Former hospital chief of staff dies at age 90

Dr. Robert H. Moser, who served as Maui Memorial Hospital’s chief of staff in 1973, died Aug. 6 in Arizona, said his surviving son, Jonathan Moser of Carmel, N.Y.

Robert Moser was 90 years old when he lost his fight with pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Tucson, Ariz.

Another son, Dr. Steven Moser, was a well-known Maui physician, community activist and sportsman. He died March 13, 2005, at his Wailuku residence. He was 55.

Robert Moser graduated from Georgetown University Medical Center in 1948.

According to his son, Moser was “a major force in improving the training and development of young doctors in the Army Medical Corps.

“His innovative teaching techniques permeated all Army teaching hospitals,” Jonathan Moser said. “Subsequently he wrote a book on how to establish and maintain internal medicine teaching programs in academic health centers.”

In 1959, NASA selected Moser as one of the original medical flight controllers for the space agency’s Mercury program. He monitored the physiological and psychological performance of astronauts during orbital flight.

Moser was chief of medicine at a number of Army medical centers, including Walter Reed in Washington, D.C.; William Beaumont Hospital in El Paso, Texas; and Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, his son said.

“From the start of his career, (he) made service to his country and his profession a guiding principle,” Jonathan Moser said. “Scarcely out of medical school and starting his residency at Georgetown University Hospital as an Army reservist, Capt. Moser was called up to organize one of the first ‘MASH’ (Mobile Army Surgical

Hospital) units in the newly declared Korean War.”

Moser also wrote several medical reference books, some still in use today. He was one of the first physician/writers to deal with the problem of drug-induced diseases, and his autobiography, “Past Imperfect,” remains “a classic account of an adventurous life in medicine,” his son said.

In 1969, Moser moved to Maui to begin private practice in internal medicine. He also worked for several years with doctors at the Hansen’s disease settlement at Kalaupapa.

Moser became the editor-in-chief and director of the Division of Scientific Publications for the Journal of the American Medical Association in the early 1970s. Under his leadership, the journal published its first Spanish language edition and began arrangements for French and Italian versions.

From 1977 to 1986, Moser served as the executive vice president of the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia. In the 1980s, he became director of medical affairs for Monsanto’s NutraSweet Division, a position from which he retired to the mountains of northern New Mexico in the 1990s.

Not content with total retirement, Moser and his wife established a medical consulting company, and for seven years traveled around the world to establish networks of medical experts in varying specialties for several large corporations, his son said.

In addition to his son, Moser is survived by his wife, Linda, and four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to The Animal League of Green Valley.