Phillip Schmid, MD, 1935-2021

The below message was sent to the department last week from E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD.

It is with deep sadness that I must share this news of the passing of another one of our own, Dr. Phil Schmid. In the history of this department, its reputation as a center for cardiovascular research and care was always one of its strongest associations and Dr. Schmid played a major role where that reputation originated. Alongside Drs. Don Heistad, Allyn Mark, and Frank Abboud, Dr. Schmid and the so-called “MASH unit” formed a core of innovation and discovery that came to define the entire culture of Iowa’s Internal Medicine. We are indebted to Dr. Schmid for his selfless dedication to his patients and his search for knowledge that might alleviate their suffering. Many patients had Dr. Schmid’s personal cell phone number. “His patients loved him,” Dr. Mark tells me. “He had an infectious enthusiasm” and an “inclination to see the best in everyone. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.”

More than just a prolific researcher and compassionate clinician, he was a dedicated educator and mentor as well. Dr. Heistad tells me that not only did he receive guidance from Dr. Schmid when performing his first lumbar puncture but as Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the VA, Dr. Schmid helped many young scientists to their first career funding grants as well. He never stopped learning himself, pushing himself to become an expert in echocardiography late in his clinical career.

The Department extends condolences to Dr. Schmid’s family and friends.

Please see full comments from colleagues below.

Phil was part of the MASH unit who worked together on research for years: Mark, Abboud, Schmid, and Heistad.

My first bond with Phil was when he was a resident, and I was a medical student, and he helped me with my first lumbar puncture.

He was terrific as the ACOS for Research at the VAMC- guided young people, and helped them obtain career funding at the VA.

He was an incredibly caring physician- patients typically had his cell phone number, and called him frequently.

He was incredibly nice, caring, unflappable, and thoughtful.

— Don Heistad, MD

Phil Schmid was a masterful clinician and investigator who had an impressive career spent largely at the Iowa City VA Hospital.  One of Phil’s distinguishing characteristics was his infectious enthusiasm and his inclination to see the best in everyone.  His patients loved him.   In years of friendship and interaction, I never heard Phil Schmid say a bad word about anyone.   A remarkable feature of his career was his life long committment to learning.  Without necessity, Phil learned echocardiography late in his career and devoted much of his late clinical career to “attending” in staffing echocardiograms.  Phil had a deep love of his family rivaled only by his love of fishing!

–Allyn Mark, MD

He was so kind and friendly and so effective in leading the VA research program for the College. He was a dedicated and caring compassionate physician. He mentored fellows with sincere generosity of time and effort. He was a role model as a critical researcher, digging deeper and deeper in search of answers with enormous curiosity. He was always sharing ideas and giving credit. Determination and hard work in a collaborative, optimistic, positive program were the ideals he promoted in the lab.
We all will miss him. He made our life beautiful.
–François Abboud, MD

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