NEW YORK — Dr. Edgar M. Housepian, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Neurological Surgery at Columbia University and co-founder of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), died peacefully at home on Friday, November 14. He was 86.
Born March 18, 1928 in New York City, he graduated from the Horace Mann School and then enlisted in the Naval Air Corps intending to become a WWII pilot. However, like his father and grandfather, he chose a career in medicine. He was a loyal Columbia alumnus, attending Columbia College ’49 as well as Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons ’53. Housepian became faculty at the Neurological Institute of New York where his productive career spanned nearly six decades.
During his academic tenure Housepian mentored hundreds of students. He was a member of more than 40 professional societies and served on numerous departmental, university and society committees as member, officer or leader. Housepian published over 100 research papers, articles, chapters and books on neurological surgery, retiring officially from his neurosurgical practice in 1997.
After his promotion to Professor Emeritus, Housepian remained in the department and was appointed as the Dean’s Special Advisor for International Affiliations. As such he established a program to broaden and enhance the educational opportunities for medical students around the globe. He ultimately created affiliations with over 20 universities across five continents. He took great pride in the fact that 60 percent of Columbia’s medical students now take advantage of overseas educational opportunities. To honor him, Columbia’s IFAP Global Health Program is sponsoring “The Dr. Edgar M. Housepian Global Health Lecture Series” this year.
In 1996, Housepian was awarded the Columbia University Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service and in 2010 the Board of Trustees of Columbia University honored him with the creation of an endowed Professorship of Neurological Surgery in his name.