Avrum B. Organick, MD was called to his forefathers from his home near Red Lake, Arizona, on December 17th, 2007 after a lengthy battle against prostate cancer. He was surrounded by his beloved wife and devoted family. Born in Brooklyn, New York on July 16, 1926, Dr. Organick received his Bachelor of Science degree from City College of New York and his Medical Degree from Cornell University Medical College (also in New York City) in 1951. After specializing in Internal Medicine and Clinical Studies, he came to the Indian Hospital at Fort Defiance, Arizona in July, 1954. It was at this time that Dr. Organick met Ida Gail, 1953-1954's reigning Miss Navajo. They married in November of 1955 and celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on November 10th, 2007 with their four children and five grandchildren. While working in Fort Defiance in cooperation with a research group at Cornell, and working with Navajo tuberculosis patients, he helped pioneer new treatments for tuberculosis. These treatments involved the use of new and much-needed anti-tuberculosis drugs, many of which are still in use today. Over the next ten years, Dr. Organick continued his research in the treatment of patients with drug resistant tuberculosis in the different hospitals with which he was affiliated. Dr. Organick enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1959 and served at Brooks Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, where he headed the tuberculosis unit. He achieved the rank of Major in the Army Medical Corps and completed his military service in 1967. From 1967 to 1977, he was Director of Medical Services at Denver General Hospital, where he developed new teaching methods for the training of residents in Internal Medicine who were studying at the University of Colorado. For these and other efforts, he was promoted to Full Professor of Medicine in 1974. Dr. Organick returned to New Mexico in 1977 where he established a private practice in Albuquerque which specialized in Internal Medicine and Diseases of the Chest. After thirteen years, Dr. Organick closed his Albuquerque practice but remained a practicing physician, working at Presbyterian Urgent Care for a number of years. A lifelong love of the Arts led Dr. Organick to pursue a Masters Degree in creative writing at the University of New Mexico at the age of 69. He received his MA in Creative Writing in 1996. He was the author of a number of published short stories and books including Blessings, A Scandal in Yvonsk and Canyon Boy. He was also a regular contributor to the Gallup Independent's Spiritual Perspectives column. Dr. Organick and his wife, Ida, returned to the Navajo Nation in 1998. Before finally retiring in 2005, Dr. Organick served for seven years as Primary Care Physician at the Tsaile Health Center in Tsaile, AZ. In the year of his retirement he was the proud recipient of the Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director's Award for Outstanding Health Care Provider. Dr. Organick is survived by his wife, Ida Gail Organick and four children, Desbah Pilette, Aliza Organick, Shoshana Organick and Benjamin Organick. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Shea and Aja Longi and Tyler, Treven and Tanner Pilette. A memorial service is scheduled to take place at the Alumni Memorial Chapel on the UNM campus in Albuquerque on January 18th, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center will be appreciated.
Published on: Sun December 23, 2007