AND DEAN, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
OFFICE OF THE CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY
December 1, 2016
ALL ACADEMICS, STAFF AND STUDENTS AT UC SAN DIEGO
Katsumi Miyai, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology Emeritus, passed away peacefully after a brief illness on November 9 surrounded by family and friends. One of the original faculty members of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Miyai was a legendary figure in its history.
Following receipt of his MD degree from Keio University (Tokyo, Japan) and his PhD degree in Pathology from the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada), Dr. Miyai completed a residency in Pathology at Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri), a fellowship in pathology at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland), and a research fellowship in pathology at the Banting Institute of the University of Toronto. He was appointed assistant professor of pathology in 1969 at the then fledgling UC San Diego School of Medicine, teaching pathology to its first class of students, and subsequently rose through the ranks to tenured full professor. The Department of Medicine gave him a joint appointment in the Division of Gastroenterology in 1989.
A noted hepatopathologist, Professor Miyai published numerous articles on hepatobiliary disease. However, his greatest contribution is considered to be in medical education. For almost 20 years he chaired the required second-year course in Human Diseases, a blend of pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology as well as the required course in Histology. He also served as Director of the Pathology Residency Program for more than 10 years. He conceived of and developed the first digital images for pathology and histology teaching ("MedPics"), which inspired others to create similar teaching aids. His accomplishments in education resulted in his being honored with the Kaiser Award for Excellence in teaching twice (1979 and 2009) as well as the campus Distinguished Teaching Award from the Academic Senate (1995). Dr. Miyai's "retirement" in 2005 occurred only on paper since he continued to chair the pathology and histology threads in the new curriculum after retirement.
In every sense, Katsumi defined the highest standard for university professors. His commitment to growing knowledge and transferring that knowledge to the next generation of physicians and pathologists was unparalleled. His peers such as David N. Bailey, MD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of the Department of Pathology describe him as a true luminary who influenced the lives of countless medical students, residents, graduate students, and fellows not only through his outstanding teaching but, perhaps more importantly, through being a role model of excellence.
Henry C. Powell, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pathology and former Interim Chair of the Department of Pathology shared that Katsumi had unique ways of counseling students and a very generous concept of office hours - in his office and readily available to all of us and the students at all hours. Dr. Powell expresses all of our thoughts in saying that our affection for Dr. Miyai was deep, and he will be remembered very warmly for as long as we who knew him live to do so.
A celebration of the life of Katsumi Miyai will be announced at some time in the near future.