Front Page

Previous Story

Next Story

NIH Record


Ceremony To Honor Memory of NICHD's Berendes

The friends, family and colleagues of Dr. Heinz Berendes will hold a celebration of the life of the late NICHD epidemiologist on Friday, June 18 at 3:30 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheatre, Bldg. 10. Berendes, who had a nearly 39-year career with NIH, died of prostate cancer May 6 at the age of 74.

"Dr. Berendes was an accomplished pediatrician, epidemiologist and researcher who made extremely important contributions to NICHD's programs in infant research as well as contraceptive safety and efficacy," said NICHD director Dr. Duane Alexander. "He was a good friend and colleague and I relied on him a great deal. We shall miss him."

Dr. Heinz Berendes

Berendes was director of NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research from 1991 through 1998 and was also an adjunct professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Before joining NICHD, he directed the Collaborative Perinatal Project, the largest study of pregnancy, labor and delivery in U.S. history.

"This landmark study produced hundreds of major research papers," said Dr. James L. Mills, chief of NICHD's pediatric epidemiology section. "After 40 years, it is still an important source of data for research in pregnancy and child development."

From 1972 to 1979, Berendes directed the activities of NICHD's Contraceptive Evaluation Branch. During this time, his group fostered research that demonstrated the safety of many modern contraceptives and identified some of the important side effects of contraceptive use.

Born in Dortmund, Germany, he received his medical degree from the University of Goettingen, where he also studied clinical psychology. In 1952, he received a doctor of medicine from the University of Munich. During the early 1950's, he practiced child psychiatry at the University of Goettingen and the University of Heidelberg. He immigrated to this country in 1953 and became a naturalized citizen in 1959.

After coming to the U.S., he undertook his internship and residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis. He also served as an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, and was in charge of the pediatric outpatient clinic at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. In 1972, he received a master's degree in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University.

Berendes began his NIH career in 1960 as assistant director of collaborative research at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (now NINDS) and later served as chief of the NINDS Perinatal Research Branch. He joined NICHD in 1973 as acting chief of the Fertility Regulating Methods Evaluation Branch in the Center for Population Research, and in 1974 became chief of the center's Contraceptive Evaluation Branch.

In 1979, he became director of the institute's Epidemiology and Biometry Research Program. He held this position until 1987, when he became associate director for prevention research, and later that year, director of the Prevention Research Program.

He was an expert skier who served on the ski patrol of his native Germany. He was also an enthusiastic distance runner.

Berendes is survived by his wife, Dr. Michelle Forman of NCI, and their son, David; by two children from a prior marriage, Christoph Berendes and Andrea Harmer; and by two grandchildren.

Up to Top