It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I share news of the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Elizabeth Kuo this morning. I know I can speak for our entire community when I offer her husband of 38 years, Chou-Long, their children, Ivan and Jocely, and their first grandchild, our deepest sympathies and our unwavering support during the difficult days ahead. Elizabeth will leave an enormous hole in all our lives and in the lives of the many patients who valued and appreciated her compassionate care.
Dr. Kuo received her medical degree from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan in 1981, moving to the United States for residency at Washington University in St. Louis. Nurturing her passion for nephrology, she moved to San Francisco for a renal fellowship at UCSF, followed by a renal transplant fellowship in 1990 right here at the University of Iowa. After a few years in private practice, she returned to academic medicine at University of Texas, Southwestern in Dallas, rising through the ranks to Associate Professor in Nephrology and directing dialysis units both at Parkland Memorial Hospital and at their community sites.
We were fortunate to welcome Elizabeth and her decades of experience back to the department in 2018 as an Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology. She quickly stepped into a leadership role, directing dialysis units both here and across the street at the Iowa City VA Medical Center. Her attention to the smallest of details and her ability to connect with those around her made her a favored attending not just to residents and fellows, but to the patients who were never just “routine” to her. Elizabeth was deeply admired by her colleagues within the Division of Nephrology, by her quiet determination and the way that she led by example. She will be deeply missed.
We will share news of memorials as those details are finalized. In the meantime please keep Chou-Long, his family, and close colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.