Robert B. Rosen, M.D., a pediatric hematologic oncologist who practiced at City of Hope for 35 years, died on March 21. He was 89.
|Robert Rosen (Photo by AmyCantrell.com/Courtesy of City of Hope Archives)|
Rosen, who specialized in childhood leukemia, served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics for 16 years. He was named to the Gallery of Medical and Scientific Achievement, City of Hope’s highest honor, in 1973. Rosen also was president of the medical staff in 1971.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rosen served in Europe during World War II. Upon his return, he completed studies at Brooklyn College, where he met his wife-to-be, Evelyn Glick. He later earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester and ultimately joined City of Hope in 1962.
Colleagues remember him as unswervingly dedicated to the care of his patients and describe him as a seminal figure at City of Hope. Rosen’s clinical research contributed to the understanding of childhood leukemia, and some of the treatment protocols he helped pioneer remain in use today.
“City of Hope was built on the dedication and commitment of people like him,” said David Snyder, M.D., associate chair of the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. “We use the expression, ‘I’m standing on the shoulders of those who came before me,’ and he’s one of those who led the way at City of Hope.”
Rosen was well-known for helping patients and family members better understand leukemia and its treatment by inviting them to examine blood and bone marrow samples under the double microscope in his office.
According to many, Rosen treated his young patients as though they were part of his family. He offered them his home phone number so they could reach him outside work hours.
“Dr. Rosen was a wonderful pediatric physician and a real team player. He was a very ‘old school’ clinician in the sense of being available day and night for his pediatric patients and their families,” said David Horak, M.D., chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.
Proud of his treatment successes, Rosen stayed in touch with patients for years. His office walls became a gallery of photographs from the lives he helped save.
One patient, Anna Zouizina, journeyed to the U.S. from the then-Soviet Union with her parents at age 3 for treatment at City of Hope. Thanks to Rosen’s care, she is now a healthy 23-year-old recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Obviously, my gratitude to him is immeasurable. As a small child, I actually looked forward to seeing him, because I felt safe. He was one of a kind,” Zouizina said.
Rosen is survived by his wife of 64 years, Evelyn; his children, Shelley, Gigi, Jon, Diedre, Heidi and Moss; and his grandchildren, Natalie, Mitch, Kyle and Allison.
His funeral was held March 23. The family asks that memorial donations be sent to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.