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Message from Paul Rothman, MD and Ronald Peterson
on the Death of Frederick L. Brancati, MD, MPH, FACP

May 15, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that we must announce the death of Frederick L. Brancati, an internationally recognized expert on the epidemiology and prevention of type 2 diabetes and a beloved teacher and mentor here at Johns Hopkins. Yesterday, Fred lost his valiant struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was far too young at the age of 53.

Longtime director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in recent years, Fred championed innovative collaborations with industry partners, an effort to use the best of Hopkins research to improve the health of people far and wide. His research has had a profound impact on our understanding of the clinical epidemiology of type 2 diabetes and its complications. He was extraordinarily creative and employed observational and experimental methodologies to address an impressive array of issues related to the etiology, prevention, treatment and consequences of type 2 diabetes. In the process, he fundamentally changed how clinicians and researchers view this chronic illness.

Fred began his work at Hopkins nearly 25 years ago, in 1989, after earning a B.A. from Harvard University, his M.D. from Columbia University and training in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also served as chief resident. He came here for a postdoctoral fellowship, while also earning a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He joined the Department of Medicine faculty in 1992, was promoted to professor in 2003 and was named division director in 2004. During his tenure, the GIM Division grew to include 80 full-time faculty, 150 part-time faculty, 17 postdoctoral fellows and over $30 million per year in NIH and other federal grants (up from $12 million per year).

Those of us who knew and treasured Fred know there is no way to fully sum up what an incredible mentor, teacher and human being he was. He cared so deeply for the people around him and had an amazing ability to attract some of the very best faculty to Johns Hopkins. In recent years, he became the founding executive medical director of the Office of Business Development and Strategic Alliances and of Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions. He worked diligently to bring evidence-based research to more people and helped Johns Hopkins find novel revenue streams in economically tough times including the first commercial healthcare product marketed in connection with the Johns Hopkins name.

But Fred was so much more than his academic achievements and awards. He had a huge heart, an unparalleled intellectual curiosity, and a brilliant sense of humor. He never let his disease slow him down.

We wish to extend sincere condolences to his wife, Liz Jaffee, an eminent cancer researcher and the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology and co-director of the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research and Patient Care at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, as well as their 16-year-old twin daughters, Maddy and Franny.

Fred’s family is not planning a service at this time. At some point in the future, a memorial will be held in his honor. In lieu of flowers, his family has requested donations to the Johns Hopkins ALS Clinic in Fred’s memory. In the meantime, let us keep them all in our thoughts.


Paul B. Rothman, M.D.
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Ronald R. Peterson
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine


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