WEARN, JOSEPH T. (15 Feb. 1893-26 Sept. 1984), dean of Western Reserve University School of Medicine, was born in Charlotte, N.C., the son of Joseph H. and Ann (Treloar) Wearn. He received his B.A. from Davidson College (1913) and medical degree from Harvard Medical School (1917), and served as a resident in Boston, then as an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He joined WRU in 1929, serving as dean of the School of Medicine from 1945-59. He was an officer in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army briefly in WORLD WAR I. Prior to 1929, Wearn published articles on the kidney and heart, performing experiments making possible much of the present understanding of renal function. During WORLD WAR II, he was medical consultant to the secretary of war, and was awarded the Medal of Freedom.
Wearn strengthen the faculty and financial position of WRU School of Medicine. In 1952 he changed the medical school curriculum, teaching medicine as a whole concept rather than as a series of unrelated disciplines, teaching subject areas by committees of faculty members rather than strictly by department. After retiring in 1960, Wearn served both CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY and Harvard Medical School as a consultant. He was a member of many medical societies. CWRU honored Wearn in 1973, giving him the first University Medal for outstanding service. In 1961, the $5.3 million Joseph Treloar Wearn Laboratory for Medical Research was dedicated to him. Wearn married Susan Lyman. They had a daughter, Susan. Wearn died at his summer home in Brooklin, Maine and was buried there.