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2012 Chapter Laureate Award

Douglas B. Hornick, MD, FACP

Dr. Hornick was born at Johns Hopkins University Hospital where his dad was an intern. He remembers growing up hearing dinner table stories of the fascinating cases his dad had admitted to the Osler service where he was on call every other night…and on the nights off he would not leave until work was completed. Later when Dr. Hornick’s dad ran a lab studying tropical diseases, he would park him, his brother and younger sister in the lab on weekend mornings, while rounding in the hospital. Dr. Hornick recalls that he and his sibs were loosely supervised in that lab, where creative curiosity would dictate the activities to pass the time. He fondly recalls momentous “experiments” using the clean test tubes and petri dishes—the Bunsen burners and incubators were off limits, officially. The fun weekends in the lab ended however, when Dr. Hornick’s younger sister came down with a prolonged mysterious febrile illness that turned out to be the only case of Typhoid fever reported in Maryland for several decades prior and since. His sister survived w/no ill effects. Dr. Hornick and his brother attribute those dinner time stories of exotic infectious diarrheal diseases (not to mention the fun times in the tropical disease lab) as pivotal influences in their decision to enter careers in medicine. “Typhoid Martha”, their younger sister, went on to become a lawyer…how she became infected by Salmonella typhi while being supervised by her two older brothers is still litigated good naturedly at family gatherings.

After graduating from Baltimore’s Gilman School, Dr. Hornick attended St Lawrence University in upstate New York. He graduated cum laudi in 1978 with a BS and Highest Honors in Chemistry. He then returned to Baltimore and the University Of Maryland School of Medicine and received his MD and the Milton Sacks award for excellence in Medicine and Hematology in 1982. During med school some classmates joked that, besides an interest in hematology, they thought Dr. Hornick really majored in Squash. Repeatedly banging a ball against a wall was a great reliever of frustration and as he rose through the ranks of the close knit squash player community in Baltimore, he ran across and beat several of his surgical attendings, whose egos did not handle that well. This experience may have further cemented his decision to seek residency in Internal Medicine. Squash became less attractive when, in 1981, he married Leigh Lanning from New Jersey. She has been his closest soul mate and greatest support ever since.

Dr. and Mrs Hornick matched way out in Iowa for Internal Medicine Residency, banking on rumors that a relatively new chairman, Frank Abboud, was building a formidable Department in those far off cornfields. Gary Hunninghake also attracted to Iowa by Dr. Abboud, influenced Dr. Hornick to switch from Hematology to Pulmonary & Critical Care. After two years of residency, he started his pulmonary and critical care fellowship selecting the mentorship of Robert B Fick, Jr, who nurtured his research focus on P aeruginosa pulmonary infections. On finishing his fellowship and residency as chief resident in 1988, Dr. Hornick joined the faculty of the UI Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine. Meanwhile Leigh had finished her graduate work in the Iowa School of Social Work, and there were two young Iowans, Emma and Andrew, enlivening their formerly peaceful home. The dyed in the wool east coasters were irrevocably on track to become not only Midwestern, but Iowans.

Having received an NIH clinical investigator award, as well as the Cecile-Lehman-Mayer and Edward Livingston Trudeau Research Awards, Dr. Hornick published a few promising basic science papers proving that adherence mechanisms exhibited by Gram negative pulmonary pathogens such as K pneumoniae and P aeruginosa were robust. Dr. Hornick proved also, however, that these mechanisms were not that important in the pathogenesis of hospital associated and CF lung infections. Subsequently, he placed more energy into program development, clinical care and teaching.

Pursuing his clinical interest in lung infections, Dr. Hornick re-established the Iowa Tuberculosis chest clinic as the US TB epidemic briefly re-emerged in the 1990s. Along with Dick Wenzel in ID, they resurrected the UIHC TB Infection Control Committee which Dr. Hornick still chairs today. Since 1992, Dr. Hornick has served as the medical advisor to the Iowa Dept of Public Health TB Section. He has received the Henry Albert Award (1992) from the Iowa Medical Society, the special volunteer award (1993) from Governor Branstad, and recently the Dept of Public Health Certamen Ad Finem Pergit (2009) Award. He also served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Tuberculosis in the Workplace 1999-2001 and since 2009 he has served on the advisory board and as a regular lecturer for the CDC’s Heartland National TB Center based at the Texas Center for Infectious Diseases in San Antonio, TX.

That passion for lung infections motivated Dr. Hornick to start the UI Adult CF Center in 1998 and closely maintain it in collaboration with the UI pediatric CF center. The CF Foundation has accredited the UI Adult CF clinical center since its founding which has nearly tripled in size, serving over 100 CF adults throughout Iowa and western Illinois. The CF Foundation bestowed the Excellence award to the UI center in 2010. Since 2002 Dr. Hornick, collaborating with Dr. Ahrens in Pediatrics, has participated as one of 12 US centers in the CF Therapeutic Development Network. Among the proudest achievements has been the Iowa center’s critical contribution to the ivacaftor clinical trials which were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Hornick draws on accumulated experience in clinical pulmonary medicine, especially lung infections, to participate in teaching medical trainees and colleagues. He has been named Introduction to Clinical Medicine outstanding instructor in 1989, finalist for M3 teacher-of-the-year 2003, 2004, and recipient of the fellows’ teaching award 2002, 2010. He participates in the College of Medicine Iowa Visiting Program giving four to five pulmonary CME lectures to Internal Medicine and Family Practice training programs around the state annually. He speaks at regional and national CME courses for Family Practice, Physician Assistants and Respiratory Therapists. He was given the opportunity to chair the popular Clinical Radiologic and Pathologic Correlations Session at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) International meeting in 2001 and 2002. He has been invited to speak on TB or CF at the Annual ATS State of the Art Course on several occasions.

Dr. Hornick was promoted to clinical professor in 2002. Although he serves in several administrative positions including medical director of UIHC Respiratory therapy (2002-present), chair of the Pneumonia Core Measures program (2004-present), and clinical director for the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine, he relishes working as a team player for 15 plus years on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Antimicrobial Subcommittees and whenever asked on the Departmental Promotions committee. He has been a past president of the Iowa Thoracic Society and past governor of the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Chest Physicians. He was an ATS Outstanding Clinician Award finalist in 2009 and awarded the Department of Medicine Outstanding Clinician in 2011.

Dr. Hornick became an associate member of the ACP as a resident and as chief resident became the associate representative to the Iowa chapter’s council under then Governor Kennedy Fawcett MD, to enhance membership of young internists for which he received the Iowa Governor’s special recognition award. He remained on the council and served as Secretary from 1996-2006. He has been privileged to serve as a judge and a mentor for young associates participating in the ACP vignettes competition, and he has given lectures on Community Acquired Pneumonia and TB at the Iowa ACP CME Meetings in 1996, 2002 and 2007.

During free time Dr. Hornick has enjoyed making reproductions of antique cherry furniture, canoeing in the boundary waters and bicycle riding with his family on the abundant bike trails that carve through the rolling Iowa and Minnesota country side. He has resisted the urge to pick up the squash racket again after reading in the European Heart Journal about the increased risk of deadly cardiac arrhythmias in veteran squash players. Hence he and Leigh spend their increased free time together as empty-nesters reading, entertaining friends, and supporting their aging parents.


Page updated: 03-30-12

Contact Information

Mark W Purtle, MD FACP,
Governor, Iowa Chapter

Denise Floerchinger
Ph: 319-356-2732