University of Arizona Endocrinologist Craig S. Stump, MD, PhD, died on May 4 after a brief, but serious illness.
Memorial services for the former chief of the UA Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (from 2006 to 2016) will be at St. Mark Catholic Church, 2727 W. Tangerine Road, Oro Valley, at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 8.
For those who want to make a contribution in memory of Dr. Stump, the family requests the donation go to Our Lady of the Rosary Knights of Columbus Council #13272 in Oro Valley.
A Caring and Healing Heart
“I was very sad to hear the news Saturday of his death. He was a dedicated, thoughtful and caring physician and a wonderful colleague. My deepest condolences and best wishes go to his family,” said Monica Kraft, MD, chair of the UA Department of Medicine, of which the Endocrinology Division was part, and the Robert and Irene Flynn Endowed Chair of Medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
“Dr. Stump had caring and healing as deep, fundamental core values,” said Stephen P. Thomson, MD, UA assistant professor of medicine who worked with Dr. Stump at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS). “He was especially respectful and really focused on using his practical knowledge to help everyone. He would not tell people what to do. Instead, he was a very careful listener who would gather all the facts and put together the story about what was going on and what could be done about it. Everyone felt he took the time to really listen and care about them. The fact is he really did care. He knew caring about people was the best way to give them care. His legacy will include many people that will carry on with his great way of caring and healing.”
Dr. Stump and Dr. Thomson, chief of the SAVAHCS Endocrinology Division and its education director, would typically host the UA Endocrinology fellows graduation event at their homes every summer. This year, Dr. Thomson said, they would also hold a celebration of Dr. Stump’s life.
At right, Dr. Craig Stump (middle of picture on left) celebrating with the Class of 2017 endocrinology fellows at their graduation party.
At the time of Dr. Stump’s death, UA Endocrinology Chief Lawrence J. Mandarino, PhD, was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
“One of the main reasons I came to Tucson to join the UA faculty was because of my high regard for Dr. Stump—not only for his accomplishments and abilities, but he was such a nice guy, a wonderful friend and colleague,” said Endocrinology Division Clinical Chief Merri Pendergrass, MD, PhD.
Dr. Pendergrass credited Dr. Stump for an improved clinical and educational environment: “Health care is changing so much; often, we as physicians feel like we don’t control our lives anymore. While it is often difficult to control changes in the system, we can still control who our colleagues will be. When we work with people we like and respect, not only are our day-to-day lives better—we also are able to accomplish better things for our patients and our students.”
She added, “With few exceptions, most everyone in the Endocrinology Division is here in part due to Dr. Stump. He resurrected a defunct fellowship program and we now have had five fellows a year since then. Four of those fellows stayed on as faculty and a fifth will return this summer to join the faculty. That’s a real testament to Dr. Stump! I have never even heard of anyone who didn’t love him. He was truly beloved by colleagues, patients and students.”
A Career Spanning 22 Years
Dr. Stump joined the faculty at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and clinical staff at the SAVAHCS in 2006, returning to the area from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he held joint appointments as an assistant professor of internal medicine (in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes), pharmacology and physiology and served as a staff physician at the Harry S. Truman Memorial VA Hospital.
A native of the Seattle area, he attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., and Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., before earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physical education from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., where he was a varsity member of the cross country team. He got his master’s degree in exercise and sports sciences, doctorate in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences, and medical degree from the University of Arizona.
Between his master’s and doctorate, Dr. Stump did a post-doctoral research fellowship in physiology and cell biology at the University of Texas – Houston. Afterward, he completed his residency in internal medicine and endocrinology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In 2003, he joined the faculty in Columbia, Mo. At the UA, he held a joint appointment as an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, a professor of nutritional sciences in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and director of the UA Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship Program.
Honors and Awards
Among his many honors, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology (2013), a “Top 10%” reviewer for the Annals of Internal Medicine (2007), and one of the nation’s “Top Doctors” over multiple years. He won the Cure Award for Outstanding Diabetes Research from the American Diabetes Association – Arizona Chapter (2010); Special Contribution Award, Medicine Care Line, SAVAHCS (2009); Clinician Investigator Training Fellowship, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (2000-03); Excellence in Research Award, UA College of Medicine – Tucson (1997); Medical Student Research Program Fellowship, UA College of Medicine – Tucson (1994); Cosmos 2G Comparison Study Team Group Achievement Award, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1994); National Research Service Award, National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a unit of the National Institutes of Health (1992-93); Young Investigator Award, American Physiological Society (1991); Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship, NASA (1989-92); and Graduate Academic Scholarship, UA (1987-89).
Dr. Stump was a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), Researchers Against Inactivity-Related Disorders, American Society of Hypertension, and Catholic Medical Association. He served as chair of the SAVAHCS Research and Development Committee (2017- ); vice president and secretary of the Tucson Catholic Physicians Guild (2015- ); and had multiple roles with the AACE.
At left, Dr. Craig Stump talks in an article in the March 2016 Tucson Lifstyle issue on Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risks for patients.
In addition, he served as an editorial board member of the journal Diabetes (2016- ); associate editor, Cardiorenal Medicine (2010-); senior editor of the Journal of CardioMetabolic Syndrome (2005-10); and editorial advisory board member, Endocrine Today (2004-06).
Research and Mentorship
Dr. Stump’s research involved investigations into mechanisms contributing to insulin resistance that occur as a result of physical inactivity, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Skeletal muscle cell and tissue cultures, whole animal and patient responses to insulin were used to study cellular insulin signaling pathways to better understand those mechanisms.
At right, Dr. Stump (left), with Drs. Jil Tardiff and Charles Downs, at the first DOM Research Seminar for 2017-18 academic year where he spoke on musculoskeletal insulin resistance.
He was co-principal investigator on three federally funded research projects, including two NIH-sponsored projects with Dr. Mandarino, endocrinology chief, and a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute project with Jin J. Zhou, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. And he was PI on several industry-sponsored clinical trials.
At left, Dr. Stump (center) with George Tsaprailis and Serrine Lau in 2007 UA News story about BIO5 and Biodesign Institutes seeking early detection of Type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Stump also served as a mentor to Dr. Zhou, as well as numerous UA Endocrinology fellows and students in the CALS Department of Nutritional Sciences and at the SAVAHCS.
EXTRA INFO: Fond Remembrances
“I was surprised and saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Craig Stump. He was an excellent physician and scientist. Everyone in our division liked him and respected him. He will be missed.”
— David G. Johnson, MD | UA Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Past Chief, Division of Endocrinology, and Past Chair, Institutional Review Board
“Dr. Stump is such a nice person. From the time I arrived at the UA, he helped me with my diabetes studies. He facilitated my training and brought me lots of opportunities to study. He created the convenience for me so that I didn’t need to drive to Phoenix every week. Whenever I have had challenges in diabetes, he has always been there. I once needed to login to a VA computer to sign on a document. On that day, he devoted his whole afternoon trying to help me solve the problem. His patience, his knowledge, his passionate professional focus are always inspiring to me—and I just wish he could be here still with us to inspire us.”
— Jin J. Zhou, PhD | Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
“I remember Dr. Stump would always sit next to the patient, always cared about what they had to say. He knew each patient’s stories. His patients admired him. One patient told me once, ‘I come to Dr. Stump because he always knows the answer; you are very lucky to have him as your teacher.’”
— Leopoldo (Polo) Cobos, MD | Current Endocrinology Fellow (PGY2)
“I’ve got many stories from the kindest program director, Dr. Stump. One that comes to mind:
Knowing that I would be relocating to South Dakota, he told me that, during his fellowship in Rochester, he once lost his pager in October. It is normal for it to start snowing in October. He searched and searched and couldn’t find it. He eventually got another pager. But when April came and all the piles of snow melted, he found it on his doorstep.
So his advice was: If you lose anything, don’t replace it until April.
I will greatly miss Dr. Stump. May his soul R.I.P. and may his family get the strength. Lots of prayers.”
— Laila Abuzaid, MD | UA Endocrinology Former Fellow (Class of 2018) and Endocrinologist, Avera Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.
“I am in utter shock that Dr. Stump is no longer among us.
“I will say that Dr. Stump was a humble person with a friendly demeanor. He was a mentor, and teaching was his passion. His enthusiasm to teach as a professor, heal as a doctor and down-to-earth approachable personality will be an inspiration for me throughout my career.
His words of knowledge will be with me forever. May his soul rest in peace.”
— Zubair Mirza, MD | UA Endocrinology Former Fellow (Class of 2018) and Endocrinologist, Houston Methodist, Texas
“Dr. Stump was such a calm and kind program director. When I first started in Endocrinology, I made an error in who I invited to interview. I let him know and his reply was ‘not a problem—they might be a good candidate that we may have overlooked.’ He just took everything in stride. I will miss him.”
— Regina Chandler | Program Coordinator, UA Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship
“Dr. Peter Reaven and the staff in the Endocrine Section are very sorry for the loss of Dr. Stump. Our sincere condolences.”
— Rebecca Miller, PSA | Phoenix VA Health Care System and UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
“Dr. Stump was a wonderful physician, teacher, and human being. He pushed you just enough to motivate you to learn but was never overbearing. He was a great mentor who led by example. I am so blessed to have known Dr. Stump and he will truly be missed. He will always be alive in our thoughts and hearts. My sincere condolences and prayers to his beloved family.”
— Zeina Ali, MD | Former UA Endocrinology Fellow (Class of 2018); Endocrinologist, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Palm Springs, Calif.
“When I first met Dr. Stump, I had recently and suddenly left a residency in another specialty and had re-entered internal medicine training. I was feeling a little lost, because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As a lark, I signed up to do an endocrinology rotation supervised by Dr. Stump. His love and care for his patients and his enthusiasm for the field inspired me to select endocrinology as my specialty. His support for my application enabled me to get into an amazing program and finally find my path in life, and I still consider him a mentor and model for my career. Now, I am working as a full-time endocrinologist in Phoenix. If I am half the physician and teacher Dr. Stump was, I would consider myself very fortunate.”
— Iram Ahmad, MD | Former UA Internal Medicine Resident and UA College of Medicine – Tucson Graduate; Endocrinologist, Banner-MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, Ariz., and Adjunct Assistant Professor, UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
“I am so sad about what happened. I still cannot believe Dr. Stump is gone. In my mind, I can still clearly see his face and his expressions, and hear his jokes, stories and advice. He truly inspired us to be our best by being such an amazing role model. As our mentor and teacher, he always made us feel at ease and never made us feel intimidated. I regularly sought advice from Dr. Stump regarding difficult cases, and he always listened and cared. He would look things up with me and help me come up with a plan. I hope Dr. Stump knows just how much he means to all of us. I wish I could have told him that, and said thank you.”
— Chara Te, MD | Former UA Endocrinology Fellow (Class of 2016); Endocrinologist, Banner – UMC Tucson and South
“There are a few people we meet during our lives who change us. Dr. Stump, for me, is one of them.
“Father figure and a true role model. He changed my life not just in a way that he opened the door to the endocrine world, but also he showed us how you can always be a better person. He was a kind of man for whom you want be a better version of yourself. Generous with his kindness and warm feelings, strong in his knowledge, always full of understanding, but still so modest. All of this was so easy and natural for him.
“I know how much I owe him. I can’t stop my tears since I heard the horrible news. I’m so heartbroken that he left us. I thanked him many times, but I’m not sure that I could explain how much I appreciate every single word and gesture he shared with me. I didn’t tell him how much he influenced and changed me. I’m sorry I didn’t tell him how many times his kindness melted my heart.
“I know that he will be always in my thoughts and my heart. I know that everyone of us feel the same way. We are all privileged that we had the opportunity to have him in our lives at least for this short period of time.”
— Ana Mrkaic, MD | UA Endocrinology Fellow (PGY1)
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“UA Receives $1.1M for Study of Genetic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease” | Posted June 7, 2018
“First 2107-18 DOM Research Seminar, Today – Hear About Musculoskeletal Insulin Resistance and Genetics of Lung Care for Acute Patients” | Posted Sept. 14, 2017
“Endocrinology Celebrates Class of 2017 Fellows Graduation” | Posted June 29, 2017
“Department of Medicine Docs Grab Ink Throughout 2016 in Tucson Lifestyle” | Posted Nov. 17, 2016
“As Pre-Diabetic Rates Rise, Collaborative Program Targets Youth” | Posted March 30, 2016
“Diet and Lifestyle Key to Preventing Diabetes” | (UA News) Posted Nov. 23, 2011
“Raw Food Diet for Diabetics” | (Arizona Public Media – story and podcast) Posted Aug. 7, 2009
“Global Diabetes Epidemic Has Particular Impact in Arizona” | (UAHS News) Posted Nov. 9, 2007
“BIO5 and Biodesign Institutes Seek Early Detection of Type 2 Diabetes” | (UA News) Posted Oct. 3, 2007
“Renowned Researcher to Lead Statewide Diabetes Center” | (UA News) Posted June 13, 2006
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