AASLD acknowledges the passing of esteemed member and fellow, Joseph R. Bloomer, MD, FACP, FAASLD. Dr. Bloomer was a distinguished physician-scientist and leader in the study of liver disease. He passed away on December 22, 2021, from complications related to Alzheimer's Disease.
A widely acclaimed teacher, accomplished researcher, and compassionate clinician, Dr. Bloomer was Director of the UAB Liver Center and Professor of Medicine and Genetics from 1995 until his retirement in 2016. Upon his retirement he was honored to be named Professor Emeritus of Medicine by the University's Board of Trustees in recognition of his distinguished served to the UAB School of Medicine. Dr. Bloomer was a pioneer in hepatology research and committed to collaboration to advance the diagnosis and treatment of porphyria, a rare group of hereditary diseases in which substances build up in the body causing liver, nerve and/or skin damage. He received his initial research grant from NIH/NIDDK in 1976 to study porphyria and his research remained funded until he retired in 2016.
During his exemplary career, Dr. Bloomer's translational and clinical research resulted in the publication of 156 original manuscripts and 68 book chapters and reviews. Dr. Bloomer was a past president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and received the AASLD Distinguished Service Award in 2009 in recognition of his leadership and advancements in liver disease. He was also honored to be named a member of the AASLD Inaugural Class of Fellows in 2014 for his prominence and influence in the study of liver disease. His additional notable professional memberships included the American College of Physicians, American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians and the American Clinical and Climatological Association from which he received the Theodore E. Woodward Award. He was a founding member of the Porphyrias Rare Disease Clinical Research Consortium and honorary member of the American Porphyrias Expert Collaborative. His outstanding reputation as a visionary in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology resulted in his appointment to membership on numerous editorial and advisory boards. Raised in Rockville, Indiana Dr. Bloomer graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Case Western Reserve Medical School. After completing his residency in medicine at the University of California Hospital in San Francisco, Dr. Bloomer served as a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Upon completion of a hepatology fellowship at Yale University he joined their medical faculty where he was chosen to be an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Bloomer served as Director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, and in 1995 was recruited to join UAB to establish the UAB Liver Center. Dr. Bloomer was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. He is survived by Anne - the love of his life and wife of 56 years, their daughter Jennifer Bloomer Jeans, MD and her husband Peter and grandchildren Kendra, Lauryn, and Lindsay Jeans, and Maya Bloomer. He is also survived by his siblings Judith (Cris) Bloomer, John (MaryAnne) Bloomer, and Rebecca (Jim) Kettering. He was preceded in death by his son Jeffrey Neil Bloomer, parents Richard Bloomer, MD and Betty Glore Bloomer, and brother Richard Bloomer, Jr.
The quintessential example of an academic medical faculty member, Dr. Bloomer was highly respected for his excellence as a clinician, teacher, and researcher. His quiet determination, humility and kindness inspired everyone around him. While he will be deeply missed, Dr. Bloomer's contributions to the study of liver disease and the UAB Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology will continue to have a far-reaching impact. A memorial celebration of Dr. Bloomer's life will be held in Summer, 2022. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the UAB Liver Center Foundation in Joe's memory to UAB Liver Center 1720 2nd Avenue South, BDB 398, Birmingham, AL 35294 or online at UAB. Remembrances may be shared at Legacy.com.
Editor’s note: Excerpts of Dr. Bloomer’s obituary were retrieved from an online remembrance. His obituary was originally published in full by The Birmingham News from Dec. 24 to Dec. 31, 2021.