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Galen B. Toews, pioneering lung researcher who led the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, dies

Galen B. Toews, M.D., F.A.C.P., a pioneering lung researcher who led the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System for more than 20 years, passed away Oct. 12 after stepping down in September due to illness.

Toews’ influence will continue to be seen for years to come, says pulmonologist Theodore J. Standiford, M.D., who is serving as interim division chief.

“His passion, commitment, mentorship, camaraderie and leadership will be missed,” Standiford says. “Nearly everyone currently in the division was recruited by Dr. Toews.”

Toews was a leader in the field of respiratory research for more than 30 years. Based on his contributions to the field, he was nominated by his colleagues for the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society.

His research focused on the body’s immune response and the role it played in human lung disease, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Toews was also known for fostering collaboration between basic science research and clinical investigators. His efforts helped to make U-M one of the premier institutions for the diagnosis and treatment of IPF and other lung diseases. Pulmonary divisions throughout the country followed his template for patient-oriented research training.

“Beyond research, he made excellence in patient care a cornerstone of his own practice and built the division to be similarly devoted to high quality clinical care delivery,” Standiford says.

Toews graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1971 and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He served as an Army doctor at Fort Polk in Louisiana and then completed pulmonary and immunology fellowships at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before joining the faculty there in 1979.

In 1987, he was appointed the Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at U-M. He was promoted to full professor in 1991 and served as Associate Dean for Research at the U-M Medical School from 2006-2008.

In recognition of his major contributions to the areas of research, education, clinical care, and service, Toews was earlier this year awarded the Paul De Kruif Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Internal Medicine at U-M. In 2002, he was given the Michigan Thoracic Society’s Bruce H. Douglas Award for contributions to pulmonary medicine.

Memorial information

A service celebrating Toews’ life will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 17, at St. Luke Lutheran Church, 4205 Washtenaw Ave. in Ann Arbor. A reception will follow at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Ave., on U-M’s North Campus.

A campaign has been initiated by the Pulmonary and Critical Care faculty to fund “The Galen B. Toews, M.D., Professorship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.”

Contributions may be made online at or by mail.

Checks should be made payable to the University of Michigan and sent to:

University of Michigan
Department of Internal Medicine Development Office
1000 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Remembrances can also be shared on an obituary at

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