Dr. Perry Black, a neurosurgeon who was a former chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Hahnemann University, died of heart failure Oct. 28 at his home in Chestnut Hill.
Dr. Black served as chairman of the neurosurgery department at Hahnemann (now Drexel University College of Medicine) from 1979 to 1994. He retired as a surgeon in 2005, but he continued his clinical, teaching and research activities at Hahnemann until 2017.
A Montreal native, Dr. Black completed his premedical and medical education at McGill University and interned at the Jewish General Hospital in that city, where he also received training in general surgery. In preparation for neurosurgery, he spent a year in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute and trained in neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. During his residency, he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), held in the Department of Physiology at Johns Hopkins.
Completing his residency, Dr. Black was appointed to the neurosurgical faculty at Johns Hopkins and rose to the rank of associate professor, also holding a teaching appointment in psychiatry. During his tenure at Johns Hopkins, he was director of the Child Head Injury Project, funded by the NIH. He was vice-chairman of The Johns Hopkins Medical School Council and was a member of the advisory board of the Medical Faculty.
Dr. Black’s research at Johns Hopkins was carried out as director of the Laboratory of Neurological Sciences, Friends Medical Science Research Center.
While at Hahnemann, where he also was professor of surgery, he organized a pain treatment program, as well as a program for the management of malignant brain tumors. His laboratory research at Hahnemann focused on animal models of human glioma, and he continued work on spinal cord injury.
For his research in spinal cord injury, he received the Volvo Award of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. In addition to his clinical and research publications, he edited three books: “Drugs and the Brain,” “Physiological Correlates of Emotion” and “Brain Dysfunction in Children: Etiology, Diagnosis and Management.”
Dr. Black was active in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons as chairman of the Scientific Program Committee, editor of the newsletter, member of the executive committee, and chairman of the International Committee. He was associate editor of Neurosurgery (official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons), and International Neurosurgery Editor of the Journal. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. In the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, he was on the Subcommittee on Continuing Education. Dr. Black served as president of the Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society.
Dr. Anil Nanda, professor of neurosurgery and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who had trained under Dr. Black, described him as a “man of equanimity.”
“He was a great teacher, benevolent and kind, and inspired us to do great, kind, and academic things,” Dr. Nanda said.
Dr. Black’s family said he was “a kind, generous and compassionate man who was loved and well-admired.”
Dr. Black vacationed in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, with his family and loved spending days boating and swimming in Lac Gelinas.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Phyllis; a son, Daniel; daughters Julie and Amy; and eight grandchildren. Funeral services will be private. – WF