About Ernst Philip Boas
Ernst Philip Boas (February 4, 1891 – March 9, 1955) was an American physician. He is a pioneer in the fields of pathology and physiology and was a highly respected expert in chronic diseases of the heart. He developed the cardiotachometer, a widely used instrument for measuring the rapidity of heartbeat.
Boas served as medical director of several leading hospitals in New York City, including Mt. Sinai Hospital, and as professor of cardiology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and its Teachers College. He authored several books and scientific articles, mostly on the subject of cardiovascular disease.
Boas was born at Worcester, Massachusetts to German anthropologist Franz Boas, regarded by many as the father of modern anthropology. Boas earned both his B.S. and M.D. degrees from Columbia University. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society for outstanding scientific contributions to the study of heart disease, particularly cholesterol and arteriosclerosis. He was a member of the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa in liberal arts, Pi Gamma Mu in social sciences, and Alpha Omega Alpha in medicine.
Besides his purely medical work, Boas, like his equally distinguished father, was deeply involved in and committed to social causes and social service. He worked with such agencies as the China Aid Council, Inc., the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Medical Scientists (serving as Secretary in 1945), the Committee of Physicians for the Improvement of Medical Care, Inc., the National Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Physicians, the Physicians Committee of the National Refugee Service (serving as Chairman in 1943), and the United Service for New Americans, Inc. He founded The Physicians Forum, Inc., in 1939, to study and discuss health care issues, resist McCarthyism [never mind resisting anachronisms], and counter the American Medical Association's opposition to national health insurance. He also continued to work against discrimination of any form; for instance, he was instrumental in the appointment of African-American physicians and nurses to hospital staffs. – He was a leading member and/or officer of the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, the American Society for the Study of Arteriosclerosis (founding member), the Authors' Guild, the Child Study Association of America, the Committee for the Nation's Health, the Committee of Citizens Against the Feinberg Law (a law to eliminate subversives from the New York state public school system), the Harvey Society, the Medical Society of the County of New York, the National Medical Committee of the NAACP, the New York Academy of Medicine, the New York Heart Association, Inc. (founding member and Chairman), the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association (Chairman of the Heart Committee), and the United States Committee, Inc. (founding member), an organization created in support of the World Medical Association.
Boas died in New York City of pancreatic cancer.