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William Bennett Bean Edit Profile


William Bennett Bean, Philippine, American Physician. Diplomate: American Board Internal Medicine, American Board Nutrition. Recipient John Horsley Memorial prize University of Virginia, 1944; Groedel medal, 1961;Gold-Headed Cane, 1964; McCollum award, 1974; Distinguished Head of Medicine award, 1982; named Kentucky colonel; honorary admiral Texas Navy.


He was born in the Philippine Islands, but not long after the family moved to New Orleans and a few years later to Charlottesville, Virginia, where his father became chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Virginia.


Bachelor, University Virginia, 1932. Doctor of Medicine, University Virginia, 1935. Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Thomas Jefferson University, 1985.


He received his B.A. and M.D. from the University of Virginia, in 1932 and 1935, respectively. Following graduation from medical school, with top of the class designation and as president of Alpha Omega Alpha, he interned on the Osler Service at Johns Hopkins University. The following year he moved to Boston and joined the elite group at the Thorndike Laboratory and the Harvard Service at Boston City Hospital.

Dr. Bean began his clinical career at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (1936–1946) and at Cincinnati General Hospital (1941–1948). He was both a teacher and clinician, specializing in nutrition. He left Ohio in 1948 to become professor of medicine and head of internal medicine at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

He was named Sir William Osler Professor of Medicine there in 1970. In 1974, Dr. Bean was appointed Director, Institute for Medical Humanities and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. In 1980, he retired from the Institute and returned to Iowa City as Sir William Osler Professor Emeritus.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bean was well known for his expertise in the field of nutrition, but even more so for his teaching and writing excellence. In his 1974 Archives of Internal Medicine festschrift, he was described as"a true renaissance man: an articulate clinician, a scholar of the classics, a masterful teller of tales, and a prodigious writer of stories." Awarded Swanberg Distinguished Service Award, American Medical Writers Association in 1969. Between 1937 and 1974, Bean published over 600 works in such diverse fields as nutrition, respiratory disease, myocardial infarction, climatology, arterial "spiders," slum eradication and housing, liver disease, William Osler, Walter Reed, and the history of medicine.

For over thirty years, Bean served as editor for fifteen journals, most notably the Archives of Internal Medicine. In 1970, he co-founded the American Osler Society. He also was selected by two different Presidents to serve on the National Library of Medicine's Board of Regents.


  • Awarded Fellowship, American Medical Writers Association in 1958 (Fellowships presented to members of AMWA to recognize significant contributions to the goals and activities of AMWA and professional accomplishments that have been recognized by their peers).



Board regents National Library Medicine, 1957-1961, 1965-1969, chairman, 1960-1961. Served from captain to lieutenant colonel Medical Corps Army of the United States, 1942-1946. Fellow American College Chest Physicians (past governor Iowa), American Medical Writers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians (past governor Iowa, master 1971).

Member American College Cardiology (past governor Iowa), National Association Standard Medical Vocabulary (director), Nockian Society, American Medical Association, Society Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society Medical Consultant to Armed Forces, American College Sports Medicine (charter), New York Academy of Sciences, American Academy Political and Social Science, Archeology Institute American (president Iowa chapter 1955-1957), American Clinical and Climatological Association (president 1967-1968), American Association Study Liver Diseases (charter), American Association Medical History, American Society Tropical Medicine, American Heart Association (executive committee, science council), Iowa Heart Association (president 1950), Iowa Medical Society, Association Military Surgeons, Medical and Jockey Society Interior Valley North America, Tuberculosis and Health Association, Central Interurban Clinical Club (president 1959-1961), American Society Clinical Nutrition (president 1962-1963), John Fulton Society (charter member), Iowa Clinical Society, World Medical Association, American Osler Society (charter, 1st president 1970), Association American Physicians, Central Society Clinical Research (councilor 1946-1949, president 1951), Sociedad Mexicana Historia y Filosofia de Medicina, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha. Clubs: Cosmos (Washington). Stuart and Tudor (Johns Hopkins).

Artillery (Galveston).


Married Abigail Shepard, June 17, 1939. Children: Robert Bennett, Margaret Bean Bayog, John Perrin.

Robert Bennett Bean

Adelaide Leiper (Martin) Bean

Abigail Shepard

Robert Bennett Bean

Margaret Bean Bayog Bean

John Perrin Bean