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In Memoriam

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J. Ward Donovan Tribute

posted on 10:16 AM, June 29, 2020
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J. Ward Donovan, MD, FACMT 1947-2020

ACMT President 1996-1998

J. Ward Donovan died on June 27, 2020 after a long illness. He leaves behind his wife of 46 years, Joan; daughter, Erin; son-in-law, Greg; and grandchildren Seamus and Aoife. Ward is predeceased by his cherished son, Ryan Ward Donovan.

President of ACMT from 1996-1998 Ward was a giant in the medical toxicology field. His national leadership in medical toxicology lasted more than 30 years. In the 1980s and early 1990s Ward served on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Toxicology. He was an inaugural board member of ACMT and served on the ACMT Board of Directors from 1993-2000. More recently Ward served on the Board of Directors of the Medical Toxicology Foundation imparting important wisdom from a very full career in medical toxicology. Ward actively participated in his final MTF Board meeting this past April.

A graduate of Manhattan College and George Washington University College of Medicine (1974) Ward completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at M.S. Hershey Medical Center and became a faculty member in Emergency Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine from 1977-2003, and Chief of Emergency Medicine from 1980-1985.

Ward took a visiting professorship in toxicology at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s, Scotland from 1985-1986. This time abroad was transformative for Ward, and he returned to Penn State to become medical director of the Penn State Poison Center, and start the Penn State Medical Toxicology service, which would become a model for medical toxicology bedside service delivery. Over the years Ward mentored many future medical toxicologists, leading by example, and demonstrating the potential and impact that our medical niche brings to caring for patients at the bedside. He concluded his clinical career as Chief of Medical Toxicology at PinnacleHealth System in Harrisburg, PA and President of Pennsylvania Toxicologists, P.C. and Emeritus Professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn State.

Ward was the 12th recipient of the Matthew J Ellenhorn Award in 2008 that honors an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of medical toxicology.

He will be sorely missed by the entire medical toxicology community.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to either Gaudenzia Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Services (Gaudenzia.org; 610-239-9600) or The American Cancer Society (Cancer.org; 800-227-2345).

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