Dr. David E. Price, 86, medical administrator

December 24, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dr. David Edgar Price, a retired physician and Johns Hopkins medical administrator, died Dec. 17 of Parkinson's disease at Vantage House Retirement Home in Columbia. He was 86 and had lived in North Baltimore.

In 1967, after a lengthy public health career, he joined the staff of Johns Hopkins as director of planning at the East Baltimore medical institutions. He was also a professor in the School of Hygiene and Public Health. He retired in 1979.

"He was an excellent medical planner," said Dr. Richard S. Ross, who was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine at the time. "He utilized his background in science and medicine to work well with the three Hopkins institutions - the medical school, the hospital and the school of public health. You'd give him a job, and he would come back with it well done."

Remembered as a serious man dedicated to medical excellence, he relaxed by making furniture as a hobby. In the 1950s, he worked 18-hour days to push through widespread use of Salk polio vaccine.

Born in San Diego, he was president of the student body at San Diego High School, where he graduated in 1932. He was a 1936 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1940.

He was commissioned into the U.S. Public Health Service, a quasi-military medical service, in 1941 and spent 25 years with the agency. His studied and treated sexually transmitted diseases.

In 1944, he was ordered by the health service to the Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in East Baltimore, where he earned a master's degree and doctorate in public health.

In 1946, he was assigned to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, where he was the director of the grants division.

In the 1950s, he worked on trials to establish the safety and effectiveness of the Salk vaccine. He was a member of the Vaccine Committee of the Polio Foundation and was an advocate for the release of the Salk vaccine that helped wipe out the polio epidemic among children.

He worked on the final publication of the 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking, the landmark study that focused attention on the dangers of smoking tobacco.

He retired from the Public Health Service in 1965 with the rank of rear admiral and deputy surgeon general. He spent two years in India as a consultant on family planning with the Ford Foundation.

When he returned to Baltimore, he lived on Melrose Avenue and had an extensive furniture-building shop in his basement. In retirement, he moved to Ocean Pines in Worcester County, where he enjoyed boating and golf.

In 1936, he married Jean Shearer, a librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. She survives him.

Funeral services are private.

He is also survived by a son, Dr. William David Price of Summerville, S.C.; a daughter, Janet Price Stauss of Silver Spring; and six grandchildren.

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