Dr. Harry A. Sultz, 97, former UB professor and dean was expert on the health care system | Featured Obituaries

Aug. 3, 1924 – May 11, 2022

Three years after he graduated from the University of Buffalo Dental School, Dr. Harry A. Sultz had to close his fledgling practice. Diagnosed with an eye condition called conical cornea, he was going blind.

He lost his sight entirely for three months before he was able to get a corneal transplant, but by that time he had laid the foundation for a new career by taking a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hospitals.

He went on to establish a dental practice serving the handicapped, then became a professor and dean at UB, where his accomplishments included starting the widely popular Mini-Medical School, teaching the basics of medical science to people outside the field.

Widely recognized as an expert on the workings of the American health care system, he died May 11 in Buffalo. He was 97.

Born in Buffalo, he attended School 30 and Lafayette High School, where he was a member of the football, track and rowing teams. He graduated from UB Dental School in 1947.

Serving patients with disabilities led him to help found the Niagara Frontier Vocational Rehabilitation Center, where he served as board president. He also helped start the Buffalo Citizens Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped and was its first chairman.

“I got to know Dr. William Mosher, the Erie County health commissioner,” Dr. Sultz told writer Joseph H. Radder in 2003 for an article in Living Prime Time magazine. “He encouraged me to get a degree in public health and work for him in the Health Department. I was ready.”

After completing his master’s degree in public health in 1962 at Columbia University, he became the Health Department’s research director and joined the UB Medical School faculty, teaching epidemiology and the organization of health care.

He also was director of its health services research program and was awarded more than $8 million in grants and contracts to study health care and ways to improve it. He often was consulted about developments in the health care system.

He was named dean of the School of Health Related Professions in 1979, serving for seven years, then returned to teaching social and preventive medicine.

He was a clinical assistant professor in the UB Department of Family Medicine and an adjunct professor of health systems management in the UB School of Management. He also chaired the UB Medical School’s Health Policy Council.

He brought the Mini-Medical School program to UB in 1997 and directed until 2002. “It’s two-thirds science and one-third theater,” he told Buffalo News reporter Stephen T. Watson.

He also helped start a center to help students seeking jobs in health care after graduation.

After becoming a professor and dean emeritus, he continued as an adjunct professor in the UB Law School. He hosted an eight-part radio series on health care in 2005.

He published more than 60 articles and was co-author of a popular textbook, “Health Care USA: Understanding Its Organization and Delivery,” written with Kristina M. Young and published in 1997. It now is in its tenth edition.

The New York State Public Health Association honored him with its Herman M. Biggs Award for lifetime achievement in 1994. The UB Dental Alumni Association presented him with its Alumni Award in 2000.

He and the former Beatrice Kaiser were married in 1946. She died in 2020.

Survivors include a son, Dr. Jerry; a daughter, Marne Goodrich; and two granddaughters.

A graveside service was held May 15 in Holy Order of the Living Cemetery, Cheektowaga.


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