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Biographical Sketch of the NIDCD Director

September 13, 2011


Photo of Dr. James B. Snow, Jr.
James B. Snow, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Snow became the first NIDCD director in February 1990. He is responsible for planning, implementation and evaluation of institute programs to conduct and support biomedical research, research training, and public health information in human communication.

He received his M.D. cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1956. He served his internship in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and his residency and training in otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Beginning in 1960, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for 2 years. He returned to his home state of Oklahoma and began work at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center where he rose to professor and head of the Department of Otolaryngology.

In 1972, Dr. Snow moved to Philadelphia to become professor and chairman of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human Communication at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He was the medical director of the Smell and Taste Center and the Speech and Hearing Center of the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and served as the principal investigator of the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Clinical Research Center. He held hospital appointments at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Graduate Hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital and the Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.

During the past 30 years, he has specialized in communication disorders. He has published more than 175 articles, books, and abstracts about his specialty area and research findings, which include studies on blood flow in the inner ear, radiation therapy and surgery of cancer of head and neck, and the chemical senses.

Dr. Snow was a 1970 recipient of the Regents' Award for superior teaching at the University of Oklahoma, held a consulting professorship at the Shanghai Second University of Medical Sciences in China in 1985, was elected honorary fellow of the Japan Broncho-Esophagological Society, and received the Golden Award of the International Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Societies in 1989. In 1991, he was elected to the Society of Scholars of the Johns Hopkins Unviersity, and in 1993 he received the distinguished Achievement Award of the Deafness Research Foundation.

As chairman of the education committee of the International Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies, he has fostered the establishment of national systems of accreditation of training and specialist certification in otorhinolaryngology on a worldwide basis. He has served on the editorial board of Chemical Senses and as editor of the Transactions of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, the Transactions of the American Laryngological Association and the American Journal of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Snow is a member of numerous professional societies including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American Neurotology Society, the American Otological Society, the Association for Chemoreceptive Sciences, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His activities in organized medicine have included service on the council on scientific affairs of the American Medical Association, as a regent of the American College of Surgeons and as a director of the American Board of Otolaryngology.

He has served as president of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, the Society of University Otolaryngologists-Head and Neck Surgeons, and the American Laryngological Association.

Throughout his career Dr. Snow has taught medical students and resident physicians and carried out research. In his practice, he has dealt with clinical problems of deafness, dizziness, loss of the senses of smell and taste and the disorders of voice, speech and language. His administrative, clinical and research experience in the areas served by the institute, namely, hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language, provides guidance to the development of a strong national infrastructure to support research in human communication.

Last Updated Date: 
September 13, 2011