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A Remembrance of Dr. Frank Marcus, Champion for Heart-Healthy Communities

 Dr. Frank Marcus, a public health champion

Dr. Frank Marcus, a cardiologist, and a public health champion, recently passed away.  We mourn the loss of this great man whose legacy will live on in the people and programs he initiated and nurtured to build healthier communities.

All of us in the college were saddened to learn that Dr. Frank Marcus, a longtime supporter of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH) and a public health champion, passed away in December.

An innovative cardiologist and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the College of Medicine here at the University of Arizona, Dr. Marcus was a pioneer in cardiovascular research and heart health. His impressive career with the University of Arizona Health Sciences Sarver Heart Center led him to understand the root causes of many heart problems, which led him to public health.

Frank realized that public health education could change behaviors and improve health for so many patients, so he provided the funding and direction to establish the Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative in collaboration with the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

The Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative provides obesity prevention health education to school children in the Tucson area, through a variety of programs, with the goal of nurturing healthier kids who will grow up to be adults with healthier hearts. In recognition of his contribution to public health, Frank was one of the Honorees for MEZCOPH’s 20th Anniversary celebration in 2020.

Dr. Frank Marcus, wife Janet and daughter Ann Lapidus with Dean Iman Hakim
Dr. Frank Marcus and his wife Janet
Dr. Frank Marcus and Donna Knight

Born in Haverstraw, NY, in 1923, Frank was a top student from humble circumstances, yet he did not gain admission into medical school when he first applied. Instead, he found a job doing medical research, then with persistence and his research experience, he was ultimately accepted into medical school and graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1953. Dr. Marcus served as Chief of Cardiology at the Georgetown University Medical Service, D.C. General Hospital from 1960-1968. In January 1969, he became Professor and Chief of the Section of Cardiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and in 1982 he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Medicine and held this Endowed Chair until 1999. He was certified in the American Board of Internal Medicine and in the Subspecialty Board of Cardiovascular Disease.

Frank was always passionate about the prevention of obesity as a clear path to improve health outcomes overall, and he brought that passion to focus on preventing childhood obesity here in Tucson where his support has changed lives. The Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative program that Dr. Marcus began, coordinated by the college’s Zuckerman Family Center for Prevention and Health Promotion, also trains the next generation of public health students in health promotion, giving them experience that will benefit Arizona well into the future.

Over the years, Dr. Marcus published more than 300 manuscripts, contributed more than 60 book chapters, served on the editorial boards of 19 journals and held an active position on more than 30 medical committees.

Among his many honors and awards, Dr. Marcus has received the Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching at Georgetown University College of Medicine, the Award of Excellence from the cardiology section of the UArizona College of Medicine, the Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians, the Outstanding Reviewer Award of the American College of Cardiology, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Boston University School of Medicine, the Masters Clinician Award from the American Heart Council on Clinical Cardiology and, most recently, the Pioneer in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology Award from the Heart Rhythm Society and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society.

Dr. Marcus will be remembered and missed as a health leader who understood the value and impact that public health programs can have on communities. His career exemplifies the best in medicine, health care, and education. Truly a public health champion, we feel profound gratitude for Frank’s support of the college and public health in general, and for all he gave to improve health and wellness in Arizona.

Memorial Service

The College of Public Health, the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, and the Sarver Heart Center are planning a memorial service to celebrate the life of Dr. Frank Marcus at the Health Sciences Innovation Building on Monday, February 13 from 5:30-7:30pm.

Learn more and register at

More About Dr. Marcus

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