Sumner, physician and PHLP student, dies Jan. 4

February 25, 2013
Dr. Brian Sumner

Dr. Brian Sumner

Brian Montgomery Sumner, MD, Master of Public Health student in the Public Health Leadership Program (PHLP) at Gillings School of Global Public Health, died in an accident in Costa Rica on Jan. 4. He was 51.

A magna cum laude graduate of N.C. State University and of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Dr. Sumner completed his residency at Veterans Memorial Hospital of Minneapolis. He served as an internal medicine physician on the staff of the University of Kentucky and Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Throughout his life, he volunteered his expertise to impoverished communities in which he worked and participated in annual missions abroad, including in Ethiopia, Honduras and Peru.
“Brian was a dedicated, hard-working student and practitioner with strong interests and skills in global public health leadership,” said adviser and friend William Sollecito, DrPH, clinical professor in the PHLP. “He had a passion for global health, but he was a person who cared about those in need both globally and locally. In addition to his regular medical practice and his global mission work, he was founder and medical director of the Bowery Mission Medical Clinic, which serves the homeless in lower Manhattan.”
Anna Schenk, PhD, director of the PHLP and of the School’s N.C. Institute for Public Health, noted that Dr. Sumner was a friend to many, in the leadership program and beyond. “He will be missed,” she said, “not only by all of us and his family, but also by all those whose lives were improved through his caring and dedication.”
Dr. Sumner is survived by his wife, Leslee Caldwell Sumner; his parents, Roger and Mary Ruth Sumner; a brother and sister; and several godchildren, nieces and nephews.
At the request of his family, and to continue the work he was doing in Haiti, a memorial fund has been set up for the purpose of drilling wells to provide clean water to residents there. Checks for this purpose may be made to Park Avenue Christian Church, with “Brian Sumner Haiti Fund” in the memo line, and sent to Park Ave. Christian Church, 1010 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10028.



Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or