Years

Harry F. Dowling, MD 1950-1968

George G. Jackson, MD 1968-1986

Burton Anderson, MD 1986-1999

James Cook, MD 1999-2012

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