Frances Marian Bishop (Mrs. Robert E. Froelich) was born in Springfield, Missouri, the only child of Francis Marion and Hattie May Bishop. She was a perennial student. After entering kinder- garten, she continued without pause to acquire two master’s degrees, one from the University of Kansas and the other from Syracuse University and a doctor of philosophy degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was the Herman Graduate Scholar. Thirteen years later she added a third master’s degree in Public Health while on full-time faculty at the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Medicine. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Public Health by Park University in 1998 where she served as a Trustee for fifteen years including being Chairman of the Board.
Family and friends despaired of Marian leaving the classroom until she met and married a Washington University medical student, Robert E. Froelich. This event changed her personal life and diverted her career path. Though Marian spent most of her professional career in medical education, she trained for and planned to become an administrator in higher education
Being married to an academic medicine psychiatrist brought her to the attention of the University of Missouri, Columbia Medical School dean who recruited her to join his medical school faculty in 1963 to begin a new program in Behavioral Medicine. Once this offer was accepted, she never looked back and with each passing decade moved into more responsible and demanding positions.
Marian and Robert Froelich had two children. When asked about her achievements and joys, Marian spoke of career but also cited the wonder of raising two normal and successful children. She attributed this to teamwork and gives her husband credit for being a responsive father and partner.
Marian’s professional career was an odyssey. She taught at Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri while her husband finished medical school and internship, was a visiting professor at the University of Maryland Overseas, Frankfurt, Germany while her husband completed his military service, and taught at Augusta College, in Augusta, Georga during his psychiatric residency training. They returned to Missouri when Bob was recruited to the medical school faculty. That’s when Marian was “discovered” and “diverted” to academic medicine.
Over her forty year medical school career she was responsible for a myriad of activities. Answering directly to the medical school dean at the University of Oklahoma, she was course director for 198 teaching hours for first-year medical students and 78 hours for second-year students (an assignment she described as the most demanding and stressful of her teaching experiences.) She established the first required medical student preceptorship in Alabama utilizing rural practice sites for fourth-year medical students. She was responsible for faculty affairs (which she hastened to add was not what the title suggests.) She was a medical school department chairman for twenty years, ten at the University of Alabama, Huntsville and ten as Chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah where she was the first woman chairman in the history of the medical school.
Being a “first” is not unique to the Utah appointment. Marian and her husband co-authored the first programmed textbook on medical interviewing specifically written for medical students (1969); she was the first Ph.D. president of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine (1978-79); the first woman president of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (1981-82); and the only individual to serve as president of both of these specialty oriented organizations. She was the first woman Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Other notable firsts were to represent academic family medicine in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Council of Academic Societies and to be the first representative of family medicine to be elected to the CAS Administrative Board. Because of her service she was elected a Distinguished Service Member of the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1981.
In 1981, she was the first woman to receive the Thomas Johnson Award for outstanding contribution to family practice education from the American Academy of Family Physicians. In 1990, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation established an annual award, “the F. Marian Bishop Leadership Award,” in tribute to her contributions to and leadership in family medicine. In 2001, the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine named the “F. Marian Bishop Educator of the Year Award” because of contributions to the discipline of preventive medicine. In 2001 she was recognized by the International Women Forum as “A Woman Who Makes a Difference.” The American Academy of Family Physicians presented her the John G. Walsh Award in 2002 in recognition of dedicated and effective leadership in the development of family practice.
In addition to appointments to several national organizations such as the Executive Committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners (1989-93), Marian notably served on many federal government advisory committees. These included the four national advisory councils for Health Professions Education (1982-86): the National Health Service Corps (1987-90); Health Care Policy, Research, and Evaluation (1982-95) and the Council on Graduate Medical Education (1997-02.) These federal appointments crossed political party lines, an indication of the bipartisan nature by which she addressed health care issues and participated in deliberations.
As an educator, Marian contributed to over twenty journals and several textbook and was recognized by her students. She received the Faculty Excellence Award from graduate students in public health in 2000, and had the “Outstanding Student in Family Practice Award” named in her honor in 2002 at the University of Utah.
Though a recognized contributor to the literature and to face-to-face teaching activities, she was unique in that she truly enjoyed administrative activities and never tired of striving to enhance and expand the capabilities of the departments, organizations, and colleagues where she worked over the years.
Marian served as a mentor to both men and women but most often was cited by younger women in academic medicine as being the role model they most admired and the person who found a hole in the glass ceiling for them also to climb through. She was recognized for her contribution to the discipline of preventive medicine/public health and to the discipline of family medicine. She was often introduced as “the mother of academic family medicine” to which she usually responded, “just as long as I am not the grandmother.”
In her “off-hours,” she worked in local and state organizations where she felt she could make a difference. These included the Salt Lake City Chapter of Rotary International and the Utah State Department of Health. She was a member of the Utah Women’s Forum and the International Women’s Forum, an organization intended to enhance the role of women leaders world wide. She served the State of Utah Department of Health in multiple capacities including appointment of the statutory Utah Health Department up to the time of her death.
As a leader in these endeavors, Marian demonstrated the capacity for translating vision into reality, showing integrity and an awareness of the human spirit. Her colleagues recognized the intellectual energy and curiosity of Ulysses. Like the Ulysses described by Tennyson she was a part of all that she met. She found it dull to pause, to rust unburnished, to not shine in use. And like Ulysses, Marian followed knowledge like a shining star beyond the bounds of human thought.
Though Marian has concluded her journey in this life, her family, friends, and colleagues will continue to hear her call to seek, to strive, and not to yield . . . but to conquer.