Dr. Norman D. Anderson, 69, associate professor of medicine

August 19, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons and Michael Stroh | Sheridan Lyons and Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF

Dr. Norman D. Anderson, an associate professor of medicine and surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an early critic of breast implants, died Thursday at his Towson home of complications from gastric cancer. He was 69.

Dr. Anderson, who planned to retire Sept. 1, joined the faculty in 1967 and held numerous posts since then.

He was among the first physicians to urge the Food and Drug Administration to recall silicone gel breast implants. From 1987 to 1991 he served as a member and chairman of several FDA panels on the safety of the implants. The work led to a moratorium on silicone breast implants, effectively eliminating their use.

Dr. Anderson discussed his concerns on several television shows, including Jenny Jones and Nightline, said his son Dr. Eric D. Anderson of Arlington, Va. "He wanted them to stop putting them in until they studied the science."

Although scientists still debate the medical hazards of implants, Dr. Anderson continued to criticize their use in lectures and papers even after manufacturers switched to saline-filled models.

Another topic of concern to Dr. Anderson was the tendency of undergraduates to gear their courses toward admission to medical school, rather than studying what interested them.

"He thought you would be a better physician by being a better person," said his son. "He felt there would be plenty of time in medical school to teach medicine."

As assistant dean of admissions for Hopkins' medical school from 1979 to 1991, Dr. Anderson lectured around the country on the admissions process.

In 1985, he persuaded Hopkins to drop - for a while - the Medical College Admissions Test as a requirement for medical school applicants. The MCAT, which was first used in 1930 and tests a student's knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry, "has a more compromising effect on the undergraduate education of future physicians than any other component of the medical school admissions process," he told the Associated Press.

Dr. Anderson was "a dedicated colleague devoted to his work, his patients and this institution," said Dr. Edward D. Miller, dean and chief executive of the Johns Hopkins medical school and hospital.

Born in Chinook, Mont., Dr. Anderson earned his bachelor of arts degree at Montana State University in 1954, and his medical degree in 1958 from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He then served a two-year residency at Hopkins.

From 1961 to 1963, Dr. Anderson was in the Army Medical Corps, then completed fellowships in immunology at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, and in medical genetics at the University of Pennsylvania.

He enjoyed gardening and fly-fishing, returning often to his native Montana.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave.

In addition to his son Eric, Dr. Anderson is survived by his wife, the former Myrna J. Dolven; three sons, Dr. Stephen C. Anderson of St. Petersburg, Fla., Bruce D. Anderson of Allentown, Pa., and Matthew J. Anderson of Fairfax, Va.; his mother, Myrtle Wilson of Chinook, Mont.; a sister, Grace King of Chinook; and nine grandchildren.

The family plans to establish a memorial fund.

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