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IN MEMORIAM: Mark J. Cowan, MD

February 01, 2023

The School of Medicine Community is deeply saddened by the loss of one of its faculty members, Mark J. Cowan, MD, who passed away yesterday following a brief illness. Dr. Cowan was an outstanding pulmonologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. He is survived by his wife, Lauren Strong Cowan; sons, Jack (Seattle, WA) and Danny (student at Towson University); parents Michael (retired Surgeon General and Admiral in the U.S. Navy) and Linda Cowan (Ashburn, Va); twin sister Michelle Kirkpatrick; and two brothers, Benjamin Cowan, MD and Matthew Cowan.

Dr. Cowan joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2002 after completing his Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship and research training at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan. He was widely regarded across the university for his extensive research collaborations, and known by his students as a beloved mentor and teacher. He was also active at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, where he served as Director of the MICU and Chair of the VAMC Critical Care Committee.

His key interests were in the management of sepsis and ARDS, and in the medical education of residents and fellows. He received several Excellence in Teaching Awards during his career at UMSOM. His translational research resulted in key discoveries related to the role of aerosols in viral lung infection, and the epigenetics of lung cancer.

“Mark was a brilliant and inquisitive physician and a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher who was single-handedly responsible for many of our current and former fellows’ decision to pursue a career in pulmonary/critical medicine, including several of our current faculty members,” said Jeffrey Hasday, MD, the Dr. Herbert Berger Professor of Medicine and Division Head, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Mark was a wonderful human being and I will miss his friendship most of all.”

In his personal time, he was a sports enthusiast who played basketball and tennis, and enjoyed watching football and coaching his son's lacrosse teams. He treasured his annual summer family vacations in Maine. He was also an avid reader and a lifetime learner who loved research. Dr. Cowan would often say, “I would do this job whether I were paid or not, I love it so much.”

He will be greatly missed by everyone who worked with him across the UMSOM and University System of Maryland. Our entire community extends its deepfelt sympathies to his family.

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Cowan’s family has generously requested that memorial donations be made to the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Plans are underway to create an Annual Memorial Lectureship in Dr. Cowan’s name.

Checks should be made payable to the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc. (UMBF, Inc.) and sent to:

School of Medicine Office of Development
31 S. Greene St., 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Additionally, gifts may be made online at

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