CLINICAL THYROIDOLOGY FOR PATIENTS
A publication of the American Thyroid Association
Table of Contents
Dr. E. Chester “Chip” Ridgway
On July 31, 2014, Dr. E. Chester “Chip” Ridgway passed away, leaving a tremendous legacy in the thyroid field. Dr. Ridgway’s accomplishments over his career are extensive and he had received most of the major awards of the American Thyroid Association and the Endocrine Society, serving as president of both societies. He had a long history of funded thyroid research, both in the basic and clinical arenas, with >200 published manuscripts. He was a devoted member of the American Thyroid Association, serving in every capacity including committee member, committee chair, American Thyroid Association board member and, as noted above, American Thyroid Association president.
At the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Ridgway held several key positions over the years, including Executive Vice Chair of Medicine, Frederic Hamilton Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He came to the University of Colorado in 1985 to become Head of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, and he served in that capacity until 2007. Previously, he was Head of the Thyroid Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.
His research centered on thyroid stimulating hormone and its regulation of the thyroid gland, focusing specifically on the development and regulatory factors that control the alpha and beta subunits of thyroid stimulating hormone. He also extensively studied the role of thyroid hormones in altered cardiac, brain, pulmonary, skeletal muscle, hepatic, and adipocyte function associated with disorders of the thyroid gland and the identification of therapeutic strategies.
Most importantly, Dr. Ridgway was an outstanding mentor throughout his career. For these efforts, he was awarded the inaugural Lewis E. Braverman Lectureship Award in 2011 which recognizes a member of the American Thyroid Association who has demonstrated excellence and passion for mentoring fellows, students, and junior faculty and has a long history of productive thyroid research. Beginning in the Thyroid Unit at Mass General Hospital and through his positions at the University of Colorado, he influenced a tremendous number of individuals who have gone on to become leaders in their own right. A review of his publications includes many of the past and present leaders in Endocrinology. In addition to all of the fellows and trainees that had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Ridgway, he influenced all of the clinical fellows that attended the annual University of Colorado Endocrine Fellows Conference which he founded, organized and chaired for 20 years and which is held just before the American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting. He encouraged many endocrine fellows to participate in this annual event and to become active American Thyroid Association members. As a tribute to his unwavering efforts to encourage and inspire the careers of clinical fellows and to honor his commitment to education, mentorship, scholarship and patient care, the American Thyroid Association has named this conference the “E. Chester Ridgway Trainee Conference” (See page 4).
I can personally attest to Dr. Ridgway’s mentoring skills with two seminal events in my professional career. My association with Dr. Ridgway dates back the Thyroid Unit at MGH, when he hired me as clinical lab technician in 1977, then supported my progression as a research technician. My initial thyroid research project on T3 receptors in the heart took place under Dr. Ridgway’s guidance, showing that his mentorship was not limited to fellows and faculty. My experiences in the Thyroid Unit inspired me to pursue the field of Endocrinology after I entered medical school. The second event came when he was President of the American Thyroid Association and called me to become involved in an American Thyroid Association committee in 1997, asking me to Chair the Education committee. He convinced me to take the position and supported my efforts through a very active year. This experience inspired me to continue my involvement with the American Thyroid Association, which I have been serving in a variety of capacities since that time. Thus, I can say that I owe my career as an Endocrinologist and as an active member of the American Thyroid Association to Dr. Ridgway’s mentorship.
He will be deeply missed as a friend, colleague and mentor.
— Alan P. Farwell, MD