March 10, 2006

Laurence Grossman, M.D., dies at 89

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Laurence Grossman, M.D.

Laurence Grossman, M.D., dies at 89

Laurence A. Grossman, M.D., clinical professor of Medicine in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine since 1966, died March 1 after collapsing at his home.

Dr. Grossman, 89, an internal medicine and cardiovascular disease specialist, was the first physician in Nashville to fully integrate his medical practice and his staff.

An alumnus of VU and VUSM, Dr. Grossman held teaching appointments at Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt and also helped establish Saint Thomas Health Services.

While serving as president of the Nashville Academy of Medicine in 1961, he led the movement to integrate the association, making Nashville one of the first cities in the South to have an integrated medical academy.

Dr. Grossman helped establish the Middle Tennessee Heart Association and was named president on both the local and state levels of the Tennessee Medical Association.

In addition to serving as past president of the Canby Robinson Association and the Vanderbilt Medical Alumni Association, he was as a member of the executive committee of the Vanderbilt Medical Center Board.

It was his time serving in the U.S. Army that reinforced the attitudes that would help Dr. Grossman shape the future of race relations in Nashville.

“I spent many years in the armed forces in World War II with black soldiers, and I said to myself, 'If the Lord was good enough to let me come back to my wife and children, there would be no segregated citizens in my life,” Dr. Grossman said in 1982 after receiving the National Conference of Christians and Jews award for promoting human relations in the community.

His list of humanitarian awards includes the Distinguished Human Right Service Award in 1987 and the Salt Wagon Award in 2000, deemed Meharry's most prestigious honor.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Grossman is survived by four daughters and four grandchildren.