John E. Sarno ’44, M.D.

John died on June 23, 2017. He matriculated to K from New York City and stayed for three years before leaving in 1943 to join the Army. He worked in field hospitals in Europe for the remainder of World War II. John received his medical degree from Columbia University in 1950 and spent nearly a decade in family practice in Fishkill, N.Y., where he founded the Mid-Hudson Medical Group. He returned to New York in 1960 for a residency in pediatric medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and then another residency at the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at New York University (N.Y.U.). He joined N.Y.U.’s Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine in 1965 and practiced there until his retirement in 2012. John specialized in rehabilitative medicine and wrote many books on the psychological origins of chronic pain. His most widely known title was the best-selling Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. His other books included The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain; The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders; and Mind Over Back Pain. John returned to K’s campus in 2000 to deliver the commencement address, “Stronger Than We Think.” During that visit he said: “In addition to academic studies, which were top flight [in my time] as they are now, Kalamazoo College was music, art, theatre, the social graces, and gentleness. It was a great introduction to the adult world I was about to enter.”

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