Deaths: Eugene Woods, Prakash Desai

Eugene Woods

Eugene Woods

Eugene Woods, College of Pharmacy

Eugene Woods, 83, former professor and department head in the College of Pharmacy, died Jan. 15 at his home in Fort Myers, Florida.

Woods joined UIC’s faculty in 1987 after working as director of biology and infectious diseases at Baxter Laboratories. He was professor of pharmaceutics and pharmacodynamics, serving several years as department head, until he retired in 2003.

“Gene will be remembered as a good friend and colleague and for his dedicated service to UIC and the College of Pharmacy,” said William T. Beck, distinguished professor and head of the department of biopharmaceutical sciences. “Gene was incredibly generous and kind and had a fun-loving sense of humor. Anyone who has been at the college for some time has a favorite Gene Woods story.”

Woods was an avid golfer, fisherman and boater.

He received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in pharmacology at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he taught from 1957 to 1968. He moved to the Chicago area in 1975.


Prakash Desai, College of Medicine at Chicago

Prakash Desai, 74, a psychiatrist who advocated for new facilities for the Jesse White VA Medical Center, where he was chief of staff, died Jan. 5.

During his career, he held leadership positions in the College of Medicine, the Veterans Affairs medical system and the Illinois Department of Mental Health.

Desai joined the VA in 1978 as professor and chief of psychiatry service at the West Side Veterans Affairs Medical Center (now Jesse Brown VA Medical Center), later becoming chief of staff.

He became a professor of clinical psychiatry at UIC in 1989 and served as associate dean of medicine from 1994 to 2004.

“Desai believed the West Side VA Medical Center was uniquely situated in serving the needs of population of urban veterans,” said Subhash Kukreja, professor of medicine in endocrinology.

Desai’s areas of academic expertise were crosscultural psychiatry, Hinduism and Gandhi. He wrote two books, Health and Medicine in the Hindu Tradition (Crossroads 1989) and Triumph and Tragedy: Psychohistorical Decisions of Mahatma Gandhi (Hy Muslin, co-author, Haranand 1998).

Awards for his work included two honors from the American Psychiatric Association: the Oscar Pfeister Award for religion and psychiatry and the George Tarjan award for international medical graduate achievement. He received the Bruce Boyer Award from the American Society for Psychological Anthropology for his paper “Selfhood and Context: Some Indian Solutions.”

He earned a medical degree from the MS University of Vadodara, India, in 1963 and completed residency training at Northwestern University.

He was a long-time resident of River Forest and Oak Park.


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