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Dr. Glen E. Gresham, former medical director at ECMC, chief of UB’s rehab department

Dec. 1, 1931 – Feb. 24, 2016

Dr. Glen E. Gresham, former medical director at Erie County Medical Center and retired chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation at the University at Buffalo Medical School, died Feb. 24 in Fort Myers, Fla., after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

Dr. Gresham developed the first spinal cord injury unit at ECMC, served as its director and set up programs for treatment of post-polio syndrome and traumatic brain injuries. He was medical director at the hospital from 1990 to 1992.

While serving as an associate professor of medicine at Tufts University in Boston, Mass., in the 1970s, he was director of outpatient and continuing care services at the Rehab Institute at New England Medical Center. He was a leader in stroke research in the Framingham Heart Study and served on federal task forces on stroke rehabilitation.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he was a cum laude graduate of Harvard University and earned his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1958.

He completed his residency and fellowship training in Cleveland and served for two years in the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control, working on polio eradication and field trials of the new measles vaccine.

Dr. Gresham began his academic career at Case Western Reserve University and Ohio State University. In 1969, he became an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine; in 1970 he went to Tufts.

Dr. Gresham came to UB in 1978 and retired in 1998. A visiting professorship and lecture in rehabilitation science has been endowed at UB in his honor. A dean’s award also is given in his name.

Also an adjunct professor at UB’s School of Nursing, he established the Glen E. and Phyllis K. Gresham Endowment there.

He was a consultant in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Buffalo General Medical Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Buffalo and Batavia.

Dr. Gresham was a founding fellow of the American Rheumatism Association, an honorary member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He produced books and journal articles and lectured widely throughout the U.S. and Canada. He received numerous awards, including the Walter P. Cooke Award from the UB Alumni Association.

He served on the boards of directors of the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, the Schofield Residence, Coordinated Care Management Corp., and Presbyterian Homes of Western New York. He was president of the board of directors of the Western New York chapter of the American Heart Association, which named him Man of the Year in 1987.

He also was a member of Amherst Community Church, the Saturn Club and numerous professional organizations. A former Amherst resident, in 2004 he moved to Sanibel, Fla., where he was active as a volunteer. He served as a deacon at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ and sang in the choir.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Phyllis Kilmer; two sons, Stephen and David; two daughters, Elizabeth and Jennifer; a sister, Nancy Sandercox; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. April 23 in the chapel at Forest Lawn.

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