World-renowned pediatric radiologist had passion for teaching, learning

By Vanessa deGier

Hooshang Taybi, MD, MSc, former director of the Department of Radiology at Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland, died at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif., on August 7.  He was 86. 

Taybi, a world-renowned pediatric radiologist, retired from medical practice and teaching in 1994 after contributing 30 years of visionary leadership and medical service.  He leaves a legacy of outstanding mentorship and scientific contributions for pediatric radiology worldwide.

Born in Malayer, Iran, Taybi graduated from Tehran University School of Medicine in 1944. He practiced in his native country as a staff physician for two hospitals of the Ministry of Health from 1945-48.  He moved to the United States to attend New York University, where he earned a master of science degree in child psychiatry in 1954.

After a residency at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, Taybi became the director of the Department of Radiology at the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University.  He also served as director of the Section of Pediatric Radiology at Indiana University Medical Center before moving to San Francisco in 1964.  In addition, he served as clinical professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco for nearly 20 years. 

He and fellow colleagues are credited with identifying three developmental syndromes known in the medical literature as Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, otopalatodigital syndrome type I, and osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism Taybi-Linder type.

The author of more than 50 scientific papers and chapters in medical books, Taybi’s most significant contributions to medical literature include two well-respected texts, “Radiology of Syndromes, Metabolic Disorders, and Skeletal Dysplasias,” which is widely considered the most useful reference in Pediatric Radiology in the United States and abroad, and the “Handbook of Syndromes and Metabolic Disorders.” 

He was the president of the Society for Pediatric
Radiology from 1973-74 and received the Gold Medal of the Society for Pediatric Radiology in 1993.  Taybi also co-founded the Pacific Coast Pediatric Radiologists Association, which includes members from the western United States and Canada.  Taybi was a member of many medical organizations including the American College of Radiology and the John Caffey Society.  He also was an honorary member of the European Society of Pediatric Radiology, the Australasian Society of Paediatric Imaging, and the Society for Pediatric Radiology. Taybi traveled to several medical schools as a visiting professor or invited lecturer. In 1990, Children’s Hospital Oakland created the Hooshang Taybi, MD, Honorary Lectureship. 

“Those of us who knew him well recognize that Hooshang was much more than the sum total of his awards and accomplishments. It is safe to say that his passion for learning and teaching, his warmth and kindness to patients, staff, and colleagues, his integrity, and his generosity never ceased to amaze us,” said Ronald Cohen, MD, medical director, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Children’s Hospital Oakland.  “He was truly inspirational to the many people he touched throughout his life.”

After retirement from medical practice, Taybi directed his energy and talents to numerous hobbies. He learned to sew
and, subsequently, made many gifts for friends and colleagues, as well as making clothing for underprivileged children. Most recently, Taybi wrote his autobiography.  In it he included stories from his childhood and early medical career.

“He loved to give gifts; however, in our opinion, his greatest gift was how much he inspired others to recognize the value of scholarship, integrity, friendship, and compassion,” added Cohen.  “We will miss him greatly and will remember him forever.”

Taybi is survived by his wife, Alice, and his two sons, Paul and Claude. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that any contributions made in Taybi’s memory be made to the Society for Pediatric Radiology, c/o Jennifer Boylan at 1891 Preston White Drive, Reston, VA 20191 or Children’s Hospital & Research Center, 747 - 52nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609.