Satran, Founding Member of the Department of Neurology, Dies

Sep. 23, 2014

Richard Satran, M.D., a professor emeritus with the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, passed on Saturday, September 20 at the age of 85. Satran was one of a key group of faculty and academic leaders that created the Department of Neurology in the 1960’s. 

“Richard was a neurologist's neurologist and his passion, integrity, and approach to neurology lives on in all of us,” said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Neurology. “He was from the biopyschosocial era of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and was always a fierce advocate for patients and their quality of life. He taught many to always think about the broader context within which a patient’s disease occurs, lessons that are more relevant today than ever.”

Satran was first drawn to Rochester as a result of a connection he made with a recent Rochester medical school graduate while serving at Fort Bragg in 1958. Satran had interrupted his neurology residence at the University of Michigan when he was called up during the Cold War “doctor draft.” He learned that the University of Rochester was in the process of creating a new Neurology Department under the leadership of Robert Joynt, M.D., Ph.D.

Satran came to Rochester as an instructor in Medicine – Neurology was a part of the Department of Medicine at the time – under Paul Garvey, M.D. He also served as the director of the Electroencephalography Laboratory, which at the time was supervised by Department of Psychiatry. 

In addition to his many teaching, research, and clinical roles, Satran also saw patients with multiple sclerosis at Monroe Community Hospital, an interest maintained throughout his career. He served as a member of the advisory board of the local Multiple Sclerosis Society chapter up to his death.

Appointed a professor of Neurology in 1976, Satran twice served as acting chair of the Department during the 1980’s. He also served as associate dean for Admissions for the School of Medicine and Dentistry for four years.  He was appointed professor emeritus in 1997.

Satran co-edited the section on the history of neurology for Archives of Neurology and was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.  He also served as chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s section on the History of Neurology.

Satran is survived by his wife Hilda, 2 children, and 1 grandchild.