Towsley Honored By Health Group
(Special to the News)
DETROIT - Dr. Harry A. Towsley, retired chairman of the Department of Postgraduate Medicine at the University of Michigan, Friday night received the Michigan Public Health Association’s highest honor — its Special Community Services Award — at a dinner climaxing the Association’s 1974 annual meeting at the Detroit Hilton Hotel.
"No physician or educator has done more to advance the cause of reducing time lag between medical discoveries and their application to general medical practice than Dr. Towsley," said Ralph E. Lewis, of Ann Arbor, retiring president of the Association. "His vehicle was special classes in new techniques for practicing physicians."
Lewis, who presented a framed certificate to Dr. Towsley, ended the presentation with a reference to the doctor being, “a darn fine trout fisherman," a tribute which Dr. Towsley said was most pleasing.
One of a number of incidents that sparked Dr. Towsley's interest in postgraduate education was the fact that a northern Michigan county had a much higher maternal and child death rate than the state average. The doctor organized an intensive medical education campaign by the University of Michigan Medical School and within two years the death rates were reduced to normal.
In tribute to his work, the University of Michigan named its Center for Continuing Medical Education for him. The center building itself was a gift to the University from the Towsley and Dow families of Midland.
Born in 1905 at Midland, Dr. Towsley’s career, with the exception of a stint in the Armed Services during World War H, has been at the U-M Medical School. After getting his MD degree there, he took special training in pediatrics, then became an instructor in the speciality, and rose to the position of professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases.
During these years, as he became more and more convinced of the importance of keeping practicing physicians technically up-to-date, he turned his attention to post-graduate education. In 1967, he was appointed chairman of the Department of Postgraduate Medicine.
Dr. Towsley, who lives in Ann Arbor, is married to the former Margaret Dow. They have four daughters.
Despite his retirement, he is active in medical center and alumni activities, as well as State and national education. He is a past president of the Washtenaw County Medical Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan Health Council and the Michigan United Fund.
Also honored at the dinner were Dr. Myron E. Wegman, dean of the U-M School of Public Health who is retiring to resume teaching, and Dr. George E. Bowler, former director of Ann Arbor Concentrated Code Enforcement program for 34 years.
Dr. Wegman received a distinguished service award. Dr. Bowler was honored for his work and membership in the MPHA for more than 25 years.