Joseph R. Masci, MD
November 27, 1950 – November 15, 2022
Dr. Joseph Masci, beloved husband, father, physician and teacher, died Nov. 15, 2022 of renal cancer at age 71. He had been Director of Medicine at Elmhurst Hospital Center for 15 years, and currently was founding chairman of the Global Health Department at Elmhurst. He was also a professor of medicine, infectious disease, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Among his survivors are his wife, Elizabeth Bass; his son, Jonathan Masci; his niece, Jessica Culnan; and his brother-in-law Allen Bass, as well as hundreds of patients whose lives he improved and hundreds of doctors he taught, mentored and inspired.
Joe grew up in Metuchen, NJ, the son of Delfina Musa Masci, a violinist, and Joseph N. (Nick) Masci, a chemist. His beloved big sister, Joanne Friedman, a special education teacher, died earlier this year. Joe graduated from Cornell University and New York University School of Medicine. After medical residency at Boston City Hospital, he was a fellow in infectious disease at Mount Sinai Hospital.
As an infectious disease expert, Joe played an important role in shaping New York’s response to HIV/AIDS, post-9/11 emergency planning, preparations for Ebola, and COVID. In 1985, he founded Elmhurst Hospital's AIDS program, which treats more than 1,500 people and has been recognized repeatedly for its high quality. Through his work with the NYS AIDS Institute and the NYC HIV Planning Council, he played an important role in shaping city and state AIDS policy, making it more humane and generous. He also led multi-year projects to improve AIDS care in Russia and in Ethiopia. For these efforts, he has been honored by federal, state, and city agencies, receiving many awards including Mount Sinai’s highest teaching honor, the Jacobi Medallion. He wrote books on HIV care, bioterrorism preparedness, and Ebola that have been used around the world. As a consultant to the United Nations, he gave regular updates on infectious disease topics to 200 UN medical staff. He was active in community outreach, including appearing weekly on The Reset, a program on Caribbean Power Jam Radio, to answer questions and share his expertise on COVID and other medical topics.
A caring and compassionate doctor and mentor, Joe helped shape many NY infectious disease physicians who trained in part at Elmhurst Hospital. Many say he was their role model of a physician who combined vast knowledge with a kind, compassionate, patient-centered approach. "He made me what I am," has been the comment from more than one.
In 2018, upon winning the Jacobi Medallion, Joe said, “What I would want people to take away from my words is a recognition that connecting with patients is really the centerpiece of what we do.”
A funeral service was held Sunday, November 20th, 1 – 3pm at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, 1570 Northern Boulevard, Manhasset, NY 11030. A memorial was also held at Elmhurst Hospital Wednesday, November 30th, 12:30pm. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Joe’s memory either to the Elmhurst Auxiliary’s Global Health Initiative fund (https://www.supportelmhurst.org/donate) or to Hope for a Healthier Humanity (https://www.hopeforahealthierhumanity.org).