Dr. Patterson, influential past president of AAP Georgia Chapter
- Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Joseph H. Patterson, M.D., FAAP, of Atlanta, an expert in rheumatoid arthritis and influential teacher to hundreds of pediatricians, died April 27 of complications from pneumonia at age 91.
He had wide-ranging accomplishments, especially in Georgia.
Dr. Patterson served as the AAP Georgia Chapter president from 1963 to 1966. He was awarded the Leila Denmark, M.D., Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 by the Georgia Chapter for his outstanding contributions to his profession, his colleagues and to the children of Georgia.
In 1959, Dr. Patterson came to Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children in Atlanta (now Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston) as the physician-in-chief when it moved from its original 52-bed building to a 100-bed hospital. Forty years later, the hospital had grown to 235 beds with help from his fundraising skills.
While working as a pediatrician, Dr. Patterson participated in some firsts in the medical world. He was part of the admission committee that admitted the first black student and later graduate to Emory University School of Medicine. As a pioneer in involving the family in a child's medical care, he allowed parents to spend the night in their child's hospital room. He also was the namesake for Patterson syndrome (pseudoleprechaunism), a rare type of dwarfism he identified.
Dr. Patterson received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He served in the Army for five years after completing a pediatric residency at Vanderbilt and Newark's Beth Israel Hospital. He then completed a fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and moved to Atlanta to enter private practice in 1948.
Dr. Patterson is survived by his children Paul, Jeffrey and Ellen, and six grandchildren.