1974 - 30th reunion
Our reunion weekend flew by too quickly. We participated in provocative symposia and tours of the campus, but the highlights were two great dinners with lots of shared memories and time to catch up. We saw people we had not seen in 30 years. Both nights we stayed until closing and we all felt we could have stayed longer.
Early birds were treated to a symposium on obesity presented by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. Kelly Brownell, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology and director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, told us that obesity results as much from societal pressures and national policies as from personal failures.
Friday night my wife, Cheryl, son David (age 20) and daughter Julia (age 11) joined me at the New England clambake, where we found Dahlia Kirkpatrick, Tony Demorizi and son Eliseo (junior in college), Ralph Binder and wife Barbara, and Rob Kolodner. Ralph is practicing pulmonary medicine in New Rochelle, N.Y. He has continued his world travels, including backpacking trips to the Amazon and Alaska. Rob is the acting chief information officer for the Veterans Health Administration. At our last reunion Rob had told me that he was working on a project that was going to “change the way we all practice medicine.” He elaborated this year by showing us the VA’s electronic charting system that will revolutionize the way medicine is practiced. Both Tony and Dahlia have had hard luck with medical problems. Tony uses a wheelchair because of a spinal cord problem of unknown origin that is still being investigated. Tony commented that he was “so impressed and happy to find that the warmth of old friends is still there after so many years.” Dahlia has been a bone marrow transplant specialist at Sloan Kettering and Tulane Medical School. She has had problems with multiple hip replacements and has changed her practice to physical medicine for the time being. Dahlia spent most of her professional life in academic medicine and she misses contact with students. She encourages young graduates to go into academic medicine because mentoring students is so rewarding.
Those of us who toured the new Anlyan Center were awed by the combination of beautiful architecture, huge size and modern lab facilities. The student anatomy rooms are quite different from the dissecting rooms of our time. Each station has touch-sensitive screens showing the anatomy in rich colorful detail.
At Zinc Restaurant I talked with Irv and Marina Asher. Irv is practicing neurology with a specialty in movement disorder, in Columbia, Mo. We shared our memories of working in the labs at Connecticut Mental Health Center. Len and Liz Banco came down from Hartford, where Len is professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and vice president of strategy and regional development at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Len noted, “When not doing medicine my hobbies include collecting rare books (early American history), traveling and enjoying wine and food. The reunion at Zinc was a lot of fun; the dinner was excellent, as was the conversation. I only wish that more classmates would attend the next reunion.” In addition to practicing pulmonary medicine in Basking Ridge, N.J., Harvey Gerhard has written scientific articles and three novels, including the bestselling medical thriller The Donors. Harvey is married and has two children in high school.
Our conversation at Zinc was filled with warmth, laughter and surprisingly close feelings. While we had not seen each other for 30 years, we had a history of four intense years together and, as Ralph noted, a very strong bond because of our shared experiences in medicine. While we live in different places and practice different specialties, we had many things in common. We reminisced and shared our life’s experiences, good and bad. We talked about career choices, politics (right, left and middle were represented), managed care, family, malpractice. Most of us have been victimized by frivolous lawsuits. We agreed that the best solution to the malpractice crisis is a no-fault system for patients combined with an educationally focused program for doctors. When someone asked, “Would you want your child to be a doctor?” our group was evenly split.
Several classmates who were not able to attend wrote me:
Carol Teitz is professor of orthopaedics at the University of Washington in Seattle. She could not attend the reunion because she was going to Asia with three traveling fellows from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Carol wrote, “I remarried in 2000 to Craig Keebler, who is a bariatric medicine physician (not surgical). My twins are almost 21. One is at Stanford and one is at U. Miami. Craig has a 25-year-old married daughter (and we have one grandchild), another daughter who is 22 and here at UW and a son, 19, who is spending a year studying in Israel before starting university. It’s pretty noisy when everyone is home!”
Jerry Orlin sends regards from the Hasharon Hospital Blood Bank in Petah Tiqwa, Israel. Dave Collier has recently returned from an adventure serving as chief of nuclear medicine at the Kuwait University Medical School where, prior to the Iraq War, he lectured on nuclear terrorism. Dave Ritvo is practicing psychoanalysis in the Bay Area. Ross Tonkens almost made it to the reunion but had to travel to Helsinki for business. He is the director of medical and scientific services and global scientific head of the cardiovascular therapeutics division at Quintiles. Paul David lives outside Boston with his wife and three children (ages 21, 17, 13). Paul worked for 15 years at Beth Israel Hospital on the psychiatry consultation service and in the ER and ran the medical student clerkship. He is now in full-time private practice. Ron Neumann sends his best wishes to everyone from Maryland. He is head of the nuclear medicine department at the NIH, where he does research on DNA damage and repair following radionuclide treatment of cancers. He notes that he still lunches with his wife after 25 years. She is the head of the surgical pathology group in the pathology branch of the National Cancer Institute. Amy Starr sends her best wishes from Los Angeles, where she is a pediatrician. Her daughter is a sophomore at Yale, in the same college as my son.
The reunion was a great time. Mark your calendars now and plan to come to the 35th!
Other Class Notes
From Other Issues