Henry Appelman has been on this earth since late 1935. He grew up to be a pathologist, not by virtue of anything preordained, but by sheer chance. He needed a job to pay his room and board while he was in his second year of medical school, and the pathology department at the University of Michigan happened to offer research fellowships for second year students that paid $600 a year, enough for almost all the living expenses in the 1958-59 academic year. He had no clue what pathology was all about, but he found himself in a department with a bunch of enthusiastic and interesting professors and residents, all of whom were having a ball practicing pathology. In fact they were having far more fun than any members of any other department in the medical school, so Appelman decided to enter the field of pathology for the fun. It was a fabulous choice, and it has been fun for the past 45 years since he finished his residency and started to earn an honest buck doing what he enjoyed. In fact, there are days when he feels guilty that he is getting paid for doing something that he loves.
The pathology department at the University of Michigan had a strong tradition of teaching excellence when Appelman arrived, so it was expected of him that he would teach a lot, teach with enthusiasm and teach effectively. He learned that effective teaching involved a combination of facts and entertainment, with the facts necessary for expanding the students' database, while the entertainment was intended to keep them awake and interested while their database was expanding. This approach seemed to have worked, since he has had over 260 invitations to give lectures and seminars, and he has been a visiting professor 47 times. Of course, Appelman did not accomplish all this without help. He was fortunately to be closely associated with some of the most extraordinary teachers in pathology, especially gastrointestinal pathology, over the past 40 years, especially Harvey Goldman and Rodger Haggitt. These two teaching giants had their own approaches to pathology education, a considerable amount of which Appelman borrowed (actually stole) over the years in hopes that his own approaches would improve. This bit of educational larceny served him well. It always pays to learn from, and steal from, those who have succeeded. With this help, Appelman has won several teaching awards from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, including its Distinguished Service Award from the Commission on Continuing Education in 1999, and its 2006 H. P. Smith Award for Distinguished Pathology Educator. He was also honored by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology as its Maude Abbott lecturer for 2010.
Mentoring the kids in pathology has always been one of Appelman's passions. He was lucky to have fabulous mentors during his residency and early academic career who taught him and advised him and who
helped him to succeed professionally. He hoped to pass on some of this teaching, advising and professional help to the residents and junior faculty in his department, and even to the youngsters in other institutions. Whether this has worked is up to the mentees to determine. There are no awards for taking care of newcomers, although there should be. Actually, he has even attempted to mentor his children, but with much less success than with his trainees. The reason for this failure is probably genetic, rather than environmental.
Appelman has authored or co-authored over 135 papers predominantly involving the gut with a few brief forays into the liver. Most of these were written by various colleagues in other departments, but a few actually were reasonably good pathology studies. He wrote chapters on the gut, and for some strange reason, he continues to do so, even though his next academic promotion is to emeritus professor. He edited or co-authored four books, including the Fascicle on Tumors of the Esophagus and Stomach for the Atlas of Tumor Pathology series with the late Klaus Lewin, one of the founders of modern GI pathology. He was a member of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Dysplasia Morphology Study Group that invented the term "indefinite for dysplasia". He was a member of the Visiting Pathologist Panel of the Crohn's Colitis Foundation of America, the Scientific and Executive Committees of the Organization for Statistical Studies of Diseases of the Esophagus (OESO) based in Paris of which he is a past president, and the Lung and Esophagus Site Task Force of the American Joint Committee on Cancer, which this year put out the new AJCC cancer staging manual, successfully driving pathologist crazy worldwide. For the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, he has been a member of numerous committees, including both the Education Committee and the Council, and he is now, and will forever be, a past-president. For the USCAP he has also taught or co-taught two short courses, co-organized the 1988 Long Course on GI Pathology with Harvey Goldman, been a member of two sets of evening specialty panels and moderated two others. He has been a member of the editorial boards of three major pathology journals and remains a member of two of them.
He is known as Harlene's husband, she being an extraordinarily gifted educator and educational administrator, and he is the father and stepfather of five unusually accomplished although bizarre adult children, two of whom have equally accomplished but less bizarre wives. His most important personal achievement is indirectly producing three fabulous grandchildren and learning how to play their unusually complicated games. The senior Appelmans travel a lot, often to see these grandchildren. They also love the theater and music, classical and otherwise, which forces them to attend plays and concerts in endless numbers. They enjoy cooking and eating, so when they are not turning leftovers into delicacies of gourmet quality, they may be found in ethnic restaurants, some of which are unfortunately terrible. Finally, they have so little concept of what is truly good that they root for every University of Michigan athletic team, even the bad ones, and there have been quite a few of those recently.