College of Science News
Andrew Baum, friend and mentor to many, dies at age 62
Andrew Baum spent only four years of his life in Texas, but he quickly took to the Lone Star State.
Dr. Baum, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Psychology at UT Arlington and director of the University’s Biosciences and Bioengineering Center, had spent most of his life in Maryland and Pennsylvania, building a distinguished career as an educator and researcher. But when his good friend Robert Gatchel - who had recently become chair of UT Arlington’s Department of Psychology - called in 2006 and asked him to come to UT Arlington, Dr. Baum and his wife, Carrie, decided to give Texas a try.
One of Gatchel’s selling points to Dr. Baum was the fact that his friend, who loved to wear cowboy boots, would have a much easier time finding new ones in Texas than he would in Pittsburgh, where Dr. Baum was a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Baum, who preferred to be called Andy, died Nov. 22 at age 62. Those who knew him remember him as compassionate, kind, a great mentor and researcher, and a giant in his field.
"Andy was a great scholar and a great friend," said psychology professor Paul Paulus, who was dean of the College of Science when Dr. Baum came to UT Arlington. "He accomplished so much in his career - so much elegant research, so many grants, books, publications, and awards. His breadth of knowledge was incredible. Yet what really stands out about Andy was how much he cared about those in his life - his family, his students, his many friends, his former colleagues, and his present colleagues."
Assistant professor of psychology Angela Dougall worked closely with Dr. Baum and had known and collaborated with him for over 18 years.
"During that time, he has been my mentor, my advocate, my co-investigator, and especially my friend," Dougall said. "I am intimately familiar with his research, and I can say that he was truly a visionary. This past week, I have talked with many of his former students, post-docs, colleagues, and friends. We all agree that we have never known anyone with a bigger heart who would help anyone who had need. More than anything, he enjoyed mentoring students, post-docs, and young faculty members, helping us to blossom into independent investigators who make meaningful contributions to science."
Assistant professor of psychology Pablo Mora became close friends with Dr. Baum over two daily routines they shared: visiting over coffee and during walks to the parking lot.
"Over the past two and a half years, Andy helped me become a better researcher and professional, and a better person," Mora said. "He taught me how important it is to find the best in each person, how not to jump to quick judgments, how important it is to understand other people's suffering, and how imperative it is to make a difference in this life by helping those in need. Andy lived by what he believed. He made a difference in many lives, including mine. My wife, daughter, and I are happier in part because of him.
“Even now that he’s no longer with us, I will continue to learn lessons from him as I view the world through his eyes. Andy was not only a mentor, but also a friend and a brother, and I will miss him dearly. I feel fortunate to have known Andy and to be considered one of his good friends. Life will not be the same without him, but I will do my best to make a difference in others’ lives the way Andy did.”
Dr. Baum was born in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 3, 1948 to Myron and Beatrice Baum, and grew up in Silver Spring, Md. He earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1974.
He was a member of the faculty of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., from 1974-78. He then joined the Department of Medical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., from 1981-94, and then worked at the University of Pittsburgh as a professor of psychology and psychiatry, and later as a director at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute . He was at Pitt when Gatchel recruited his good friend to come to UT Arlington.
At the time of his death, Dr. Baum held numerous posts in addition to his position at UT Arlington, including research professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh; director of the Behavioral Medicine and Oncology Program, the African-American Center Program, the Biobehavioral Breast Cancer Research Center of Excellence, and the Behavioral Medicine and Oncology Program, all at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; and director of Behavioral Medicine Services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Baum was a pioneer in the field of health psychology and was heavily involved in research related to behavioral medicine, oncology and cancer control. His research interests included biobehavioral aspects of cancer etiology, control, and treatment; chronic stress and illness; control, social regulation, and learned helplessness; psychoneuroimmunology; traumatic stress and mental health; and neuroendocrine regulation of resiliency.
In 1978, Dr. Baum and Gatchel met when they joined the faculty at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. They subsequently collaborated on writing the first textbook for the emerging field of health psychology. Gatchel said he, Dr. Baum and fellow faculty member David Krantz - all in the early stages of their careers - pushed each other, and this competition spurred them on to achieve more.
“Andy and I had fond memories of writing this book together because it was the first example of how ‘driven’ we were in terms of getting things accomplished, which would lay the foundation for our prolific future academic careers,” Gatchel said.
Dr. Baum published over 150 scientific research articles, over 70 book chapters, and authored or edited 39 books. He was also the principal investigator for 11 National Institute of Health grants, three National Science Foundation grants, four Department of Defense grants, and numerous other extramural grants.
He received many awards and honors during the course of his career. A partial list includes: Executive Council, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research; Fellow, American Psychological Association (Divisions 1, 8, 34, 38, 49); Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology (Early Career Award), American Psychological Association, Division of Health Psychology; Master Lecturer, American Psychological Association; Outstanding Service, Society of Behavioral Medicine; Fellow, Society of Behavioral Medicine; Charter Fellow, American Psychological Society; Centennial Award, Early Career Contributions to the Science Directorate, American Psychological Association; Science Weekend Lecturer, American Psychological Association; Achievement Medal, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Outstanding Service Medal, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Distinguished Service Medal, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Fellow, Society of Personality and Social Psychology; and Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology (Senior Investigator Award), American Psychological Association, Division of Health Psychology.
He also served on dozens of committees, editorial boards and panels dating to 1974.
“Each of us who has been touch by Andy carries a piece of him in our hearts, so that I am sure his legacy will continue on in all that we do,” Dougall said. “He was an amazing man. He was creative, innovative, and prolific. At the same time, he was a loyal friend and supportive colleague and mentor.”
Said Paulus, “He affected so many lives in a positive way. He had a very significant impact in the four years he was in the Psychology Department. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by the department and all those whose lives he touched.”
Dr. Baum is survived by his wife, Carrie, assistant director of UT Arlington’s Science Education and Career Center; son, Jesse; daughter, Callie; mother, Beatrice; brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Peggy Baum; and granddaughter, Kaylee Faye Turner.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, in the Planetarium at UT Arlington, followed by a reception in Chemistry and Physics Building Room 303.