Colleagues remember Johnstown pathologist, entrepreneur who “always looked for a better solution” | News

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Johnstown’s Dr. Sidney Goldblatt has never stopped looking for better ways to administer medicine, friends and colleagues say.

“He was a brilliant doctor and scientist who never forgot his humble beginnings,” Tom Kurtz, president and CEO of Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center told Windber. “He combined his passions for medicine and science in a way that had a real impact on direct patient care.”

Goldblatt, a well-known pathologist and entrepreneur, died last week at the age of 88.

After graduating in 1959 at the top of his medical class at Temple University in Philadelphia, Goldblatt became a board-certified pathologist through a residency program at what was then Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital. He then joined the medical staff of the hospital, where he served for 50 years. His roles included chief of pathology, medical director of laboratory services, and member of the hospital’s board of directors.

While building a nationally recognized reputation as a pathologist, Goldblatt was also developing ideas for products and services to improve care.

The Beaverdale native founded Sunquest Information Systems in 1979 to develop information technology for the healthcare industry. The company has developed software that has been marketed and used worldwide.

“He developed a lab system through Sunquest that I think most hospitals across the country use,” Kurtz said. “His interests were broad and diverse, but they always had one focus, and that was, ‘How does (this) affect care? ”

When Sunquest was sold in the early 2000s, its notable clients included the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

From there, Goldblatt started two other companies, MolecularDx and ForensicDx, both based in Windber.

ForensicDx is a nationally recognized forensic science center that performs autopsies for coroners in 20 counties in Pennsylvania.

MolecularDx is an advanced genomic diagnostics and toxicology laboratory that operated for a time on the ground floor of what was then the Windber Research Institute, now Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine in Windber.

“When we started the Windber Research Institute, Dr. Goldblatt regularly came to my office to discuss the kind of genomics and proteomics work we were doing,” said F. Nicholas Jacobs, founding president of the institute. . “Each conversation with our doctors allowed him to develop a deeper understanding of the future of medicine. When I returned to visit him a dozen years later, the entire first floor of this research institute was filled with Sid’s genius and his adaptations of the knowledge he had acquired during those visits.

Goldblatt’s research teams have worked in collaboration with experts from the Windber Institute on several projects.

Goldblatt continued to deepen his knowledge to develop new innovations during his later years. At the time of his death, he was involved in a genetic analysis project for families, with the aim of identifying inherited conditions for early intervention.

The project is continuing, led by Ebensburg-based American Family Health. Company founder and CEO John Kimball said the work exemplifies Goldblatt’s life goals.

“He wanted to do something better,” Kimball said. “He was always looking for a better way to do things.”

Hospitals’ struggles to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic naturally caught Goldblatt’s attention. His companies began working with a home monitoring system the company had developed for hospice and palliative care patients, adapting it for COVID-19 patients. The system allows physicians to monitor patients in their homes around the clock, including continuous heart and respiratory rates, body temperature and heart function.

Ivan Boyd, business development and strategic marketing specialist for Goldblatt Companies, said last year that Goldblatt’s goal was always to use technology to save lives and improve the medical community.

“He wants to help his community any way he can,” Boyd said. “He wrote letters to lawmakers offering to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.”

Dr Susan Warshel, of Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center in the Windber Palliative Care Program, said she was part of the team working on the ongoing project. She said it was always exciting working with Goldblatt.

“He’s always hired a stellar team,” Warshel said. “He was a little behind, but he was there when we needed him.”

She called Goldblatt “brilliant.”

Kurtz said he hoped Goldblatt’s work would not end with his death.

“He’s been more active the last few years than he was before,” Kurtz said. “He had so many projects going on that were really groundbreaking. I hope someone can continue these projects.

Jacobs said he will miss his friendship with Goldblatt.

“When I sat down for a meeting with Sid, it was always knowing that I had the privilege of sharing time with an intellectual giant who had both a sharp mind and a creative, inventive spirit,” said Jacobs. “His presence, his brilliance and his vision will certainly be missed.”

Survivors include his wife, Rae Goldblatt, and their children, Brian Goldblatt, Brad Goldblatt, Dr. Curtis Goldblatt and Jodi Gottlieb.

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