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Updated 2:30 PM September 19, 2005




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Dr. Rodney Pacifico, a clinical lecturer in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Medical School, died Aug. 28 in his Ann Arbor home surrounded by family. He was 33.

(Photo courtesy Department Of Gastroenterology)

Despite a diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor in 2000, Pacifico—known among family and friends for his strength and compassion—was determined not to let his illness get in the way of his personal or professional life.

Pacifico and his wife, Edda, moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 so he could pursue a position as a clinical lecturer and staff physician in gastroenterology at the U-M Health System.

The move brought Pacifico back to where his medical training and career began. In 1990 he came to U-M, where his strong academic record enabled him to become part of the Inteflex Combined Premedical-Medical Program—a fast-paced, seven-year undergraduate/medical program. During a rotation in pediatrics, he met Edda Toting, then a nursing student, whom he married in 1999.

Following his graduation with distinction from the Medical School in 1997, Pacifico began a three-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin. In 2000, he moved to Rochester, Minn., where he pursued a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic.

Pacifico focused his research on Barrett's esophagus, a condition that increases a patient's risk for esophageal cancer. As a budding expert in the field, Pacifico received research grants from several organizations, including the Mayo Foundation and Janssen Pharmaceutica.

While his medical career was brief, Pacifico earned many accolades. One of his most prized awards was the David Sunde Humanitarian Award, given to residents who demonstrate the finest humanistic qualities in the care of patients. He also twice received the American Gastroenterological Association/Wyeth-Ayerst Resident and Fellow Reporter Program award.

Pacifico held professional memberships with the American Medical Association, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Pacifico grew up in Congers, N.Y., a small town along the Hudson River, 40 miles north of New York City. He attended Clarstown North High School, where he graduated in the top 10 of his class and was a star member of the track and field squad.

He is survived by his wife and twin 2-year-old daughters, Alexa and Gabrielle; parents, Orlando and Rosenda; brother, Oliver; grandmother, "Nanay"; and his godmother, Norma (Dan) Ortilla.

To learn more about Pacifico's life story, visit or

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