Alvan R. Feinstein was a clinician, a researcher and an epidemiologist who made significant impact on clinical investigation, especially on the field of clinical epidemiology that he helped define. He died at the age of 75 in Toronto on 25 October 2001 and is survived by his wife and two children.
Born in Philadelphia, Feinstein received his bachelor's degree and master's degree at the University of Chicago. Feinstein received his medical degree at the University of Chicago School of Medicine. He completed undertook his residency training in Internal Medicine at Rockefeller Institute. He was Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1955 and became the medical director of Irvington House Institute. While there, he studied patients with rheumatic fever and challenged the belief that proper treatment after an early diagnosis kept those patients from developing severe heart disease later in life. He demonstrated that the disease had different forms including one which causes joint pain and seldom progresses to heart disease. The other, which does result in heart disease, has no symptoms to evoke early detection. Thus, diagnosis of the disease at an early stage leads to a favorable outcome not because of early treatment but because those patients tend to have a less-virulent form.