March 26, 1999

Gastroenterology pioneer Dr. Harrison Shull dies at 90

Gastroenterology pioneer Dr. Harrison Shull dies at 90


Dr. Harrison Shull Sr.

Dr. Harrison J. Shull Sr., clinical professor of Medicine, emeritus, and architect of the division of Gastroenterology at Vanderbilt, died earlier this week at the age of 90.

As a field of study, gastroenterology – the investigation of diseases of the digestive system – was considered a visionary form of specialty medicine when Dr. Shull began studying it in the 1940s. In 1947, he helped establish Vanderbilt's first division of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Shull received both his undergrate degree, in 1931, and medical degree, in 1934, from Vanderbilt.

During World War II, Dr. Shull was a physician in the Medical Corps, where he served with Dr. Hugh Morgan, who later became chair of Medicine at Vanderbilt and was instrumental in bringing Dr. Shull to Nashville following the war.

As a Colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Shull was awarded the Legion of Merit and served in the Office of the Surgeon General as assistant to chief consultant in medicine from 1942-1945.

Following his fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Shull came to Vanderbilt. Throughout his tenure here he was recognized for his expertise in the field of Gastroenterology.

In 1974, Vanderbilt recognized his contributions with the formation of the Harrison J. Shull Sr. Lectureship in Gastroenterology, awarded annually to an outstanding physician in the field.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Cavert Shull; two daughters, Ann Lauterbach and Lynn Perry; a son, Dr. Harrison J. Shull Jr.; two sisters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.