It is with great sadness that I inform you that Dr. Paul Seebohm died last night, January 8, 2017, just five days short of his 101st birthday.
Dr. Seebohm was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he completed his undergraduate and medical school degrees at the University of Cincinnati. Following a medical internship year at Wisconsin General Hospital in Madison he spent four years as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force. He returned to Cincinnati in 1946 for the majority of his medical residency, followed in 1948 by an additional year of training at the Robert A. Cooke Institute of Allergy in New York City. He joined the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa in 1949.
The legendary Dr. William Bean, who had mentored Seebohm at Cincinnati and in 1948 was named chair of the UI Department of Internal Medicine, recruited Dr. Seebohm to Iowa, asking him to serve as the first director of a new subspecialty Division of Allergy and Immunology. The entirety of Dr. Seebohm’s academic career was spent at Iowa where he taught generations of innovative, successful allergists and immunologists, who became regional and national leaders in their field. He directed the allergy division from 1949 to 1970, when he became Associate Dean. In 1974 he was named Executive Associate Dean for the UI College of Medicine. As Executive Dean, he was instrumental in the creation of a Family Practice Training Program, which had a major impact on the primary care of patients throughout Iowa.
Dr. Seebohm joined the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology (AAAI) in 1950, and rose in its ranks to become president in 1966. He received the highest Academy recognition in 1974 as a Distinguished Service Awardee. He continued to work on the Professional Standards Committee and the Liaison Committee with the Allergy Foundation, and for 20 years after his presidency, was an active member of the Committee on Practice Standards of the American Academy of Allergy.
He served on the Subspecialty Board of Allergy of the American Board of Internal Medicine and was its chairman. In the American Medical Association (AMA), he served as secretary of the AMA Section Council on Allergy and was its chairman. He was instrumental in establishing the allergy/immunology certification board and was the first to win board certification. At the National Institutes of Health, he served on the Allergy and Immunology Research Committee of the NIH and became its chair as well. He also served and eventually chaired the Food and Drug Administration’s panel on Review of Allergenic Extracts.
Dr. Seebohm was president of the Iowa Medical Society, president of the Iowa State Board of Health and served on the Board of Directors of the Health Policy Corporation of Iowa and on several Governor’s Advisory boards.
Though he officially retired in 1986, Dr. Seebohm remained active in the UI Department of Internal Medicine until shortly before his death. Last year, Dr. Seebohm attended a celebration honoring him on his 100th birthday and was also able to attend the Seebohm Lecture given during an August Grand Rounds. What a privilege it was to be able to honor such a towering figure in Department history.
Dr. Seebohm’s wife, Dorothy, and his daughter, Karen Jackson, live in Iowa City. We will announce details regarding services as they become available.