|Charles H. Rammelkamp, Jr., M.D.|
Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Jr., M.D., has made extensive and outstanding contributions in the fields of research, education and patient care.
Dr. Rammelkamp early work related to staphylococcal infections. He demonstrated the influence of a sulfonamide derivative on pathogenic staphylococci and reported the first penicillin- resistant strain of staphylococcus. He also contributed to the understanding of the treatment of staphylococcal disease, the role of staphylococcal infections, the epidemiology of staphylococcal infections in nurseries and the role of coagulase in the evolution of staphylococcal disease.
It was Dr. Rammelkamp who finally settled the issue that the streptococcus was, indeed, responsible for the permanent damage and disability of rheumatic fever by demonstrating that the damage could be prevented by eradicating the streptococcal infection. The verification of this cause and effect relationship brought about a complete change in the method of treating sore throats. Throat infections today are carefully cultured to identify the causative agent. If it proves to be streptococcus, the treatment that is now followed is the one that Dr. Rammelkamp perceived, tested clinically, and proved effective.
He was also among a small group of researchers who noted important epidemiologic, clinical and bacteriologic distinctions between rheumatic fever and acute glomerulonephritis. He and his group were the first to demonstrate the existence of strains of streptococci, which cause nephritis, whereas almost any strain could be associated with rheumatic fever.
Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Jr., earned his M.D. degree at the University of Chicago. Only two years later, in 1939, he came to national attention for his pioneering work at Harvard University in what was then the new field of antibiotics. At Boston University, he participated with Dr. Chester Keefer in research that launched penicillin as a miracle drug.
As a consultant to the Secretary of War, Dr. Rammelkamp was appointed to the Commission for Acute Respiratory Diseases; headed by Or. John Dingle, and joined a study group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. When Dr. Dingle came to Cleveland in 1946, Dr. Rammelkamp was one of five research authorities on respiratory diseases that he brought with him.
In Cleveland, the streptococcus became a focal point of his research interest. Dr. Rammelkamp opened the streptococcal disease laboratory at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming and commuted there frequently from Case Western Reserve University where he had been named professor of medicine. He and his group working at Warren Air Force Base demonstrated conclusively that adequate treatment of streptococcal throat infections can prevent the onset of rheumatic fever. This discovery sparked a world- wide program of rheumatic fever prevention.
In recognition of this work, Dr. Rammelkamp and the streptococcal disease laboratory received the Albert Lasker Group Award in 1954.
Dr. Rammelkamp has often and eloquently argued that city and county hospitals should serve as the clinical arena in which new equipment, new drugs, new therapies, new patient care programs are originated and evaluated. In such a role, community hospitals would provide a broader base for medical progress at lowest cost for all citizens and a center of continuing education for physicians. Indeed, he has been responsible for the introduction of innovative programs for educating students and physicians in training and has raised the level of care for patients by demonstrating the important relationship between teaching, research and good medical care.
At all times Dr. Rammelkamp has devoted the same energies to important medical organizations such as the American College of Physicians, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as many others. Indeed, he has served as President of the Infectious Disease Society of America, President of the Central Society for Clinical Research, Vice-President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Vice-President of the American Heart Association, President of the American Federation for Clinical Research, Vice-President of the American Epidemiology Society and as Governor and Regent of the American College of Physicians.