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The IFCC is deeply sad to announce that IFCC Past President Prof. S. Donald Young passed away

Published: Thursday, July 30, 2020

Dr S. Donald Young became IFCC President in 1985, after a three-year term as Vice-President. During his six years as President, Dr Young reorganised the committee structure of the IFCC. The previous Expert Panels were redefined as Committees and an integrated structure was formed to allow better communications and delegation of responsibility and activity. Dr Young initiated a further review and modification of the IFCC Statutes which was completed in 1993. During Dr Young’s tenure IFCC initiated the publication of its own journal - Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry. A broader interpretation of clinical chemistry to include other areas of laboratory medicine was developed. Formal associations were initiated with clinical chemistry organisations in Latin America and the Asian and Pacific region.

He was always helping colleagues in Africa and he assisted in bringing IFCC and ASLM together in putting up a MOU. He took a keen role in the Mentorship program especially in Africa.

Not only did he play a key role in the IFCC but he was one of the pillars of Clinical Chemistry having published one of the few books on the effect of drugs and other interferences  on Clinical Chemistry tests.

Dr. Young was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and completed his Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in 1957. In 1962 he was granted a PhD in Chemical Pathology from the University of London.

Donald Young received a Leverhulme Fellowship of Royal Society of Medicine, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, and then trained as a Registrar (Resident) in Chemical Pathology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and as Honorary Registrar, Hammersmith Hospital, in London. He moved to the US and in 1965, he was appointed a Visiting Scientist in the Clinical Pathology Department at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he became the Chief of the Clinical Chemistry Service.

He is well known for his work as the principal editor and driving force behind the monumental Effects Series, a landmark collection of texts on the effects of drugs, disease, preanalytical variables, and herbals on laboratory tests. He spearheaded the transition of this work to an online database with information on more than 135,000 effects on more than 5,000 tests.

Dr. Young was the acting director of clinical chemistry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been active in the AACC for many years, and served it in many capacities, including as president, council chair, and publications board chair. He has served on the executive council of the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists and as co-chair of four of its annual meetings. He chaired the automation commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

He has served on many government advisory committees, including for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, including Clinical Chemistry (which he chaired), Analytical Letters, and Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biochemical Analysis. He has published more than 200 papers and book chapters, and edited influential books, including the Directory of Rare Analyses, Effects of Drugs on Clinical Laboratory Tests, and Effects of Disease on Clinical Laboratory Tests.

Dr. Young’s research interests have been directly associated with improvements in laboratory performance, optimizing the usefulness of laboratory data, use of computers, and evaluating usefulness of new analytical concepts such as microcalorimetry, the miniature centrifugal analyzer, and kinetic nephelometry. He has worked with the National Bureau of Standards on developing Reference Methods. During his long and successful career he received many Awards. in 2008 he received the IFCC-Howard Morris Distinguished Clinical Chemist Award (since 2020) IFCC Distinguished Clinical Chemist Award (1969-2017).

His colleagues at Penn describe Prof Young as a "tireless, dedicated" professional, who, while "committed to the highest standards," was a person of "stamina and patience" at the same time, "with an impressive reputation world-wide." He is remembered as "amiable, encouraging, and very supportive of the faculty and staff," as a "wise mentor," as well as a "generous and honorable gentleman."

Prof Young will be remembered as a mentor and role model for many Clinical Biochemistry colleagues and he will be greatly missed.

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