BOWLING GREEN - Dr. Josh Kaplan, a caring doctor and a pioneering administrator who directed health services at Bowling Green State University since 1984, died yesterday of cancer in Wood County Hospital. He was 57.
Dr. Kaplan of Bowling Green spearheaded the creation of a women s health clinic and travel clinic at BGSU and strengthened health education on topics including fitness, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
He also started an innovative AIDS education program on campus in the late 1980s. At his suggestion, students studied and wrote about AIDS in a writing course taken by 90 percent of freshmen.
“He s going to really be irreplaceable,” said Ed Whipple, the university s vice president for student affairs. “He was a visionary. He always wanted to move forward on student health issues.”
Dr. Kaplan was particularly concerned with policies on health insurance, and helped guide students and the administration smoothly through changes in these regulations.
“It was under his guidance that health insurance became mandatory for graduate and undergraduate students,” Joanne Navin, retired associate director of BGSU health services, said. “He was a real asset to the university and fought hard to get quality health services for the students.”
Dr. Kaplan was respected by the staff at the health clinic because he treated all employees as his equals, colleagues said, and students responded to his sense of humor.
For most of his time as director, Dr. Kaplan both handled administrative duties and saw patients. He was especially skilled at bonding with students experiencing depression, his wife, Becky, said.
“He loved the students and he was a very fair administrator,” she said.
Dr. Kaplan was born in New York City. He graduated from Princeton in 1967 and received his medical degree from the Downstate Medical Center, which is part of the State University of New York.
He served as an intern at San Francisco s Presbyterian Hospital and completed his residency at St. Luke s Hospital in Denver.
Prior to coming to BGSU, he worked in the emergency departments of several hospitals in California.
He was past president of the Ohio College Health Association and served on the board of directors for the American College Health Association. The national association created a fund for professional development in his name.
Dr. Kaplan served on the boards of many community organizations, including the Wood County Mental Health Clinic and the Wood County Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Though he battled cancer for the past several years, Dr. Kaplan continued to work hard at BGSU and made time for students in need.
“He was always looking out for the students,” BGSU pharmacy coordinator Cindy Puffer said.
“He was such an inspiration for all of us.”
Surviving are his wife, Becky; daughter, Sarah; mother, Pearl; and brother, Ed.
Visitation will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow at Dunn Funeral Home in Bowling Green.