- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
An early leader in the care of neonates and recipient of the 1999 AAP Virginia Apgar Award for continuing influence on the well-being of newborns, Joan E. Hodgman, M.D., FAAP, of Arcadia, Calif., died of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease Aug. 10 at age 84.
After receiving her M.D. in 1946 from the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, Dr. Hodgman completed an internship in pediatrics at University of California Hospital in San Francisco (1946-’47), followed by residencies in pediatrics at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance (1947-’48) and at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center (LACUSC) (1948-’50).
She began her pediatric career in private practice from 1950-’52, and then joined the staff of LACUSC as head physician in pediatrics. She remained at LACUSC for the duration of her career, serving as director of the Division of Neonatology (1955-’86). She also served as LACUSC acting director from 1990-’91, and continued on staff at the hospital until retirement on Jan. 1, 2008.
In 1968, Dr. Hodgman and colleagues succeeded in establishing the first neonatal intensive care unit in Los Angeles and one of the first in the nation. In the early 1970s, she formed a bioethics committee at LACUSC, which was controversial at the time prior to the establishment of the Baby Doe law.
She was remembered by colleagues for her ability to raise valid questions and pursue reasonable answers, resulting in discussion about sensitive issues surrounding medical procedures for severely compromised neonates and early research into topics such as sudden infant death syndrome, congenital malformations, temperature regulation, sleep states, antibiotics, hyperbilirubinemia and phototherapy.
Within the Academy, Dr. Hodgman was a role model for women, serving on the Provisional Committee on Women in Pediatrics (1985-’86), the Provisional Committee on Careers and Opportunities (1986-’89) and the Committee on Careers and Opportunities (1989-’92). She also was a member of the AAP Council on Sections Management Committee (1993-’94), the AAP Media Resource Team (1999) and newsletter editor for the AAP Section for Senior Members (2003-’08). She served as AAP Chapter 2 president and District IX alternate chair.
Among other leadership roles, she chaired the medical advisory committee of the National Foundation of the March of Dimes (1972-’75), served on the advisory committee for the Western section for UNICEF and the California State Legislature and was a consultant for the California Health Department. She was a founding member and board member of the California Association of Neonatologists.
In 1976, she was named Woman of the Year in Science by the Los Angeles Times.
Preceded in death by her husband, Amos N. Schwartz, D.D.S., M.D., Dr. Hodgman is survived by two daughters and four grandchildren.