Remembering Dr. Arthur Ammann
Dr. Arthur Ammann, a scientist, physician, author and advocate in the fight against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) died on August 15, 2021 in San Rafael, California. His expertise in pediatric immunodeficiencies led him to join researchers racing to identify the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), at the time wrongly believed to only affect adults. Working with colleagues in adult medicine, while continuing to see pediatric patients, he began to see children with immunodeficiencies that mirrored those of the adults with AIDS. This led to a critical, and in his own words, ‘terrible discovery’: the cause of AIDS, years later identified as HIV, could be transmitted from mothers to infants during pregnancy and to children through blood transfusions. He dedicated the next five decades of his life to increasing our understanding of HIV/AIDS, driving efforts to study the disease in women and children, while tirelessly advocating for new treatments to reach the most marginalized communities affected by the HIV epidemic.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Ammann graduated from Wheaton College before attending the New Jersey Medical School where he received his MD in 1962. He completed his residency at the University of California San Francisco between 1963-66. Under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Stiehm, he became interested in pediatric immunology and published research on the use of antibody testing to detect congenital infections. He served two years as a pediatrician at Travis Air Force Base before completing a fellowship in immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and returning to UCSF as a Pediatric Immunologist.