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Dr. Laurence Finberg, 1923 - 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 09:15

Laurence "Larry" Finberg, M.D., former Board of Directors member and Emeritus of the American Board of Pediatrics, passed away peacefully on January 22, 2016, in San Francisco, CA. He was 92.

Dr. Finberg became involved with the American Board of Pediatrics in 1969 and served until 1993. During his time with the ABP, Dr. Finberg served two six-year terms on the Board of Directors, and chaired the board twice, in 1978 and 1987.

Dr. Finberg's involvement with the ABP did not stop there. He also served as an Oral Examiner, in addition to his service on the Long Range Planning Committee, Certifying Examination Committee, Council of Past Chairs, and several other committees. Dr. Finberg was instrumental in the transition of the role of the ABP President in 1992 when Dr. James A. Stockman III was hired to replace Dr. Robert C. Brownlee.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Finberg received his S.B. and M.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.  Dr. Finberg went on to complete his residency and chief residency at Baltimore City Hospitals and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1951. His distinguished academic career was marked by junior faculty positions at Hopkins, rapid promotion to the rank of professor and chair, first at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and then at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate, and culminating in his service as dean at SUNY Downstate from 1988 to 1991.

Dr. Finberg held many honors and awards including the Distinguished Service Award of the National Board of Medical Examiners, the President's Certificate for Outstanding Service of the Academy of Pediatrics, and the Nutrition Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Finberg is perhaps best known for his profound impact on the field of salt and water metabolism and rehydration therapy in children. His contributions in this field began in the 1950’s and extended over a nearly 50-year career with seminal insights into the prevention and management of hyper-and hyponatremia, diabetic ketoacidosis, cerebral herniation, and oral rehydration therapy. Untold children all over the world now survive diarrheal illness and dehydration because of Dr. Larry Finberg’s work.

As the consummate pediatrician, he never tired of passing on his wisdom to the next generation of pediatricians. In retirement, he became a beloved teacher to many medical students and residents at the UCSF and Stanford Medical Schools.

The field of pediatrics has lost a giant.

We express our condolences to Dr. Finberg's wife, Joann Quane-Finberg, and the entire Finberg family.