In Memoriam: Dr. Daniel Rowe, Founded the Yale Health Plan

Dr. Daniel Rowe, a founder of the Yale Health Plan — the first pre-paid university health maintenance organization (HMO) in the United States — and its director for two decades, died on July 8. He was 83 years old.

Rowe was professor emeritus of pediatrics and epidemiology and public health at Yale at the time of his death.

Throughout his long career as an administrator, Rowe was also a practicing pediatrician at the University Health Services Center. Before he became director of University Health Services, he served as director of the pediatric clinic at the Yale-New Haven Medical Center. He is also known for developing a model program for child protection in the United States.

Born on March 29, 1925, in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, Rowe graduated from the University of Chicago and earned his medical degree in 1948 from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he also completed his internship. He served in the Army during World War II and in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He was a pediatric resident at The Babies Hospital at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. He had a private practice and served as director of nurseries at Jefferson Medical College Hospital before coming to Yale in 1966 as assistant professor of pediatrics and associate director of the Pediatric Clinic at the Yale-New Haven Medical Center. He was named director of the clinic in 1967. While director, he developed the DART program for the detection and reporting of child abuse.

Rowe was named a full professor of pediatrics in 1970, the year he also became director of Yale University Health Services. He retired as director in 1990. In an interview with the Yale Bulletin & Calendar at the time of his retirement, he described how a University health care organization was a radical concept when first introduced.

“When we first opened, there were people who were calling us socialists at best and communists at worse because no other university had a pre-paid, group health-care program designed solely for its students, faculty and staff,” Rowe explained. “Other private corporations were considering similar employee health plans, but this was the first University-based HMO of its kind in the nation.”

Rowe earned a number of honors during his long career, including the Francis Gilman Blake Award for excellence in teaching in 1968. His professional affiliations included the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Pediatrics, the Ambulatory Pediatric Association and the American College Health Association.

The Yale physician is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jeanne Sevison Rowe; his four children, Dr. Laura R. Ment, associate dean for admissions and professor of pediatrics and neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, of New Haven; Nancy E. Braha of Haverford, Pennsylvania; Frances R. Rasmussen of Barrington, Rhode Island; and Dr. Daniel S. Rowe Jr. of Denver, Colorado. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Office of Medical Development for Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 7611, New Haven, CT 06519-0611, or to the Church of the Redeemer, 185 Cold Spring St., New Haven, CT 06511.

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