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Vital Signs:
Faculty members join the ranks of the "retired"

What do a psychiatrist, a pathologist, an anesthesiologist, and a biochemist have in common? They are DMS's newest emeritus faculty members and are now embarking on one degree or another of retirement.

Peter Silberfarb, M.D., chair of psychiatry from 1984 to 2003, joined the faculty in 1973 after completing his residency in psychiatry at DHMC. In 1974, he became the first psychiatrist in the U.S. to work full-time for a cancer center. He cofounded the field of psycho-oncology, the study of the emotional effects of cancer and its treatment, and made many contributions to the literature on the subject.

He's past president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry, and past chair of the National Psychiatry Match Review Board.

Photo by Flying Squirrel Graphics
Emeritus status means no more paperwork for psychiatrist Silberfarb, above.

During his tenure, DMS contracted to supply psychiatric care to the New Hampshire psychiatric hospital, the state prison system, and the Augusta Mental Health Institute in Maine. And on Silberfarb's watch, the sections of behavioral medicine, sleep medicine, child psychiatry, and neuropsychiatry-imaging became nationally recognized.

He plans to continue his research in psycho-oncology and spend more time working for the conservation nonprofits he loves —the Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, and the Norwich, Vt., Conservation Commission.

Walter Noll, M.D., a pathologist, is widely known for his research in diagnostic molecular genetics and predictive gene testing. Less well known may be his work on a task force that reorganized DHMC's pediatric services and invented the acronym CHaD for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth.

Before coming to DMS in 1973 to run the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, Noll ran a U.S. Army research lab in Bangkok. In 1985, he established DHMC's Molecular Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory. His work in molecular genetics was stimulated by his interest in a family affected by familial thyroid cancer.

In "retirement," Noll is serving as medical director and vice president of medical services at Myriad Genetic Laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah. He still has a home in Etna, N.H., however, and gets back to the Upper Valley as often as he can.

Kenneth Travis, M.D, an anesthesiologist, was in private practice in Massachusetts before coming to DMS in 1992. He trained under several legendary figures in anesthesiology and respiratory care at the University of Virginia and Massachusetts General Hospital. He contributed to describing the association of upper airway obstruction and pulmonary edema in children and focusing attention on the aging anesthesia workforce.

His retirement plans include hiking, biking, and visiting family. He is an amateur photographer and writer, too. "I keep pecking away at a short-story sequence for the grandchildren," he says. He also serves on a task force on aging for the American Society of Anesthesiologists and hopes to teach part-time.

Oscar Scornik, M.D., Ph.D., a biochemist, began his career in the 1960s at the National Research Council of Argentina, then did a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard under noted biochemist Mahlon Hoagland, M.D. When Hoagland became chair of biochemistry at DMS in 1968, he convinced Scornik—by that time back in Argentina—to take a job at Dartmouth. Scornik has been at DMS ever since.

His research has focused on protein synthesis and the regulation of protein content in mammalian cells. His lab's studies of ways to minimize the requirements of dietary protein in mice have implications for humans in situations when food is scarce or when protein intake should be restricted, as in kidney or liver disease.

Scornik will keep teaching and writing but isn't sure what else he'll do—yet. "It's too early to be more specific," he says.

Laura Stephenson Carter

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