eISSN: 2083-8441
ISSN: 2081-237X
Pediatric Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism
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2/2020
vol. 26
 
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abstract:
In memoriam

In memoriam of Professor Maria Rybakowa

Jerzy Starzyk
1

1.
Kierownik Kliniki Endokrynologii Dzieci i Młodzieży Katedry Pediatrii, Instytut Pediatrii, Collegium Medicum, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie/Head of the Department of Children and Youth Endocrinology, Institute of Paediatrics, Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow
Pediatr Endocrinol Diabetes Metab 2020; 26 (2): 63–64
Online publish date: 2020/06/18
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It was my great honour and privilege to spend 6 years working as an assistant to Professor Maria Rybakowa in the Department of Children and Youth Endocrinology at the Institute of Paediatrics in Krakow, which she founded in 1984, and managed for 10 years as its first head.
Based on her immense knowledge in the fields of paediatrics and endocrinology, which she acquired from the most eminent experts in these disciplines, Professor Maria Rybakowa was an accomplished and respected mentor to all the assistants in the Department. Throughout her scientific career, she met a number of foremost authorities in her field of interest, including Professor Lelong, one of the founders of neonatology; Professors Fanconi and Crigler, the founders of modern paediatrics; Professor Tanner and his assistant Professor Whitehouse, the founders of auxology; Professor Prader, recognised as the founding father of paediatric endocrinology; and Professor Pawlikowski, the undisputed founding father of Polish endocrinology.
For many years, she was friends with Thomas P. Foley, Professor in Paediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Chief in the Division of Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, USA. Their friendship resulted in 13-year collaboration between both medical centres, and training programmes in Pittsburgh offered through the Project Hope Foundation to the majority of the Department’s assistants. Professor Rybakowa should be credited for teaching us synthetic and deductive reasoning in the practice of medicine. She was a great believer in the maxim that there is not a single idea – however innovative it might be – that could not be summed up in a single sentence. Today, however, I have difficulty encapsulating in one sentence the contribution made by Professor Maria Rybakowa to the development of paediatric endocrinology. Perhaps her role can best be described as “the founding mother of Polish and co-founder of international paediatric endocrinology”. She herself, as a woman, greatly appreciated the title of “The First Lady of Polish Endocrinology”, as she used to be called in the scientific community.
There is no doubt that Professor Rybakowa deserved these accolades. As a member of the working group on neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism at the European Society of Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE), and the Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders at the European...


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