History of the Division

Division heads

Edward L. Quinn, M.D., 1949-1982
Louis Saravolatz, M.D., 1982-1998
Norman Markowitz, M.D., 1998-2005
Marcus Zervos, M.D., 2005-Present

The early years

All physicians worked to treat infectious diseases when Henry Ford Hospital opened in 1915. Tuberculosis, influenza, and poliomyelitis had continuing outbreaks. Soldiers returning from WWI in 1918 brought the Spanish flu, and in 1919 Detroit was hit hard by another influenza epidemic, with more than 9,000 deaths. Cots lined the hallways at Henry Ford Hospital trying to help those affected.

In 1943 Edward Quinn, M.D., a medical resident, worked with cardiac surgeon Conrad Lam, M.D., to deliver the new drug penicillin to 40 medical and surgical patients at the hospital. Henry Ford Hospital was one of 10 nationwide selected to participate in the clinical trial.

After WWII, Dr. Quinn joined the hospital staff in 1946 and founded the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory in 1949. Dr. Quinn was a founding member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and President of the Michigan Society of Infectious Diseases. In 1955 he established the hospital's Infectious Diseases Fellowship program, one of the first in the country.

International recognition

Dr. Quinn focused his laboratory research on the epidemiology of infectious diseases as well as the evaluation of new antibiotics and vaccines and resistance of bacteria to therapeutic agents. Although polio outbreaks began to surface from 1916 onward in the U.S., worsening outbreaks occurred in the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1953 the first in a series of international symposia held at Henry Ford Hospital was co-led by Dr. Quinn. “The Dynamics of Virus and Rickettsial Infections” brought more than 400 attendees to Detroit. Drs. Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, and other notable leaders led the discussion on poliomyelitis. In 1956 the international symposium at Ford Hospital featured the growing problem of hepatitis.

New drug development

Dr. Quinn’s research on therapy for endocarditis and the development of new antibiotics including the cephalosporins was widely recognized. He was expert in infections of the heart valve. As drug abusers are more prone to such heart infections, many of Dr. Quinn’s patients were drug abusers; he and his team reached out to the community. Evelyn Fisher, M.D., one of his fellows, volunteered to lead the Pallister Methadone Clinic in the 1970s.

At the forefront of a new epidemic

In 1982 Dr. Evelyn Fisher treated the first AIDS patient at Henry Ford Hospital. AIDS was just beginning to appear in the Midwest and several years would pass before HIV was identified. Norman Markowitz, M.D., then a fellow in Infectious Diseases, worked alongside Dr. Fisher as well as other staff as the number of AIDS patients grew. Within a few years, the Division was seeing two-thirds of all AIDS patients in Michigan.

About this time Dr. Quinn stepped aside as Division Head and Louis Saravolatz, M.D., was appointed to the role. Dr. Saravolatz was an alumnus of Henry Ford Hospital’s Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship programs. Dr. Quinn would remain active on staff through the 1990s.

Drs. Quinn, Saravolatz, Fisher, Markowitz, and others on staff all worked to care for AIDS patients. Research was targeted at finding treatment for HIV/AIDS and its complications. Researchers in the Infectious Diseases laboratory attempted to measure virus in the blood of different people. Drs. Fisher and Markowitz established a production line of grants for clinical trials to test new drugs and to evaluate different combinations of drugs. The team of specialists with social worker Madelyne Markowitz and nurse Kevin Frasier worked to educate the community about transmission and prevention. With Henry Ford Hospital CEO David Benfer, they helped to spearhead the development of the Southeast Michigan AIDS Consortium, which partnered with other groups to help set up a network of resources for those afflicted with AIDS.

Modern times

As international travel modernized, infectious diseases became a more prevalent global issue. Overuse of antibiotics brought emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains such as MRSA in the early 1980s. Henry Ford Hospital was one of the first to report on a MRSA outbreak at that time. In the mid-1990s when Dr. Louis Saravolatz was recruited to be Chief of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. John Hospital in Detroit, Dr. Norman Markowitz became the Division Head. Under his leadership, HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease work continued locally and research expanded to other parts of the world. Dr. Markowitz focused on developing a collaborative training and research program in India. India has the most cases of tuberculosis than any other country and a high rate of HIV/AIDS infection. Other programs have formed in Peru and Haiti as well as to help Detroit.

As antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and nosocomial community-acquired infections continue to be problematic, the Division’s work has been recognized under the leadership of Marcus Zervos, M.D., who became Division Head in 2004. An expert in antimicrobial resistance, Dr. Zervos has been the recipient of several million dollars in grant awards and Principal Investigator on over 200 government and industry funded studies examining multidrug resistant pathogens.

Under his leadership, the Infectious Diseases team oversees infection control at Henry Ford Health System’s four acute care hospitals. The Division played an integral role in the success of the Henry Ford “No Harm Campaign” in which infection-related harm was reduced by 40% from 2008 to 2011.

Today the Division of Infectious Diseases is one of the busiest in the state with a large clinical volume, ongoing bench to bedside research, and an academic program staffed by internationally and nationally recognized specialists.

Marcus Zervos, M.D.
Division Head, Infectious Diseases
Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Health System

Dr. Zervos was a Fellow in Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, followed by Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at the Yale New Haven Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. From 1988 to 2005 he served as infectious diseases consultant at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI, where he was also Medical Director of the Microbiology Laboratory from 1994 to 2005 and Co-Medical Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory from 2004 to 2005 in the Department of Clinical Pathology. He joined the Henry Ford Medical Group in 2005 as chief of Infectious Diseases where he oversees infection control for the entire Henry Ford Health System. An expert in antimicrobial resistance, Dr. Zervos has been awarded several million dollars for research and has published over 160 articles in peer-reviewed journals including the Annals of Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and The American Journal of Medicine. He has co-authored several books and contributed numerous book chapters dealing with infectious diseases.