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Dr. Roger Ladda, Penn State College of Medicine professor emeritus, dies at 87

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine mourn the loss of Dr. Roger Ladda, professor emeritus, former chief of the Department of Human Genetics, Growth and Development, and former medical director of the cytogenetics laboratory, who died on Feb. 16. He was 87 years old.

Ladda’s nearly 50-year tenure began in June 1974, when he joined the College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. Shortly after his arrival he developed the first cytogenetics laboratory at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, serving as its medical director until it closed in 2010. That same year he was instrumental in founding the Department of Human Genetics, Growth and Development and would go on to serve as its chief for 44 years. He continued to care for patients until four months prior to his passing.

An expert medical geneticist, Ladda was universally respected by his colleagues. He was known for giving generously of his time, being a great sounding board and advocate, and understanding that providing good health care for children was a shared enterprise.

From 2002 until 2018, Ladda was the David S. and Amy S. Goldberg Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics. He also served as interim chief of the Division of Neurology from 2003 to 2005. Ladda obtained professor emeritus status in 2018 and continued to help train the next generation of physicians, earning high praise from residents.

In one evaluation, a resident described him as a model for humanism and clinical knowledge. In another, he was admired as a master clinician who was very open to discussing the thought processes behind his decision-making and assessments.

Ladda’s family will host a visitation from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 9, at Hoover Funeral Home, 88 Lucy Ave., Hershey. Commemorative gifts can be made online to support the Julia J. and Roger L. Ladda, MD, Memorial Fund.

View Ladda’s full obituary here.

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