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University of Colorado Denver Center for Bioethics and Humanities

Vincent A. Fulginiti, MD

In Memoriam: 1932-2013

Vincent A. Fulginiti died on March 19, 2013 at the age of 81 in Tuscon.  Dr. Fulginiti was the Chancellor of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  He and his wife Shirley held a lifelong interest in biomedical ethics.  
Recognized worldwide for his contributions to medicine, medical education and community service, Dr. Fulginiti became the founding department head of pediatrics at the new University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1969, remaining in that position for 16 years. He then became associate dean for academic affairs (1985-88) and acting dean (1988-89) at the UA College of Medicine.
For the next four years he was dean of the School of Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1993-98, he became chancellor of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. While chancellor, he moderated two important affiliations, one with the Denver Children’s Hospital and the second with the Rocky Mountain Lions, the Department of Ophthalmology and the University of Colorado Hospital. As a result, an affiliation agreement between Denver Children’s Hospital and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center led to the creation of the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the new UCHSC Fitzsimons Campus, under the auspices of the Department of Ophthalmology.
In Aug. 2012, the University of Colorado dedicated the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Fulginiti’s commitment to the ethical and humanistic implications of health care.
Most recently, Dr. Fulginiti served as a member of The University of Arizona Health Network board of directors from August 2010 to May 2012. He and his wife and family also have sponsored the UA College of Medicine – Tucson White Coat Ceremony in memory of their son, Jeffrey T. Fulginiti.
Steve Goldschmid, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, said, “Vince Fulginiti was one of the true pioneers who helped establish the first medical school in our state. He was a visionary leader in medicine and the health sciences. We owe much to this man. He will be missed.”
Dr. Fulginiti’s interests included health professional education; general pediatrics; pediatric infectious diseases, immunization and immunology; medical curriculum; health-care ethics; faculty development; and health sciences administration and leadership. Two of his major contributions include pioneering and groundbreaking work with the smallpox and measles vaccines, and deepening the understanding of infectious complications of liver transplants in children.
Dr. Fulginiti served on several editorial boards of peer-reviewed professional journals and was chief editor of the American Journal of Diseases of Children for 11 years. He published or edited four books and authored more than 200 original articles, book chapters, editorials and other professional communications.
His honors, awards and appointments were numerous. Among them were research awards from the Philadelphia Pediatric Society and the Western Society for Pediatric Research; teaching awards from the University of Arizona, Tulane and the Western Society for Pediatric Research; and alumni awards from Temple University and the University of Colorado. He received the Abraham Jacoby Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr. Leadership Award of the Federation of Pediatric Professional and Research Societies. Recently, he was awarded the first Annual Veritas Award for outstanding contributions to the Program on Health Care Ethics, Law and Humanities of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and the Joseph Sewall Award of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  He served as president of the Western Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society, was a member and chair of the Academy of Pediatrics “Red Book” Committee (Committee on Infectious Diseases) and was chair of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Public Health Service. In 2002-03, Dr. Fulginiti authored a website on smallpox vaccination for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Fulginiti was educated at Temple University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1953, medical degree in 1957 and Master of Science degree in 1961. He interned at Philadelphia General Hospital (1957-58) and completed a pediatric residency (1958-60) at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children (Temple University-Philadelphia), where he was chief resident from 1960-61. He completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Colorado (1961-62).
Dr. Fulginiti is survived by his wife of 56 years, Shirley, his three children, John V. Fulginiti (Susan Ellis), Laura Fulginiti (Daniel Martin) and Paul Fulginiti (Lisa), as well as three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by son Jeffrey Fulginiti.

The UA College of Medicine – Tucson held a memorial ceremony on Monday, April 29, in DuVal Auditorium at The University of Arizona Medical Center.  

The CU Foundation has established the Vincent A. Fulginiti, MD Memorial Fund, which is the family’s choice for gifts of remembrance.

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