In Memoriam: Aviva Lynn Katz
by Margaret R. Moon, MD, MPH
Aviva Katz, MD, MA, passed away on January 17, 2018. A strong and insightful voice for the ethical care of children and families, she was a shining light in the worlds of pediatric surgery and bioethics.
Her educational and academic accomplishments took her to the pinnacle of pediatric ethics leadership. Dr. Katz was born in Brooklyn, graduated summa cum laude from CUNY-City College, and received her MD degree from
Mount Sinai School of Medicine (AOA). She later completed a Master of Arts degree in bioethics from the University of Pittsburgh.
On the national stage, she served as Chair of the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics (where I served with her). She also was the Chair of the Ethics and Advocacy Committee for the American Pediatric Surgical Association, and was an active member of both the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (where she was appointed just last year to the HCEC Certification Commission).
At the local level, Dr. Katz was an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and was an attending surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She served as the Director of the Consortium Ethics Program (UPitt) and the Ethics Consultation Service (Children’s Hospital). She was a Vice Chair of the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board.
She is survived by her family, of whom she was immensely proud, including her husband, Daniel Weiner, MD and their four children, Gabe, Sam, Channah, and Shoshana. She was active in her community as a mentor and educator. She was an avid figure skater, and always ready with a funny story about her exploits on the ice.
Aviva was a staunch ally of children and families. She was a fearless advocate for bioethics in clinical practice. Her intelligence and quick wit kept ideas flowing. Her generosity of character and warm good humor made her a pleasure to work with. She will be greatly missed.
by Mary E. Fallat, MD
We were all rooting for you
Your proud but quiet determination
Slowly conquering the enemy
Only to be struck down by a new assailant
Dignity confronting unfairness
The pediatric surgery and pediatric bioethics communities lost a bright light with the passing of Dr. Aviva Katz on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. A native New Yorker, Aviva became a pediatric surgeon, was on faculty at Thomas Jefferson University, and had a clinical practice at A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children. In 2006, she and her husband Dr. Daniel Weiner moved their family (Gabe, Sam, Channah, and Shoshana) to Pittsburgh, where Aviva became an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Aviva in Hebrew means “innocent.” She was loved and respected by colleagues, patients and their families. She was insightful with a quick wit and was a staunch advocate for the rights of children and their families. Colleagues remember her polite but dogged efforts to represent the bioethics perspective on responding to immunization refusals, determined in the face of much opposition. She mentored young women with new or expected children who were worried about creatively balancing home and career. Her contributions and engagement through bioethics were particularly important when she could not continue with the physical demands of practicing pediatric surgery. Her virtual relationships demonstrated the power of connection that we gain from participation in our professional organizations.
Aviva was down to earth. She was a mother, a pediatric surgeon, an advocate, an ethics scholar, and a patient herself, balancing all of the things that life presents. She loved talking about her family and their accomplishments. She was active in her community as a coach for the science Olympiad and Odyssey of the Mind and presented programs in her school district on issues related to medicine and ethics. She even took up figure skating as an adult while raising her kids, speaking to her capacity to juggle many priorities with ease, skating again during the recent holidays when her health permitted. Although small in stature, she could hold her own against anyone.
Aviva, we will miss you.