New Biography Examines Lives of Influential Physicians

Sep. 13, 2010

John Romano and George Engel: Their Lives and Work, a biography of two physicians who significantly influenced psychosomatic medicine, the place of psychiatry in medicine and medical education, will be published in October by Meliora Press, an imprint of the University of Rochester Press.

 The authors of the new biography are Jules Cohen, M.D., professor of Medicine and Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Stephanie Brown Clark, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Medical Humanities Programs at the Medical Center.

John Romano, M.D., was the founding chairman of the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry. He served as chair from 1946 until 1971. Dr. Romano helped shape modern psychiatry in the United States and was recognized worldwide as a reformer of medical education. He was professor emeritus at the time of his death in 1994.

George Engel, M.D., was known as an inspiring teacher and excellent physician. He came to Rochester in 1946 with Dr. Romano. Through his work with Dr. Romano, Dr. Engel investigated the role of psychological factors in health and illness. He developed his “biopsychosocial model” that states that biological, psychological and societal factors affect health outcomes. Dr. Engel published his seminal paper on the “biopsychosocial model” in the journal Science in 1977. He died in 1999.

The book follows both men from their births through their medical education and postgraduate training and their activities as members of the faculties in Boston and Cincinnati. The book also examines the factors that brought the two men to Rochester, their work in research and medical education and the nature of their complex personal relationship.

Cohen and Clark co-authored Paul Yu Remembered: the Life and Work of a Distinguished Cardiologist. Cohen, a longtime cardiologist, also co-edited a history of the Medical Center in 2000, its 75th anniversary. Clark also co-edited Body Language: Poems of the Medical Training Experience, which was published in 2006.

Meliora Press was established in 2002 as an imprint of the University of Rochester Press. Taking its name from the University of Rochester’s motto, the imprint focuses on books about the institution’s departments, faculty and programs as well as topics reflected by the holdings of the University's libraries.