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Obituary: John M. Fredrickson, former head of otolaryngology, 86

Noted for contributions to microsurgical technique and research in head and neck physiology

May 8, 2017

John M. Fredrickson, MD, former head of the Department of Otolaryngology and a professor emeritus of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died April 5, 2017, in Vancouver, Canada. He was 86.

Fredrickson came to Washington University in 1982 to serve as the Lindburg Professor and head of the Department of Otolaryngology, a position he held until 1998. He became an emeritus professor in 2002. Under Fredrickson’s leadership, the department grew in both clinical and research activities. His body of research included major contributions to the fields of vestibular neurophysiology, middle-ear implants and microvascular reconstructive surgery of the head and neck. After his retirement in 2002, Fredrickson returned to Vancouver and remained active in the field, helping to develop an implantable transducer for severe hearing loss.

Fredrickson had a long and distinguished career in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery. After earning his medical degree at the University of British Columbia, Fredrickson continued his training at the University of Chicago, where he completed his internship, and at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he was a research fellow. He joined the faculty of Stanford University and then, returning to his native Canada, served as head of clinical sciences at the University of Toronto.

In addition to his academic positions, Fredrickson served as president of the American Laryngological Association and chair of the examining committee of otolaryngology for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was a member of the American Board of Otolaryngology and the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum. He also served as editor of the American Journal of Otolaryngology and as chairman of the research committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery.

In recognition of his many contributions to academic medicine, Fredrickson was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Linköping, Sweden, and from the Medical College of Ohio.

Fredrickson is survived by his wife, Alix, and his three children, Kristin, Lisa and Erik Fredrickson.