Skip to main content

News / Articles

Dr. Hector Battifora served as the 4th President of PAMS

Maria Sanders | Published on 7/31/2023

Dr. Hector Battifora served as the 4th president of PAMS in 1977, holding the 4th Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois.  Dr. Battifora, was an internationally renowned and distinguished pathologist and medical professional.  He passed away peacefully at his home in Arcadia, CA on July 25, 2023, surrounded by his immediate family.  He was born December 11, 1930, in Lima, Peru, Dr. Battifora dedicated his life to the field of pathology and made significant contributions to medical research and education.

Dr. Battifora held a variety of distinguished positions throughout his career, serving as Chairman of the Department of Pathology at the City Of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA, from 1987 to 1997.

Most recently, Dr. Battifora served as Medical Director of Pathology Consultation Services. His expertise in mesothelioma was sought by national law firms focused on asbestos/toxic tort litigation.

He also served as Medical Director at Qualtek Molecular Laboratories and as National Pathology Consultant for PhenoPath Laboratories.

His academic appointments included Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Associate Professor and then Professor of Pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Battifora’s educational journey began in Lima, Peru, at the third oldest university in the Americas, the University of San Marcos, where he received his B.S. and M.D. degrees in 1957. Dr. Battifora emigrated to the United States where he completed his residency in Clinical and Anatomical Pathology at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He became Board Certified in both specialties shortly thereafter.

During an academic sabbatical in 1979, at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, Dr. Battifora focused on the novel and burgeoning area of molecular biology -- monoclonal antibodies and cell differentiation - under the tutelage of Nobel Prize recipient Renato Dulbecco.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Battifora made significant contributions to the field of anatomical pathology and cancer research. He received numerous grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and held multiple U.S. patents for his innovations related to multi-specimen tissue blocks and internal controls for immunohistologic procedures. His innovations greatly advanced the understanding of tumor classification and diagnosis, which helped revolutionize the field of surgical pathology. His lifelong contributions to pathology and academia resulted in his recognition by the University of Salamanca in Spain, where he was conferred with “Honoris Causa”, the highest academic award given by the fourth oldest university in the world.

Dr. Battifora’s decades of research led to his authoring and co-authoring scientific textbooks and hundreds of academic papers published in many prestigious journals, such as the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Applied Immnunohistochemistry, and Clinical Cancer Research. He also served on each of the journal’s editorial boards as editor and/or associate editor.

Dr. Battifora’s professional involvement extended beyond his clinical work and research. He was actively involved in professional societies, including the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, International Academy of Pathology, United States Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) where he served as President from 1994 to 1995, and the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Pathologists, where he served as President from 1992 to 1994. He gave lectures regarding various topics of his academic endeavors throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Although Dr. Battifora was both proud and grateful for the opportunities he was given as a U.S. citizen, he never forgot his immigrant roots. He was an active member and President of the Peruvian-American Medical Society (PAMS), a professional group dedicated to providing free medical care, equipment and education to the underserved communities throughout Peru.

Apart from his professional accomplishments, Dr. Battifora was known for his dedication to his family and his passion for opera and classical music. A true Renaissance Man, he excelled in cooking, archery, and photography. A fearless DIY enthusiast, he was self-taught in carpentry, furniture restoration, auto mechanics, plumbing, gardening and RC airplanes. As a young man he excelled in competitive rowing and competed in 4-man single oar sculls with his teammates, representing Club Regatas of La Punta in Callao, Peru.

Dr. Battifora is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Marina Battifora, his children, Daniel Battifora, Meilyn Battifora and Jenine Mathias, his sister Aida Mead, and his five grandchildren. His impact on the lives of his loved ones, friends, colleagues and students will never be forgotten.