Edward J. Huth, 98, by Bryn Mawr, a doctor and professor who used his enthusiasm for journalism to become an influential medical writer and author, died on Tuesday November 2 of vascular dementia at the Bryn Mawr Terrace assisted living facility.
Although Dr Huth graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1947 and worked for years in Philadelphia as an internist, researcher and professor, his inquisitive mind and passion for journalism and the education ultimately led him to spend much of his career as an editor and writer.
From 1960, when he accepted a post of associate editor for Annals of Internal Medicine, which is published by the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia, until his retirement in 1990 as editor of the Annals, Dr. Huth has reviewed and updated the medical publishing industry.
âHe has said many times that it was his passion to bring the evolution of treatment and management of disease to the wider medical community,â said his son James.
Dr Huth’s son John said his father “had an intense intellectual curiosity”.
Dr Huth rejected the traditional summaries of complex issues and convention summaries that many journals had published, and printed detailed new clinical research, compelling peer reviews, and editorial commentary from his staff and notable contributors.
âJournal readers tend to trust their editors, editorial boards and peer reviewers to ensure the reliability and value of the synoptic views they publish,â Dr. Huth wrote in 2008 for the James Lind Library Bulletin. “But how far can we trust them? “
To increase this trust, Dr Huth standardized manuscript submission procedures and created guidelines on how medical writers should deal with authorship, conflicts of interest, industry influence over their content, and other issues that were largely unresolved.
He has published prominent articles on hepatitis, Legionnaires’ disease and AIDS in many other journals, and has spent hours debating with his colleagues which stories should be included in the next edition. Red editing pens were still strewn around his office and home.
Out of the office, he taught at Penn in the 1980s on publishing research articles and organized over 200 medical publishing seminars and workshops around the world. He co-founded the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, edited style textbooks for the Council of Science Editors and others, and published several books on writing and editing medical literature.
He published How to write and publish articles in medical science, in 1982, and a review of the 1983 book by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal stated that it should “be read and re-read at regular intervals by anyone who attempts to write for publication.”
Dr Huth defended the use of computers to write, publish, and store information long before the Internet. He has won several awards for his work and has been a member of numerous medical and journalistic organizations. After leaving Annals, he worked in the 1990s as editor of the Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials.
Born in Philadelphia on May 15, 1923, Dr Huth graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 1941 and Wesleyan College in 1943. He completed his internship and residency at Penn in Internal Medicine and held academic positions at Penn and at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, now Drexel University College of Medicine.
Dr Huth met his wife, Carol Monnik, while he was looking for a partner for a game of bridge. They married in 1957, settled in Bryn Mawr and had their two sons.
An accomplished pianist and avid photographer, Dr Huth and his wife enjoyed attending the orchestra and the theater. Best of all, she said, were their daily conversations at 9 p.m. during which they caught up on the day’s events. The couple had, she said, “a close, comfortable and enduring company.”
âHe was loyal to his wife, his children and his standards,â she said.
In addition to his wife and sons, Dr Huth is survived by five grandchildren. A sister died earlier.
A memorial service will be webcast live on www.bmpc.org/livestream and will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.
Donations on his behalf can be made to Harriton House, 500 Harriton Rd., PO Box 1364, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.