July 31, 1943 – May 29, 2016
The American Society of Pediatric Nephrology mourns the loss of Dr. William E. Harmon, who passed away on May 29 2016 at the age of 72 after a prolonged battle with melanoma.
The magnitude and depth of Bill Harmon’s impact on pediatric nephrology, kidney transplantation and dialysis cannot be measured, but continues to advance our field through the initiatives he created, the fellows he trained and the lives of our patients he improved.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bill completed his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University. His post-graduate training in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology were completed at the Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University. He then stayed on to undertake a storied career which led him from Instructor to tenured Professor of Pediatrics and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at these institutions. Bill was appointed the founding Director of Dialysis and the founding Medical Director of Pediatric Transplantation at Boston Children’s, positions he held with distinction for almost three decades. He worked tirelessly at the local, national, and international levels for the importance of specialized pediatric caretakers for children with ESRD. Bill held leadership positions in many national organizations including the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the American Society of Transplantation (AST), and the North American Pediatric Renal Transplant Study (NAPRTCS). He served as President of the pediatric committee of UNOS, as President of the AST in 2002-2003, and served as the President of NAPRTCS from 2002-2015.
Bill’s academic activities were focused on all aspects of pediatric dialysis and renal transplantation, training and mentoring, and education. He was the recipient of many national grants from the National Institutes of Health, and published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, invited reviews, and chapters. He served as an editor for the fourth through seventh editions of the standard reference text in the field, Pediatric Nephrology (1999-2016). He delivered over 150 invited lectures and seminars in the United States, Europe and Asia. Bill directed the pediatric nephrology training program at Boston Children’s, and his trainees have achieved national and international leadership positions. Bill received lifetime achievement awards for his many contributions from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2007 (Henry L. Barnett Award) and the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology in 2013 (Founders’ Award). At his acceptance speech for the ASPN Founder’s Award a few years ago, he reminded us that “we are privileged to be in a position to take care of children”. Bill never took that privilege lightly.
Bill will be dearly missed by his patients, his trainees, and his colleagues. His family has set up a website to celebrate his life and accomplishments: