Image: Helen M. Ranney, MD
Helen M. Ranney, MD, Einstein/Montefiore Professor of Medicine (1965-1973) and University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Professor Emeritus, passed away on Monday, April 5, 2010 in La Jolla, California. Dr. Ranney's distinguished career was noteworthy both for her groundbreaking contributions to the study of sickle cell anemia, and for the many historic "firsts" she achieved as a pioneering woman in medicine.
Dr. Ranney trained in Hematology under Dr. Irving London, Einstein's first Chair of Medicine, and performed groundbreaking work on sickle cell disease. She devised a way to distinguish the normal molecular structure of human hemoglobin from the abnormal structure associated with sickle cell anemia. Comparing the hemoglobin of healthy people with those of relatives who had sickle cell disease, Dr. Ranney was one of the first to identify a genetic factor in the disease. In 1972, she was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award for her work in hemoglobin chemistry.
Dr. Ranney ascended the ranks at Einstein to become Professor of Medicine. In 1973, she accepted the position of Chair of Medicine at UCSD and, in the same year, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Ranney would have been 90 on April 12. She was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her death.
A full obituary and biographical summary can be found on the UCSD website: