Opinion| Volume 31, ISSUE 6, P468, June 2023

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Tribute to Hugh Hendrie

  • David C. Steffens
    Send correspondence and reprint requests to David C. Steffens, M.D., M.H.S., Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030-1410
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
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Published:March 20, 2023DOI:
      Thirty years ago, as a newly minted assistant professor at Duke University with dreams of becoming an investigator like my mentors Dan Blazer, Ranga Krishnan, and John Breitner, I had the good fortune of meeting an affable, intelligent gentleman with a ruddy complexion and a brogue. Dr. Hendrie was invited to be a scientific advisory board member for an epidemiological study on which I served as a junior investigator. At dinner the night before the meeting, it was clear that the more senior investigators had the utmost respect for their colleague. Somewhat starstruck, I awkwardly approached Dr. Hendrie and was completed disarmed. He showed interest in my career, my research focus, my family—he showed interest in me. With good humor, he reflected on his own career, providing me insights into his professional background, how he took advantage of opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, and a clear passion for his work. My education in geriatric clinical and epidemiological research continued the next day as Dr. Hendrie provided feedback to the group on our study.
      The impression I was left with after the board meeting was immediate and deep. I did some kind of search—it was the mid-1990s, so pre-PubMed and pre-Google—on Dr. Hendrie, expecting to see a citation list focused on geriatric epidemiology. Instead I found a broad range of publications related to neurobiology, treatment, peripheral and neuroimaging biomarkers, and yes, epidemiology. It dawned on me that these publications reflected well our dinner conversation about leveraging opportunities to work with new collaborators. Dr. Hendrie's impressive record was noteworthy both for its depth and its breadth.
      Over the ensuing years, I made an effort to soak up as much wisdom from Dr. Hendrie as I could. At subsequent scientific advisory board meetings and at AAGP meetings, I benefited from his knowledge and guidance. For me, Dr. Hendrie has been a model of kindness, inquisitiveness, generosity of time, openness to new experiences and excellence in research methodology. I continue to value his perspective and eagerly download his latest publication. Our field has been blessed with giants who are also good people, and I have been fortunate to know many of them. I count Dr. Hendrie in this auspicious group and feel blessed to have had the opportunities to learn from his remarkable example.