RIVERWOODS, IL, June 08, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Dr. Bruce Douglas, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Bruce Douglas celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
As a boy, growing up in the Great Depression, Bruce Douglas made a pact with himself- that if he lived to the year 2000, at which time he would be 75-years-old, he would spend those years left to him "serving humanity". It was a secret pledge that is now into its eighteenth year! And he gives credit to two very different sources of influence in his life: the first was an international scholarship camp, Camp Rising Sun in Red Hook, NY, for which he was selected in the summers of 1940, 1941, and 1942 while he was a student at Boys High School in Brooklyn. "Rising Sun and its founder, Freddie Jonas, helped start me on a meaningful path in my youth," he said; and the second was Princeton University, whose motto inculcated in him a desire "to serve humanity."
World War II and the Korean War were conflicting ways to do that; however, his naval experience helped, minimally, to annihilate three evil dictators. An NYU dental degree and Columbia University's postgraduate oral surgery program, accompanied by hospital residency training at Queens Hospital Center in New York, qualified him to be a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, a stepping stone to his entering the real world of health care practice. He had a premonition that teaching was going to play an important part in his life, so he attended Columbia University Teachers College nights and some days and, by 1957, he had earned a Master's degree in education and a Professional Diploma as Dean of Instruction in Colleges. He boasts to this day about a course he took in anthropology with Margaret Mead and frequently recounts his experience in another course with Donald Tewksbury in international education. Prof. Tewksbury taught him that his professional degree(s) would serve as an "international currency", to which he has often referred in his frequent worldly travels.
During his military service in Japan and Korea, he studied Japanese and established close ties in the Japanese health care community. In five years of private oral surgery practice in Rego Park, NY, he became convinced that he was not cut from that cloth; so he reestablished his ties to Japan and applied for and was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research at Okayama University Medical School, where he was appointed "Fulbright Professor of Oral Surgery and Anesthesiology." Mrs. Douglas taught English to college students and the young inhabitants of Aiseien Leprosarium, on a small island in the Japan Inland Sea off the coast of Honshu, near Okayama, and Dr. Douglas treated patients for leprosy-related oral surgery problems.
Dr. Douglas, his wife and one-year-old son were the only American residents of Okayama. A second son was delivered seven months after their arrival. He was dubbed the largest baby ever born at Okayama University Hospital. The Douglases took their Fulbright person-to-person responsibilities very seriously. This was a time of great sensitivity in Japan, which had lost World War II not much more than a decade earlier. Hiroshima was about an hour away by train and some of Dr. Douglas' medical students were the children of the victims of the first atomic bomb blast. The Douglas family made a presentation about their experiences in rural Japan at a special Fulbright scholars' meeting, in Tokyo, at a time Sen. Fulbright was visiting the country early in 1960.
Dr. Douglas' Fulbright involvement never ended. He was awarded an unprecedented second year grant on the basis of high praise from the Japanese community in Okayama; however, to their disappointment, he was transferred to the Tokyo Medical-Dental University and called upon frequently to be a consultant to the Japanese-American Fulbright Commission. He became well known in the Tokyo educational community and he wrote numerous articles for the Japanese English-language press, where he dwelt mainly on serious issues in the evolving, difficult relationship between the two former adversaries. In later years, he worked with the American Fulbright Alumni Association and founded and became the first president of its Chicago chapter. In 2013, he was recognized by the same chapter with a plaque honoring "his leadership, service and commitment." On his return to the States, in 1961, not sure about his future, he took advantage of a federal grant program to acquire a Master's degree in Public Health at the University of California in Berkeley, which included an internship with the Public Health Service in San Francisco.
He chose the University of Illinois in Chicago to begin his formal academic career in the fields of community health and preventive and oral medicine. The early sixties were turbulent years. Prof. Douglas was a born activist. He opposed the Vietnam War with such vigor that his public image led to his election to a four-year side career as an elected independent Democratic member of the Illinois General Assembly, where he was referred to as "the doctor in the House." He was the major sponsor of many health-related measures and chief sponsor of a bill to support women's reproductive rights (before Roe vs. Wade). He was recognized by the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities for his work on the Higher Education Committee. The Illinois Veterinary Medical Association awarded him its Best Legislator Award for his sponsorship of the Humane Care of Animals Act. He became Illinois' most outspoken opponent of smoking in public places, with the introduction of such legislation, which led, later, to his selection as Chairperson of the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco. He points with pride to being the father of the Illinois State Lottery, which was to have raised millions of dollars for public education, and he had to take on the Police lobby to get a right-turn-on-red law passed and then to fight the State Medical Society to get a bill passed to require hospitals to offer "Pap" tests to women. He sponsored legislation to recognize handicapped people along with mentally ill, a bill to outlaw the sale of blood, and another complex bill defining death, at a time of advancements in the field of transplantation of bodily organs. He represented a Chicago community which housed 20,000 "American Indians" and was appointed Chairman of an American Indian Commission to make recommendations to improve the lot of that very troubled community.
He considers his most poignant "legislative" accomplishment to have been the "founding" of the University of Illinois School of Public Health, in which he was the first faculty member, as his professorships in the Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry were transferred to Public Health.
Dr. Douglas was a founder of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, of which he became editor of its anesthesia journal and, then, served as its President; he was President of The American Society of Hospital Dentists and wrote the first textbook in that field. He headed the Department of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Chicago's Rush Medical Center and served as the Director of the Dental Division of the Illinois Health Department, prior to his appointment by the Governor to Chair a Commission to study the maldistribution of health care professionals in Illinois. As Chair of that Commission, he was designated to write a State Dental Plan, especially to improve accessibility to affordable dental care for lower income residents which, on completion, was rejected by the State Dental Society, never his friend!
Prof. Douglas has been a prolific writer and editor. He published more than 500 articles, editorials, and feature articles, three books, and shorter booklets in fields in which he had expertise: e.g. dental care of the special patient, which was the outcome of an outreach, elective program for fourth-year dental students at the UIC College of Dentistry. He won the coveted William J. Gies editorial award in 1969 for an editorial that admonished his own profession to prepare for the future of health care and its role in it, and for two years edited a Q&A column in the Chicago Sun-Times on dental health. He has advocated for a national health service for many years and vows to continue that political battle until the United States joins every other developed nation with a government-private partnership health-care-delivery system. Interestingly, as a supporter of a so-called single-payer system in the first Clinton administration, he publicly advocated for "Medicare for all", now the rallying cry for the politically progressive left.
He also served on multiple occasions as a World Health Organization consultant to Colombia, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom; in the seventies, as a WHO consultant to Southeast Asia, he met his second wife, who was serving as an occupational therapist, in Bangkok. In Chicago, in 1968, he had a part-time oral surgery practice in the "ghetto", to which his eleemosynary instincts led him, only to have his office burned down three days after Martin Luther King's assassination! He vowed, in an article he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, on April 21, 1968, that he would return to the "ghetto," a promise he later fulfilled in another deprived area of the Chicagoland community.
Dr. Douglas has always proudly referred to himself as a political liberal, which, he claimed, gave him constant community responsibilities in whatever health-oriented work he was involved. After "retiring" from oral surgery practice in 1990, at age 65, he set out on an exploration to find his next vocation. Fortuitously, his wife had started a human capital consulting firm, and, at her invitation, he took on the role of medical director, in which he spent two years learning the ropes in the field of workplace health. At the same time, AARP had asked him to serve on their Illinois Legislative Committee, because of his familiarity with the State Legislature. He accepted the offer and, for the rest of the decade before the year 2000, turned his AARP volunteer job into one of advocacy for the older worker, aided by AARP's authority, Dr. Sara Rix, at the same time he retained his affiliation with the UIC School of Public Health.
Through his wife's company, he consulted in the area of prevention-oriented absence management and health-related worker productivity, and started a prolific authorship role in which he was described by David North, CEO of Sedgwick CMS, the world's largest claims management company, as an international authority on the subject of the older worker. With the turn of the century, the Washington (now National) Business Group on Health appointed him as their first Senior Scholar in Residence. At the same time, the Journal of Workers' Compensation brought him on board as a member of their editorial board and had him write a monthly column on the subject of workplace health and the older worker. Those columns, chapters in various books and other journals, have all been combined to publish a Compendium in Dr. Douglas' name on the subject of the older worker.
Finally, in a career that spans 63 years since completing his formal oral and maxillofacial surgery education and training, he appears to be at his final "resting" place. At age 93, he is serving as Professor of Health and Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health and Professor of Oral Medicine at the UIC College of Dentistry. He is working, with the guidance of the world-renowned expert on aging, Prof. S. Jay Olshansky, to determine the impact of senescence on the quality of life of older adults, and assisting the College of Dentistry and other UIC allied health programs to develop teaching programs on senescence and aging as applied to their individual fields; and, of great importance to him, he is placing a high priority on including hearing loss as a major issue in enhancing the quality of life of older adults. That priority is a direct result of his being a 100% hearing-disabled, cochlear-implant bearing veteran. At this writing, he is in the process of becoming a blogger on hearing loss, in concert with the American Hearing Loss Association and the Hearing Health Foundation.
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