Colleen D. Clements, Ph.D., dedicated researcher and teacher, dies at 74

May. 19, 2011

Colleen D. Clements, Ph.D., an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center died on May 14, 2011 at the age of 74 surrounded by her family.

Visiting hours will be held at the Richard H. Keenan Funeral Home at 7501 Pittsford Palmyra Rd in Fairport on Friday, May 20 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM to be followed by a memorial service from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.   She will be interred at Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion on Saturday, May 21 at 2:00 PM.

Clements will be remembered by her colleagues and students for her wonderful intellect and passion of searching for knowledge. 

Clements first began her work at URMC in 1977 as a pre-doctoral fellow in pediatric genetics. In 1981, she received her Ph.D. in Philosophy and Medical Ethics from the University of Rochester and joined the Medical Center faculty later that same year.

Early in her career in Rochester, Clements was involved in efforts to understand and respond to the emerging AIDS epidemic. In the 1980s, she served as a co-investigator on grants to develop AIDS training programs and materials for faculty, residents and staff and was involved in New York State’s AIDS Institute. She co-authored a text in 1993 on AIDS and mental health that was recognized as one of the best academic books of the year by Choice, the magazine of the American Library Association.

In later years, Clements research and teaching focus turned to medical ethics and forensic psychiatry. She co-authored numerous papers and books on these topics and the subjects of malpractice and science and morality. Her interests and writing extended beyond her academic focus and she authored 5 novels and other works, most recently a 2006 book that traces the history of the dragon, connecting the idea of the mythical creature to current events through scientific, historical, and archaeological sources.

“Colleen was a renaissance woman with broad range of interests in philosophy, ethics, history, archeology, geography, politics, religion, and science,” said J. Richard Ciccone, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry. “She had a keen and probing intellect and was generous with her time and knowledge. She was a person who could disagree without being disagreeable.   She will be missed by her colleagues and all the people who she touched over her long and distinguished career.”

Clements is survived by her children Collette Dodson, Tamar Bush, Darcy Quinn, Nicole Pfuntner, Tod Clements, Carson Clements, Kirsten Clements, 12 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, her sister Joan Oar, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Tad Clements.