Remembering Dr. Philip Norman’s Impact on the Asthma and Allergy Community

If you’ve ever benefited from immunotherapy (allergy shots, SLIT or oral immunotherapy), you possibly can thank Dr. Philip Sidney Norman.

Dr. Norman put allergy analysis on the map. He is named the “father of modern immunotherapy for allergic disease” and even coined the time period “allergen immunotherapy.” As an allergist and researcher for greater than 50 years, he revealed 237 analysis papers and greater than 100 guide chapters and critiques. And for a lot of many years, he was an vital a part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

“Phil was a pioneer in our field. His carefully designed, controlled and properly blinded clinical studies established the principles guiding the use of allergen immunotherapy today,” shared Peter Socrates Creticos, M.D., affiliate professor of drugs within the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Clinical Director of Creticos Research Group. Dr. Creticos labored with Dr. Norman for greater than 30 years and has written a number of articles in regards to the influence of Dr. Norman’s legendary work.

Sadly, on Aug. 2, 2019, just a few days shy of his 95th birthday, Dr. Norman handed away. He was a humble man recognized for all the time placing different folks earlier than himself. He was impressed by music, science and faith. He sang within the church choir and was a training clinician till he retired in 2011 at age 87. He was so humble that numerous his associates by no means knew the influence he had on allergy analysis.

An Overview of Dr. Norman’s Contributions

Dr. Norman’s managed research of immunotherapy for ragweed are credited for as we speak’s standardized analysis and therapy of allergic ailments. This work started when he studied the construction and chemistry of allergens. It included isolating a significant ragweed-pollen allergen referred to as Amb a 1.

He additionally studied nasal corticosteroid sprays, together with organizing a blinded scientific trial of a nasal spray to deal with hay fever with Walter Winkenwerder, M.D. for Merck & Co. As a results of their analysis, the therapy often called Turbinaire was accepted by the FDA.

Interestingly, in Dr. Norman’s memoir, he describes a distinct analysis discovering as his biggest contribution to the medical discipline. In 1978, in collaboration with David G. Marsh, Ph.D., he discovered that human serum albumin (a protein discovered within the human blood) maintained allergen extract efficiency for intradermal pores and skin testing higher than different buffers.

As a results of his findings, Dr. Norman said that “very quickly, the FDA and commercial suppliers adopted the use of albumin in diluting buffers. It continues to this day and may be my most enduring contribution to the practice of allergy.”

The Man Behind the Science

Dr. Norman was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1924. At 16, he graduated highschool and went to Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC) with aspirations to develop into a speech and dramatics instructor. After two-and-a-half years at KSTC, his research had been interrupted by World War II, at which level he served three years within the Army. He educated and served as a climate observer which ignited his curiosity in science and arithmetic. Afterward, he returned to KSTC and switched the main target of his research to biology together with his sights set on turning into a doctor and researcher. This was additional confirmed after taking one graduate-level course in immunology taught by J. Ralph Wells, M.D., Ph.D.

An early portrait of Dr. Norman with his parents

An early portrait of Dr. Norman together with his mother and father.

In his memoir, Dr. Norman said: “I took his graduate course in immunology and was hooked.” Dr. Norman completed his bachelor’s diploma in 1947. He went on to get his medical diploma in 1951 from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis together with his first publication in regards to the immunology of mismatched transfusion reactions in canine already below his belt.

“He was fortunate to have had exposure in his formative years to gifted teachers who recognized his ‘scientific bent’ and nurtured his interests,” shared Dr. Creticos.

After medical college, Dr. Norman interned at Barnes Hospital, was an assistant resident at Vanderbilt Hospital and had a fellowship on the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research with Merrill W. Chase, Ph.D. In 1956, Dr. Norman discovered his house at Johns Hopkins the place he served as each a clinician and a researcher for greater than 50 years.

While at Vanderbilt Hospital, Dr. Norman met his spouse, Marion, who was working as a analysis laboratory technician. Together that they had three youngsters – Reynolds Tenezas-Norman, Drew Norman and Helen Norman Elmore.

“My favorite memories of my dad involve him bringing the family together,” shared Helen, Dr. Norman’s youngest daughter. “I hit the parent lottery for sure. My dad was just so supportive. He always wanted everyone to be their best.”

He enjoyed bringing everybody collectively across the eating room desk, in addition to taking his household on ski and seashore journeys. Interestingly, he didn’t ski or get pleasure from sitting on the seashore, however he liked bringing his household collectively.

“He would always take very complicated puzzles [to do on trips],” remembered Helen. “And he would be at the house when people were ready for lunch or dinner.”

Dr. Norman spending time with his family at the beach.

Dr. Norman spending time together with his household on the seashore.

Helen additionally vividly remembered the household packing up to head to camp for a month every summer time starting when she was 7. To assist his youngsters expertise summer time camp, Dr. Norman labored because the camp physician at Camp Mondamin and Camp Green Cove in Tuxedo, North Carolina, for a month every summer time whereas his children had been rising up. Helen was a camper there for eight years and her brother was a camper for 10 years. They rode ponies, swam, made crafts and completely enjoyed life at camp.

Helen additionally shared that her dad was “very measured and in control. Never to the extremes. Always well-thought-out when he spoke. You always wanted to listen to what he had to say.”

To that finish, about 10 years in the past Helen inspired her father to share his story. “My dad wanted to get his ducks in a row and wrote a memoir.” In it, Dr. Norman shared that “research and teaching in allergic conditions has rewarded me with personal satisfaction and warm professional relationships with fellows and faculty at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.”

In 2006, Marion handed away. Throughout their greater than 50 years of marriage, she was extraordinarily supportive of his profession. In his memoir, whereas thanking his many analysis collaborators, Dr. Norman said: “The only people I value more are Marion and the three children we raised and now our five grandchildren.” When he handed away, he additionally had two great-grandchildren.

Dr. Norman with his wife, Marion, at a party for their 50th wedding anniversary

Dr. Norman together with his spouse, Marion, at a celebration for his or her 50th wedding ceremony anniversary.

Building a Legacy

When Dr. Norman joined the college of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1956, he started as an teacher within the Department of Medicine within the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and arrange a lab. He continued among the analysis he started whereas on the Rockefeller Institute. This resulted in him making a standardized ragweed extract dose for immunotherapy, often called AMb a 1, that was adopted by the FDA. This was only the start of his contributions to the sphere of allergy and immunology.

Throughout a lot of his profession, Dr. Norman collaborated with Lawrence M. Lichtenstein, M.D., Ph.D., who joined him at Johns Hopkins in 1961. Together they performed desensitization analysis that resulted within the improvement of a standardized immunotherapy therapy for ragweed allergy.

In 1970, Drs. Norman and Lichtenstein shaped the Clinical Immunology Division on the Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1989, the group turned what is understood as we speak because the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center. Over time, the group has grown to greater than 40 full-time and affiliated school members, 25 fellows/visiting scientists and a workers of 150 concerned in analysis, affected person care and educating. The division has additionally educated greater than 50 physicians and 30 scientists and revealed greater than 2,500 papers since 1970.

Dr. Norman was additionally an energetic member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He served as an government committee member, treasurer and as president of AAAAI in 1975. And he went on to obtain AAAAI’s Distinguished Service Award in 1985. Then, from 1993-1998, he served as an editor of the “Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.”

As testimony to greater than a half a century of service to sufferers and important contributions to discovering higher remedies and cures for bronchial asthma and allergic issues, Dr. Norman was acknowledged by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine by the dedication of the Philip S. Norman Library on the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center.

Helen remembered when the library was named after him.

“There was a celebration and so many people got up and spoke about [my dad’s] contributions to their lives and careers. They shared what an inspiration he was and how wonderful he was to study under.”

Dr. Lichtenstein and Dr. Norman holding the plaque for the Philip S. Norman Library at the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore

Dr. Lichtenstein and Dr. Norman holding the plaque for the Philip S. Norman Library on the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore.

The recurring theme by everybody’s statements was that Dr. Norman inspired all of them to be their greatest.

Dr. Creticos shared this sentiment. “I was blessed to have had Dr. Norman as my mentor during my 30-plus years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins and will always be grateful for his guidance, support and friendship.”

Impact on AAFA

Dr. Norman’s influence extends nicely past his work at Johns Hopkins. He served on the board of administrators of AAFA and lots of of its committees till April 2019.

“Dr. Norman will certainly be missed by all of us,” shared Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of AAFA. “We are grateful for his exemplary service to AAFA through decades of national and chapter leadership.”

Dr. Norman served as chair of AAFA’s Scientific and Educational Council (now referred to as the Medical Scientific Council) within the 1970s, acquired a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and was designated director emeritus of the AAFA board in 2004.

As an AAFA director, he guided the group’s analysis technique in bronchial asthma and allergic reactions. He was supportive of AAFA’s championship of patient-centered analysis and connecting analysis to the neighborhood.

“At my last face-to-face meeting with him, Dr. Norman expressed to me that our community work was critically important to patients and their families,” shared Melanie Carver, AAFA’s vice chairman of Community Health. “He understood the challenges people face and how they need support to live life fully.”

He additionally based the Maryland-D.C. Chapter of AAFA greater than 40 years in the past and served on its board as director, president, chairman and chairman emeritus till 2018. AAFA’s chapters present essential companies, packages and help for folks with bronchial asthma and allergic reactions. They work domestically with volunteers, health care suppliers and regional authorities. The volunteers that help the chapters are a significant a part of AAFA, working instantly of their areas.

When requested about Dr. Norman’s affiliation with AAFA, Dr. Creticos shared that he “contributed enormously to the growth and development of AAFA-MD in his role as medical director and board member. He recognized its importance as a resource to educate and provide valuable assistance to the allergic individual with respiratory conditions.”

Dr. Norman’s help for AAFA continued even after he handed away when his household collected donations to AAFA as a substitute of flowers.

Many members of AAFA’s board of administrators had an alternative to work instantly with Dr. Norman. They had been deeply touched by his contributions and dedication to the bronchial asthma and allergy neighborhood.

“It was Phil Norman that sponsored my membership on the AAFA board, for which I will be forever grateful. He was an outstanding clinician and educator who made key research contributions to the detection and treatment of IgE-mediated disease,” shared Lawrence Schwartz, M.D. “In his AAAAI presidential address in 1976, he stated: ‘I have been developing the notion that the greatest pressure we will bear in the next decade is the need for change arising out of scientific advance.’ – something that is as true now as it was 43 years ago, not only for physicians and nurses but also for patients and caregivers.”

“He was a giant in the field and attentive to AAFA and our community until the end,” shared James Flood of Crowell & Moring, LLP.

“Dr. Norman was an inspiration and a pioneering advocate for people with asthma and allergic disease,” shared Mary Ellen Conley, RN. “It was an honor to serve on the AAFA board with him.”

Lasting Impact

Dr. Norman had a major influence on the sphere of allergy analysis. He positively affected so many lives together with sufferers, researchers, clinicians, family and friends.

Helen shared that “he was a super inquisitive man. He wanted to do something not everybody in science was doing.” He achieved that and extra.

In his memoir, Dr. Norman shared that “research and teaching in allergic conditions has rewarded me with personal satisfaction and warm professional relationships with fellows and faculty at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.”

If he was to advise different researchers and clinicians within the discipline of allergy and immunotherapy as we speak, Dr. Creticos shared, “I think that he would emphasize that fellows-in-training and young faculty identify a mentor that they can work closely with, and who will provide them with not only the proper scientific guidance but also the latitude to be inquisitive and embark on a scientific journey that is both enjoyable and fulfilling.”

Thank you, Dr. Norman. You will without end be remembered.

To be taught extra about Dr. Norman’s analysis contributions, learn the next publications:

In honor of Dr. Norman’s contributions and to assist others proceed the work he started, AAFA might be supporting an up-and-coming researcher and fellow-in-training within the discipline of allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins. If you desire to to financially help grant analysis in Dr. Norman’s honor, please contact Sanaz Eftekhari, AAFA’s vice chairman of Corporate Affairs and Research at

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