In 2014, the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases (ID) and Department of Medicine established the Morton N. Swartz Transformative Scholar Award in Infectious Diseases, to recognize and honor the life of a truly remarkable physician and legendary figure in American medicine, and to encourage the career development of young physician-scientists who aspire to follow in Dr. Swartz’s footsteps.
Dr. Swartz began his illustrious career at Mass General in 1947 as an intern after completion of his MD from Harvard Medical School. His three years of residency in Internal Medicine were followed by a research fellowship in cellular metabolism. After serving in the Korean War, Dr. Swartz returned to the Mass General in 1953 and served for one year as Chief Resident. In 1956, he established the Division of Infectious Diseases and served as its chief for 34 years, building the Division into an internationally recognized clinical and research center of excellence.
Dr. Swartz deepened his research knowledge and training with two sabbaticals in the 1960s, working in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University School of Medicine.
In 1990, Dr. Swartz became the James Jackson Firm Chief in the Department of Medicine, a position in which each day he taught clinical medicine, pathophysiology, and most importantly, a focus on patient care to hundreds of medical residents and medical students at the bedside. In retrospect, many of these individuals today view Dr. Swartz as the single most important figure in their career development as a physician.
This scholar award seeks to recognize the exceptional qualities embodied by Dr. Swartz—physician, scientist, scholar, teacher and compassionate healer. Unfortunately, opportunities for professional enrichment activities in the present day are limited by time and lack of resources. The goal of this one-year award is to provide support to young and talented faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Mass General to engage in a professional development activity that will enrich their career, as those early explorations did for the career development of Dr. Swartz.