Morris Green, MD: 1967 -1987

Morris Green, third chair of pediatricsDr. Morris Green was named Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the first Physician-in-Chief of the hospital in 1967. He served in these roles until 1987. He was named the Perry W. Lesh Professor of Pediatrics of Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Green introduced the concept that psycho-social elements played a significant role in determining a child's medical needs. He stressed the importance of understanding the life patterns of a family, and taught this insight to thousands of medical students, residents, community physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals all over the United States. He noted that about twenty percent of the patients in a typical middle class practice had psychosocial as well as physical problems. In areas of poverty, this figure jumped to approximately fifty percent. He invented the concept of family centered care before the term existed and also originated the phrase, the “vulnerable child syndrome.”

In 1968, the number of department faculty had decreased to four – Dr. Green, Dr. Meiks, and Dr. Segar in General Pediatrics, and Dr. Don Girod in Cardiology. During the subsequent 20 years, the faculty grew to 45 members of the Department of Pediatrics. New Sections were developed and Directors were named, including Dr. James Wright – Endocrinology, Dr. Don Girod – Cardiology, Dr. Edwin Gresham – Neonatology, Dr. Carl Trygstead – Nephrology, Dr. Murray Passo – Rheumatology, Dr. Howard Eigen – Pulmonology and Critical Care, Dr. John Ryan –Infectious Diseases, Dr. Ira Brandt – Metabolism/Genetics, Dr. Marilyn Bull – Developmental Pediatrics, Dr. Joe Fitzgerald – Gastroenterology, Dr. JoAnn Cornet – Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Don Orr – Adolescent Medicine, and Dr. Sterling Garrard – Child Development. Dr. John Heubi was appointed as the first full-time faculty in Pediatrics at Wishard Hospital. A former pediatrician in Indianapolis, he had a wealth of knowledge in the field of general pediatrics and became one of the department’s honored teachers.

During Dr. Green’s tenure, the number of residents increased from four to fifty-four. The first appointed chief resident was Dr. Virginia Wagner. A combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric Residency was instituted and eventually became the largest in the country.

A new hospital addition which opened in 1971 included innovations such as a Pediatric Burn Unit, the Parent Care Unit, Child Life Services, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with individual rooms and a Pediatric Renal Dialysis Unit. In 1986, an even larger hospital addition ($56 million) opened and included a Chronic Infant Care Unit (the Nurture Center) which served as a model for similar units in children’s hospitals across the country. Included were modern patient units, expanded intensive care units, 14 operating rooms, state-of-the-art imaging facilities and, for the first time, a cafeteria.

Morris Green was born on May 27, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. He was the son of Coleman and Rebecca (Oleinick) Green. He earned his AB degree from Indiana University in 1942 and his Doctor of Medicine from Indiana University in 1944. He completed a residency and served as an Instructor at the University of Illinois College Of Medicine. Dr. Green was an Assistant Professor at Yale University from 1952-1957 at which time he was recruited by Dr. Lyman T. Meiks. He joined the faculty at Indiana University in August 1957. Still active with his teaching, writing and seeing patients after stepping down from the chair, Dr. Green was asked to serve as Commissioner of Health for the State of Indiana from 1990-91. He died on August 13, 2013 at the age of 91.

Assistant to Dr. Green: Mary Ann Underwood

Throughout his time as chair, Dr. Green was supported by his long-time assistant, Mary Ann Underwood. Mary Ann Underwood joined Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics at Riley Hospital in 1957 and after her retirement in 2006, she continued to work for the hospital on a part-time basis, a record of service totaling to over 60 years. Mary Ann worked alongside Dr. Green as secretary, administrative assistant, and coordinator of the residency programs and post graduate medical education planning. She collaborated with Indiana University on dedication and special events on the Indianapolis campus and coordinated Riley Hospital’s hallmark Child Care Conference for pediatricians for 44 years. Mary Ann introduced hundreds of donors, luminaries, international visitors, and physicians to Riley Hospital and traveled Indiana speaking to groups on behalf of Riley. Appointed Physician and Community Relations Coordinator by Dr. Richard Schreiner, who succeeded Dr. Green, he later named Mary Ann as Physician Liaison Visitor to pediatricians throughout Indiana. Generations of Indiana pediatricians know “Mary Ann” from Riley Hospital. In 1987, Mary Ann made history as a woman to be part of the first chartered Kiwanis Club in Indiana with women members. She later became the first woman to chair a committee for the Indiana Kiwanis District. Regarded as the Hospital’s ex-officio historian, Mary Ann has led efforts to protect and preserve many hospital photographs, stories, and artifacts.