The beloved former dean made the Miller School a truly global institution
By Alan Gomez
Photograph by Richard Patterson
A New Focus
It would also inspire Dr. Fogel’s decision to reorient the Miller School to focus on giving back. At the time, most medical schools had a three-pronged mission statement: medical education, research and patient care. Dr. Fogel added a fourth: community service. The school started offering health fairs in marginalized communities, with faculty and students volunteering in great numbers to staff these clinics. That work earned the Miller School the Association of American Medical Colleges’ first-ever Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement in 1993.
Dr. Fogel’s second South Florida discovery came in high school when he was spending a day with some friends.
“There was this young man in the pool,” Judy Fogel said. “I thought he was just adorable. I told his mother when I was 15 years old that I was going to marry her son.”
She did, starting a 63-year marriage that resulted in three daughters, six grandchildren, and a lifelong commitment that endured to his final days.
“Oh my God, the way he was with those kids,” said Betty DuFour, Dr. Fogel’s former executive assistant. “He would work late, but he would be home when he needed to be. He was very devoted. A perfect family.”
It’s not surprising, therefore, that Dr. Fogel began his career as a pediatrician. After briefly attending Emory University, he transferred back home and earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at the University of Miami. After graduating, he spent five years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he did his pediatric training and researched communicable diseases. He then returned to UM as director of the Division of Neonatology. In that role, he teamed up with other doctors in 1967 to perform the first successful thymus transplant on a six-week-old infant suffering from DiGeorge syndrome.
In 1981, he was chosen to lead the Miller School as dean, quickly earning a reputation as a bridge builder who excelled at creating, fostering and expanding the University’s relationships. He helped cement the bond between the University of Miami and Jackson Health System, which stands as one of the few remaining partnerships between a private university and a public hospital.
During his tenure, the Miller School experienced a rapid expansion of new programs, launching The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Center for Adult Development and Aging, the Comprehensive AIDS Program and the Ear Institute. The school also built the Papanicolaou annex, the Gautier Building, the Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge and the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.
“Dr. Fogel was instrumental in elevating the Miller School from a regional institution to a truly global one, creating and fostering the programs that have become our hallmarks,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “The University and the broader South Florida community owe a great debt to his work.”
A True Pioneer
When Dr. Fogel stepped down as dean in 1995, U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek delivered a speech in Congress in which she called Dr. Fogel “one of the true pioneers of health care education in the country today.” During that speech, Meek made special note of Dr. Fogel’s Health Careers Motivation Program, pointing out that the university was, at the time, teaching half of all African American medical students in the entire state of Florida.
“Though one of the country’s youngest medical schools, during the Fogel years the University of Miami School of Medicine has achieved a level of excellence shared by some of the nation’s oldest and finest schools of medicine,” said Meek, who passed away in 2021.
Dr. Fogel remained an active adviser, mentor and fundraiser for another decade before retiring and moving to Bethesda, Maryland. There, he spent his days painting, drawing, following his favorite sports teams, and spending time with his wife and grandchildren.
DuFour, Dr. Fogel’s executive assistant, said she was consistently astonished that a man who carried so many responsibilities maintained such a kind and caring disposition around everybody he came across.
“I don’t know if he ever got angry,” she said. “He was very kind to everybody, top to bottom. It didn’t matter who you were or what you did, he was just a wonderful man.
Judy Fogel said her husband spent his life trying to instill those same values in his children and grandchildren.
“He had a quote that all the grandchildren are very aware of: ‘Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do,’” she said. “It was a marriage made in heaven. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The Miller School has established a scholarship to honor the legacy of Dean Fogel. If you would like to give, please contact, Megan Brahimi at email@example.com or by visiting miami.edu/fogelmemorialscholarship.