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NIDCD mourns the loss of Dr. Gordon Hughes

February 23, 2015
Gordon Blackistone Hughes, M.D. 
Gordon Blackistone Hughes, M.D.

Gordon Blackistone Hughes, M.D., clinical trials coordinator for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) since 2008, died suddenly on February 15, 2015. He was 66.

A respected clinician, researcher, and colleague, Gordon previously served for 28 years (1980-2008) on the faculty of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders, in the Section of Otology and Neurotology before coming to the NIDCD. He was appointed section head in 2001.

During his time at the NIDCD, Gordon oversaw the development of a young but vigorous clinical trials program for the institute. He advised NIDCD staff and leadership and provided rigorous assistance to grant applicants in the support of clinical trials in the NIDCD mission areas of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. His intellect, expertise, and vision were second to none. His colleagues describe him as gentle, giving, and insightful.

“Gordon was invaluable to our institute, to the broader NIH community, and well beyond, to the research and clinical communities involved in the NIDCD mission areas,” said Judith Cooper, Ph.D., NIDCD deputy director and director of the Division of Scientific Programs. “He was a wonderful colleague and will be terribly missed.”

He was also a frequently quoted media spokesperson for the NIDCD, appearing on NPR and in articles in sources such as the New York Times, and, very recently, the Associated Press.

Gordon was born on June 25, 1948, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dartmouth College with an A.B. degree in 1970 and received his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1974. He then completed a fellowship in otology, neurotology, and skull base surgery at the E.A.R. Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee.

Throughout his career, Gordon received numerous honors and awards. He was a recipient of both the Honor Award (1987) and the Distinguished Service Award (1996) of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He was an active and engaged member in the clinical and research community, serving on innumerable committees of several societies, including the American Otological Society, American Triological Society, American Neurotology Society, Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Politzer Society, and others. In addition, he served on the editorial boards for Otology & Neurotology, The Laryngoscope, and Ear, Nose and Throat Journal.

He was most well-known for his hallmark textbook, Clinical Otology, now in its fourth edition and widely praised as being an excellent resource for all practicing and aspiring otolaryngologists and otologists.

Clinical practice and clinical research were Gordon’s loves, and he kept a current medical license. Gordon was a great contributor and supporter of research and an exemplary clinician. He had 72 peer reviewed publications in his field, and numerous book chapters, editorials, and presentations.

Beyond otology and clinical research, Gordon was very dedicated to his family and his heritage. He recently completed a forthcoming book, The Blackistones of Maryland Do Well Doubt Not, on the family history of the Blackistone family. He was an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Avenue, Maryland. He shared his love of the water and the game of soccer with many friends, family, and colleagues.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Myra, their son, Gordon Jr., his older brother, Mifflin, and his twin brother, Gerry.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to: All Saints Episcopal Church, Oakley Road, Avenue, MD 20609. 

Last Updated Date: 
April 11, 2016