Jean Holowach Thurston (1917-2017)

Jean Holowach Thurston
Jean H. Thurston, 1961

Pediatric neurologist Jean Holowach Thurston received her medical degree from the University of Alberta in 1941 and began a fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics in 1945. In 1949 Thurston became an instructor in the department; she was promoted to assistant professor in 1954 and to associate professor in 1965. She was appointed professor of Pediatrics in 1975 and professor of Neurology (Neurochemistry) in 1982. Thurston became professor emeritus in 1987. In 1950 she founded the Pediatric Convulsion Clinic and served as its director until 1962. In addition, Dr. Thurston served as a consultant in pediatrics for the State of Missouri Rheumatic Fever Program from 1949 to 1954 and served as director for the State of Missouri Premature Program from 1949 to 1961.

Dr. Thurston had been at the forefront of pediatric neurology and childhood seizure disorders beginning in the 1950s. She and her colleagues performed the first systematic studies of anticonvulsant withdrawal in infants and children and developed the guidelines that serve as the basis for anticonvulsant withdrawal in children to the present time. In recognition of her contribution in the development of the careers of academic pediatricians and fostering advances in pediatric research, Thurston was awarded the Fomon-Peterson Founders Award from the Midwest Society for Pediatric Research in 1990. Thurston received the first “life-time” achievement award from the Child Neurology Society in 2004 for her contributions to the field of child neurology.

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