With great sadness, we report on the recent passing away of Howard Leslie Bleich, MD, the co-founder of the Division of Clinical Informatics at BIDMC. Dr. Bleich was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1934 and grew up in Washington, D.C. He was the oldest of three sons, all of whom became doctors. He graduated from George Washington University and then went on to get his medical degree from Emory University.
Dr. Bleich arrived at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital in 1967. He was a gifted teacher who started his classes on renal pathophysiology with the question, "who remembers the molecular weight of sodium?" He was on the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and edited the Beth Israel Seminars in Medicine in this journal.
Dr. Bleich is renowned for being a pioneer in a field he initially called "computer medicine." His groundbreaking work to develop a computer-based "Acid-Base Therapy Advisor" is now recognized as a pioneering work in expert systems in medicine. This expert system was the first not only to suggest a diagnosis but also to recommend treatment.