Metro

Dr. Daniel Federman, Harvard Medical School stalwart, dies at 89

Dr. Daniel D. Federman , who worked at Harvard Medical School for six decades and helped create the field of genetic endocrinology, has died, the school announced Thursday night. He was 89.

Federman’s work “helped transform medical education” at the school, where he spent “nearly his entire adult life.” At Harvard, he received undergraduate and medical degrees before serving as a professor of medicine, a dean for students and alumni, and a dean for medical education at Harvard Medical School, according to a statement from the school.

During his time as dean for students and alumni, he helped develop and implement a new curriculum that proved to be transformative for the school, according to the statement.

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“Dan Federman’s life etched a high watermark on the soul of American medicine,” said Jordan J. Cohen , the president emeritus of the American Association of Medical Colleges. “A master teacher, a master clinician, a master rhetorician — yes, but so much more. He was without peer.”

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Federman, who was the son of European immigrants who settled in the Bronx, also served in roles at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital during his much-celebrated medical career.

His MGH residency led to teaching and research fellowships at that hospital and at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, according to Harvard. At the institute, his “early interest in pulmonary medicine preceded a groundbreaking career in endocrinology,” Harvard said in a statement.

His 1967 book “Abnormal Sexual Development” is credited with proposing the first classification system for abnormal sexual development and praised for its “usefulness across medical disciplines,” according to the school’s statement.

The book “brought together genetics and endocrinology and helped give shape to a new field,” the statement said.

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“His humanity, generosity of spirit and interdisciplinary eloquence helped make generations of us who we are today, with dedication to continue paying his legacy forward,” said Edward M. Hundert , the school’s current dean for medical education.

Federman was a member of the Institute of Medicine, which is now known as the National Academy of Medicine, a past chairman of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a past president of the American College of Physicians, and a founding editor of Scientific American Medicine.

Federman died on Wednesday. He is survived by two daughters, Lise Federman , and Carolyn Zaucha , a son-in-law Albert, and three grandchildern. His late wife, Elizabeth, whom he met during his time at MGH, died in 2008.

The school did not give a cause of death.

Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.