John D. Halverson

1985-87 ASMBS President

Most Important Event

Fostered the development of the organization from a local, regional endeavor to its early stage of recognition on the national scene.

The entire surgical community suffered a loss when Dr. John Halverson died of a brain tumor that strickened him at an early age. John was a dynamic, dedicated, academician of the first order. We first met in the early 1980s when he was invited to speak at the Colloquium on obesity surgery sponsored by the University of Iowa, and spearheaded by Ed Mason. We discovered that we had much in common, as both of us were interested in the metabolic sequelae of surgically induced weight loss in the morbidly obese. Both of us were involved in clinical trials that were focused on the metabolic aberrations produced by weight loss surgically induced. We both were active in admitting patients to clinical research units to study metabolic changes.

The two of us had served as a part of the committee that established the annual program for the Colloquium Iowa City, and during John’s presidency he assigned me the task of program director for the annual meeting. He had an insatiable appetite for quality science, and this spilled over into the years that he served as president of the ASBS. John proposed, in the second year of his presidency, that the site of the annual meeting be moved from the comfortable venue of Iowa City to the bright lights of St. Louis. He arranged for Washington University to help sponsor the event. Although CME issues at that time were not as daunting as they appear to be now, having Wash U sponsor something as eclectic as bariatric surgery was, at the time, monumental. In some small way, it endorsed bariatric surgery on a national level and helped transform the Society from a regional one to one with a national impact. John was a gentle man, a solid scientist, and a true advocate for surgical intervention to treat obesity. He is missed.

These remarks were written by J. Patrick O’Leary, MD