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Reinhold W. Stockbrugger (1941–2018)

Drenth, Joost, P.H.a; Lebrec, Didierb

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: April 2018 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 496–497
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001110
Obituary

aDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

bService d’hepatologie Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France

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The journal wishes to pass along the sad news that Dr. Reinhold W. Stockbrugger, the Editor of this Journal, died Friday 31 January 2018. He was 77 years old. We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Reinhold. He will be greatly missed.

He was an enthusiastic and a reliable co-editor and working with him was a great pleasure. He was very involved in the Journal and was always willing to participate in efforts to improve the quality of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, with suggestions and new ideas such as giving a greater support to publications from young investigators.

Reinhold possessed the spirit of a true European citizen and having lived in at least five European countries he was fluent in Italian, German, Swedish, Dutch, English, and French.

He is best known for his activities on the European stage, one of which was the editorship of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a position that he held from April 2008 until his untimely death in 2018.

Reinhold was born on 22 August 1941 in Bunde, Germany. He studied medicine in Münster, Germany and Uppsala, Sweden, and graduated from Munster in 1969. He then went to Sweden (Sahlgrenska Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden) to be trained in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Joost met with Reinhold in 1989 in Maastricht as a student member part of the committee that was to select the first professor of Gastroenterology at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. He brought an impressive resume with experience as postgraduate clinical fellow with Dr. Peter B. Cotton at the Middlesex Hospital in London and as a consultant at the University of Gothenburg. At that time he was the Acting Medical Director of rehabilitation clinic ‘Marbachtal’ in Bad Kissingen (Germany). He was convincing, energetic and enthusiastic, and simply the best candidate. He started in Maastricht in 1990 as the Professor of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and did so until retirement in 2006.

He was a great networker and one of his early achievements was the development of a population-based study on inflammatory bowel disease in South-Limburg, the Netherlands. This is an ongoing study that has included more than 2500 incident patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and has resulted in numerous papers.

In Maastricht, Reinhold became acquainted with problem-based learning (PBL). Here, medical students use previous information and their experience as well as their ability to think rationally to assess a clinical problem with the aim to learn. Reinhold became a great proponent of PBL. He initiated exchange programmes between Maastricht and Ferrara and supported the introduction of a PBL program in the Ferrara Medical School (Italy).

Reinhold accessed the European stage in 2001 when he became the councilor of the board of the Association des Sociétés National European et Mediterranean de Gastroenterologie (ASNEMGE). He immediately took the initiative to organize a 1-day ‘research corner’ at the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) week 2001 in Amsterdam and since then that has been a part of the UEG program. He designed this Young Investigator Meeting course to provide young physicians with the tools to do clinical research. His passion for research and education led to the UEG summer school that has become one of the educational crown jewels of the UEG.

The Young Investigator Meeting channelled Reinhold’s passion for research and education. He was witty and during one of his talks on data storage he captivated the audience with his story that he had lost his PhD thesis just before it was to be printed. He had put the stack of papers on the top of his car, got in the car, and then drove off. As there was no copy (no computers in 1976), he was at a loss and 4 years of work gone. Fortunately, the next day a lady walked into the clinic with his lost thesis, thankfully complete, and he was able to publish his PhD thesis on ‘Aspects of chronic atrophic gastritis – with special reference to serum gastrin and antral gastrin cells’ in 1976.

In 2009, he left ASNEMGE with the ‘ASNEMGE Distinguished Service Award’ and was elected chair of the public affairs committee of the UEG. There he campaigned for a screening program for colorectal cancer in all European countries. In Maastricht, he had designed a colonoscopy screening program for hospital employees and witnessed the benefits firsthand. As a UEG ‘Public Affairs Committee’ chair, he traveled around Europe, meeting with clinicians, patients, and politicians. His campaign efforts paid off and many European countries introduced a formal colorecral cancer screening screening program.

Reinhold worked continuously for the greater good of European Gastroenterology. In one of the interviews he gave, he confided that his unfulfilled ambition was to keep working until the age of 85 years. It is unfortunate that we have to miss such a unique physician, a scientist, a teacher, and editor.

Our thoughts are with Graziana his wife, and his children Stephanie and Philip. He will be greatly missed.

Joost P.H. Drenth

Didier Lebrec

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Service d’hepatologie Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France

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