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Spring 2014
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John Ladd died at home on February 6, 2011, at the age of 93. A professor of philosophy at Brown for more than 50 years, he published widely on ethics, political and legal philosophy, and medical ethics. He was the founder and first chair of Brown’s Program in Biomedical Ethics, the result of informal meetings beginning about 1972 of a group of professors who met to exchange views on medical ethics. The program, which was formalized in 1973, sponsored roundtable discussions and conferences, and initiated the interdisciplinary courses and concentration in biomedical ethics. Ladd was also the first director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Rosalind Ekman Ladd AM’56 PHD’62, three daughters, and four grandchildren.



Victor Formisano, clinical professor emeritus of dermatology, died peacefully on February 9, 2011. He was 80 years old.

A native Rhode Islander, Formisano graduated from Providence College before earning his ScM in biology at Brown and his MD from Boston University Medical School in 1958.

Formisano worked with some of the most renowned skin biologists of all time, including William H. Montagna, PhD, former professor and director of the Brown University Primate Center. While working in the laboratories of Albert Kligman, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania during his residency training, Formisano contributed to the establishment of a prominent research center for aging skin.

In the 1960s he returned to Providence to start a private practice in dermatology. At the time of his retirement from the faculty in 2005, Charles McDonald, chair of the Department of Dermatology, said, “For 25-plus years [Dr. Formisano] was a very active participant in the teaching activities of the Department of Dermatology at Brown. His teaching methods were buttressed by a tremendous wealth of knowledge, which was very much appreciated by our residents and students.”

He is survived by his brother, five children, and 12 grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to Doctors Without Borders USA, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741.



Judith Heelan, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, passed away on February 15, 2011, at the age of 69. Judy was a teacher at the Medical School for 23 years.

Heelan studied at the University of Rhode Island, where she received an ScB in medical technology and an ScM and a PhD in microbiology. She began teaching at Rhode Island College and Salve Regina while pursuing her PhD.

Heelan was co-director of Brown’s pathology residency program and site director for Memorial Hospital’s pathology residency program. She was vicechair of Alpert Medical School’s Clinical Faculty Advisory Committee, on which she had served since its inception in 1999.

In addition to her work at Brown, Heelan was an adjunct faculty member at both Community College of Rhode Island and the University of Rhode Island. She received the Teaching Recognition Award for Clinical Faculty in May 2000 and the Teaching Excellence Award for Clinical Faculty in May 2004. She served as director of the Microbiology Lab at Memorial Hospital from 1989 until her death.

Heelan is survived by her daughter, Stephanie, her son, John, and six grandchildren.

Donations in Heelan’s memory may be made to the Jamestown Medical Fund, PO Box 236, Jamestown, RI 02835, and the Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties, 1184 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.

Judith Heelan, PhD


John Bernardo RES’59, 84, died on March 24, 2011. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 and Tufts School of Medicine in 1953. He completed residency training at Rhode Island Hospital in 1959, and was on staff there as a practicing general surgeon for more than 50 years. Dr. Bernardo held a teaching and research appointment at Alpert Medical School as a clinical assistant professor of surgery. He is survived by his wife, Dolores, six children, and 12 grandchildren.

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