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LSU Health Foundation

Beloved LSU Health Center Leader Remembered

LSU Health New Orleans is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Russell Klein, a distinguished physician noted for his work to enhance the education of medical students.

Russell Charles Klein passed away Sunday, September 2, 2018, of complications from meningitis.

“With the passing of Dr. Russell Klein the LSU Health Center lost one of its most beloved leaders and the community lost a gifted physician,” said Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of the LSUHNO School of Medicine. “Dr. Klein was the quintessential scholar and a gentleman. He will be sorely missed.”

In recognition of his deep commitment to educational opportunities for healthcare students and professionals, the Board of Supervisors in 2008 named a new state-of-the-art facility The Russell C. Klein MD (’59) Center for Advanced Practice. The Center supports innovative, multidisciplinary and inter-professional education, engaging learners with hands-on experience. Dr. Klein had served as Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs and Development at LSU School of Medicine from 1985 until 2009.

Born May 30, 1935, in New Orleans, Dr. Klein graduated from Jesuit High School and Loyola University, and received his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1959. He completed a residency at Charity Hospital, and served in Germany with the United States Army from 1961 through 1963.

Following his service, he served as research associate to the late John Salvaggio, MD; completed a pulmonary fellowship at LSU under Dr. John Seabury; and received additional training at Harvard Medical School and with the Pulmonary Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. He returned to LSU Department of Medicine in the Pulmonary Unit, and was named professor in 1982.

He served as Medical Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and Respiratory Therapy at Charity Hospital from 1977 until 1982; as Director of Respiratory Care at Hotel Dieu Hospital; and as Director of the School of Respiratory Therapy at Delgado College. He retired from LSU School of Medicine as Emeritus Professor in 2010.

During his 24-year tenure as Associate Dean of Alumni Affairs and Development at LSU School of Medicine, Dr. Klein raised millions of dollars in support of endowed funding for Professorships, Chairs, and student scholarships and faculty awards. His early efforts saw the formation of the LSU Health Foundation, created to support the mission of LSU Health New Orleans. Dr. Klein’s fundraising efforts as leader of the Foundation and with the Alumni Association also helped fund the Isidore Cohn Jr. MD Student Learning Center. The Russell C. Klein, MD Professorship was established in his honor in 2001 by the LSU Committee of 100, Champions of Excellence.

Among his notable achievements, Dr. Klein is remembered for his quick action to help resurrect the School of Medicine following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. His office produced a “Katrina Edition” of LSU Medicinews chronicling the destruction and rebuilding efforts.

He was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Laureate Award recipient of the Louisiana Chapter, and a Fellow of the College of Chest Physicians. He also served in several leadership roles with the Orleans Parish Medical Society, and was President of the Louisiana State Medical Society in 2008.

He was actively involved in the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, the American College of Chest Physicians and the Association of American Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement.

Dr. Klein published more than 30 articles, and co-authored “A History of LSU School of Medicine New Orleans” in 2010. His research interests included lung cancer, obstructive lung disease and continuing medical education.

Dr. Klein was preceded in death by his parents, Edward J. Klein, Sr. and Hattie Bares Klein, and his brother John Bares Klein, MD. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Donna Guinn Klein; brother, Edward J. Klein, Jr.; and children Steven David Klein, and Robin Irene Klein.

Services were held September 8, 2018. Condolences may be expressed at