Myron G. Schultz, M.D., D.V.M., D.C.M.T., F.A.C.P., a distinguished scientist and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist in the Global Disease Detection Operation Center, passed away peacefully Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, with his loving family by his side.
He graduated with honors from the Bronx High School of Science, Cornell Veterinary Medical College, Albany Medical College (part of Union University in Albany, N.Y.), and the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians.
He began his career in the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Boston, followed by training as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service Program at the CDC and training in infectious diseases at New York University’s Cornell/Bellevue division. At the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, he was awarded a diploma in clinical tropical medicine before he returned to the CDC as the founder and director of parasitic diseases in the division of epidemiology.
Dr. Schultz subsequently created the Parasitic Disease Drug Service, which coordinated the release of orphan drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of tropical, parasitic and rare diseases dispensed to physicians in the United States. He was considered an expert on many diseases, including malaria, giardiasis, cysticercosis and pneumocystis carinii. He led the first international symposium on Guinea worm and discovered the first case of babesiosis in humans in the United States.
In his role with the Parasitic Disease Drug Service, Dr. Schwartz helped identify the AIDS epidemic in the United States in August 1981. The service provided the drug pentamidine to treat cases of pneumocystis pneumonia and spotted an unusual cluster of those cases among young men in what the doctor later called the opening salvo of the epidemic.
He also developed an important resource for travelers when he launched a brochure called Health Information for International Travel, now known as the Yellow Book, to advise about overseas health risks.
Dr. Schultz participated in over 130 field investigations, and his work took him to more than 40 countries. He authored over 100 medical articles that were published in journals, including JAMA and The Lancet. He was a consultant to the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and to numerous foreign health ministries.
Among his many prestigious awards were the Frederick Murgatroyd Award (London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene), the Bailey Ashford Medal Award (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene), the U.S. Public Health Service Meritorious Medal of Honor (1978 and 1994), and the Watson Medal of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement, the highest award given at the CDC.
He was a prolific writer of medical history with many contributions to journals, including regular contributions to Emerging Infectious Diseases. He enjoyed working with students and sharing his knowledge. Throughout his career, he trained numerous EIS officers at CDC and participated on the adjunct teaching staff at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. “Recognized worldwide for his intelligence, erudition and compassion. He is both an almanac and encyclopedia of Epidemiology of Tropical Diseases. His personal attributes were integrity, strong sense of service, focused intensity, dedication, rare quality of leadership and quiet unpreposing nature,” according to his nomination for the Bailey Ashford Award.
Dr. Schultz was a talented, award-winning artist. He loved classical literature, classical music, sailing and especially playing checkers with his grandchildren. He was an active and devoted member of Congregation Beth Jacob and the Atlanta Scholars Kollel. As a loving father of his three children, he encouraged them to choose their own paths and took pride in their lives and their own accomplishments.
He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Selma; daughters Naomi and family and the family of the late Malka Ida; son Joseph Schultz, M.D. (Jocelyn); sister Faith Zubasky (Alvin); 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Myron Schultz was buried Feb. 21, 2016, at Crest Lawn Memorial Park. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.