Dr. Haskins Kazunori Kashima, Hopkins otolaryngologist, dies

Dr. Haskins Kazunori "Chuck" Kashima, a noted Baltimore otolaryngologist who was a world leader in the treatment of laryngeal disease, died Thursday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Heart Homes Assisted Living in Lutherville.

He was 78.


"Chuck had an international reputation in laryngeal matters and surgery. He was also an expert on the human papilloma virus and its effect on the larynx," said Dr. Charles W. Cummings, former chairman of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's department of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery.

"I had the opportunity to know Chuck when I came here in 1991 as chairman of the department. He was an intensely loyal and proud faculty member at Hopkins," Dr. Cummings said.


"I got to know him from a different standpoint when he took care of my father. He had a great sense of humanity and a warmth that his patients loved," he said.

"Chuck was much more than a relater of facts and statistics. He was a human being who developed relationships with patients that set him apart from most physicians," Dr. Cummings said. "And he was always smiling and always downplayed his many accomplishments while talking about those of his colleagues."

Dr. Kashima, the son of an herbalist and a housekeeper, was born in San Francisco. With the outbreak of World War II, he and his family were imprisoned with other Japanese-Americans during the war years at internment camps in California and Utah.

After the war, Dr. Kashima moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where he graduated in 1950 from Palo Alto High School.

He was a 1954 graduate of Stanford University and earned his medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1958.

He completed an internship in surgery at Washington University's Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and a residency in otorhinolaryngology, also at Barnes.

He was at the National Institute of Health from 1960 to 1963 until joining the faculty at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.

In 1969, Dr. Kashima joined the faculty of the department of otolaryngology at Hopkins, where he remained until retiring in 2000.


Dr. Kashima, who lectured throughout the world, conducted significant research on recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and was instrumental in bringing the CO2 laser to Hopkins Hospital for use in the treatment of laryngeal disease.

"There is no question that he gave much more core knowledge to Hopkins than he took away," Dr. Cummings said.

For 30 years, Dr. Kashima trained residents at Hopkins, where he was known as a "harsh taskmaster, but his efforts always had patient care at the center," said his son, Dr. Matthew Kashima, an otolaryngologist who lives in Lutherville.

"He was known as the 'Velvet Hammer' by his former residents due to his calm, gentlemanly behavior while expecting excellence and pointing it out when not achieved," his son said.

Dr. Lloyd B. Minor succeeded Dr. Cummings as department chair in 2003.

"He was very committed to Johns Hopkins and his patients and colleagues. He was a warm and welcoming individual," said Dr. Minor, now provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the Johns Hopkins University.


"He set the standards very high, and he'd say, 'That's why we're here, to advance knowledge.' Those were the values he inculcated in us," he said.

Through the years, Dr. Kashima cared for such notable broadcasters as the late Jerry Turner and Al Sanders.

"He was caring, warm, always approachable, and the most brilliant man I ever had the honor of knowing," said Richard Sher, longtime WJZ-TV reporter who is now executive producer and moderator of "Square Off."

"He saved my voice and career in 1995 when he operated on my throat," Mr. Sher said. "You always hear people say, 'They'll never be another like him.' In Chuck's case, it's so true."

"Dr. Chuck Kashima embodied the finest qualities of a physician and as a Hopkins professor took international leadership in all of our mission areas in the late 20th century, including patient care, advanced clinical research and education," said Dr. John K. Niparko, a surgeon who is interim director of Hopkins' department of otolaryngology.

"His scientific communications related to the treatment of disorders of the airway deserve special mention. He expressed his often original reflections with precision and complete engagement of his audience, and it was often difficult to find a seat in the room," he said.


"Though he is known within academic medicine as a pioneer of clinical trials, Dr. Chuck Kashima will be remembered most as a consummate clinician-teacher who encouraged his colleagues, residents and students with every interaction," Dr. Niparko said.

He added: "Our department was blessed with his presence. His spirit lives on in our clinics and lecture halls."

Dr. Michael M.E. Johns was the dean of the Hopkins medical school for 15 years and is now executive vice president of health affairs and chancellor at Emory University in Atlanta.

"We always looked to him as a mentor, a strong shoulder, and for his good advice," Dr. Johns said.

"He was also a person of great calmness, and when he walked into a room, you suddenly felt good. He was all about serenity and calmness and the wisdom that he carried with himself," Dr. Johns said. "His death is a great loss."

A resident of North Baltimore's Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood, Dr. Kashima enjoyed traveling, playing tennis and fishing.


A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place.

Also surviving are Dr. Kashima's wife of 49 years, the former Joyce Lynn French; another son, Mark Haskins Kashima of Marriottsville; a daughter, Lisa Poling of Timonium; and eight grandchildren.