Dr. H. Fred Clark, a retired research professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) and a retired research professor of pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, died on Saturday, April 28, after a protracted illness; he was 72.
CHOP recognized Dr. Clark in 2006 with its highest honor, the Gold Medal, which is awarded to those who have had a profound impact on children's health in the United States and worldwide. The medal saluted Dr. Clark's achievements as a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, along with fellow honorees Dr. Stanley Plotkin, professor emeritus of pediatrics and microbiology in PSOM; and Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases in CHOP and professor of pediatrics in PSOM. The three scientists carried out laboratory studies of the vaccine between 1980 and 1991 at CHOP and the Wistar Institute. Today, the vaccine they invented saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of children worldwide.
Joining the adjunct faculty of Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine in 1977, Dr. Clark studied and published extensively on both human and animal diseases, including rabies, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B. He joined CHOP in 1979 and concentrated on rotavirus research. In addition to his position on the CHOP research staff, Dr. Clark also was an adjunct professor of the Wistar Institute. He retired in 2010.
Dr. Clark received a degree in veterinary medicine from Cornell University and a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Clark also devoted much of his time over the years to providing care and support to Haitians who suffered from poverty and injustice. "He was one of those rare individuals whose life-saving scientific discovery and dedication to those less fortunate will live well beyond him," wrote Dr. Alan Cohen, physician-in-chief and chair, department of pediatrics, in a memo to colleagues.
Dr. Clark is survived by his wife, Karen; son, Christopher; daughters, Melanie Spagnoli and Marianne Vitiello; stepson, Peter Don Konics, stepdaughters, Alexandra Don Konics and Elisabeth Sharp; a sister; 10 grandchildren; and former wife, Mimi Rice.
Memorial donations may be sent to Parkinson Creative Collective, Inc., c/o Pamela Kell, 6 Portland Rd., Little Rock, AR 72212 or the Fred Clark Speakers for Justice Fund c/o First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144.