By Dr. Lauren Horton. When I received word of the passing of Dr. Stanley Dudrick, a beloved, long-standing and highly respected member of the AdvoCare Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, I was profoundly saddened. He was an extraordinary man with a heart of gold- my hero, a champion. He believed in making the world a better place, and his life’s work is proof of the commitment he had to acting on that belief.
Some think it takes many people to change the world, but every good act starts with one person. One idea, one spark that ignites the many. Dr. Stanley Dudrick was the spark that changed the world of medicine and nutrition. If you googled Stanley Dudrick’s name, words like pioneer or icon are what most often are used to describe him.
At our last face-to-face encounter, I remember asking him where his tenacity came from, he quickly named his father who was a great motivator and perfectionist. Dr. Dudrick shared childhood memories of asking his father questions and in response being challenged to think critically- which forced him to work through the process of solving a problem. He thought outside-the-box and was an innovator, and ultimately saved millions of lives.
After medical school and during his residency he immersed himself in research to find the nutrition solution for those who couldn’t eat on their own, leading to the birth of Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). Today, millions of people are alive because of Dudrick’s pioneering efforts in intravenous feeding and the invention of TPN. The Neonatal Society studied data from 1970 to 2010 and in those 40 years, from the time TPN was first introduced, it is estimated that 10 million babies have been saved in the United States. Dr. Dudrick could have easily patented his invention, but didn’t. His ambition was never for money, only to help others live, and live healthier lives.
Dr. Dudrick was arguably one of the most influential physicians in the world. With over 40 years of service to the medical field; he was the first Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Dudrick later chaired the departments of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and then became Professor of Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. In his latter years, he was named as Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery and Director Emeritus of the Program in Surgery at Saint Mary’s Hospital and at Yale, where he remained active for many years.
While working in Houston, Dr. Dudrick became acquainted with the city’s professional football team trainer who was also a member of AdvoCare’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. When asked to share his expertise on amino acids to help enhance AdvoCare’s products, he was intrigued by the integrity of the company and wanted to know more. Later in 2000, Dr. Dudrick became an official member of AdvoCare’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, where he served for almost 20 years. (more info)
“I was fascinated with the quality and scientific interaction and didn’t realize the effort and expertise AdvoCare puts into its products,” said Dr. Dudrick. “I had never served on a company board and always politely turned offers down, because I did not want to be associated with a commercial industry. I never wanted my credibility to be impaired. However, I was greatly impressed by the AdvoCare mission to promote health, and improve quality of life, performance and optimal body composition, so I welcomed the opportunity to join in their efforts.”
I was fortunate to have spent time with Dr. Dudrick on multiple occasions and my colleagues and I were always star struck in his presence. Certainly for his vision and the undeniable impact of his accomplishments, but also for a reason that should have made him more like all of us, but again made him stand out. His gift of kindness. If you were fortunate enough to have met him, you know that he was consistently warm, caring and humble- attributes not always associated with the academic elite. He took an interest in meeting you. He remembered your name. And just being in his presence, you felt…better.
Dr. Stanley Dudrick was one man who was bold enough to believe he could transform the world, and did. He steadied the course and never lost sight of his vision to leave something better behind. For his contributions to medicine, science, nutrition and mankind, and for the space and time I was fortunate enough to share with this giant of kindness and healing, I’ll be eternally grateful.
Editor’s note: When we posted about Dr. Dudrick’s passing on Facebook there was an outpouring of sympathy and wonderful stories about his impact.