Hospitals horrified Donald E. Moore, M.D. ’81, M.P.H. ’81, beginning the day he visited his dying father.
“I was able to see him in the state of illness before the nurses generally do their morning care. It was very ugly,” said Moore, who was 14 years old and growing up in Jamaica. His police officer father was in end-stage renal failure, the result of uncontrolled hypertension. “I remember I left the ward crying. That was the first time that it struck me that he was dying. I never thought I’d ever go back into a hospital.”
Later, as a student at Pace University in Manhattan, Moore majored in sociology. When he excelled in an obligatory math and science course, his professor suggested that he consider medicine.
“I had no idea what I was getting into.” And yet, he says, “There’s nothing in my life that would have given me as much satisfaction as studying medicine.”
In July Moore assumed the presidency of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine (AYAM). A new vice president and secretary were also elected, as well as two new executive committee members.
One of Moore’s goals as president is to foster discussion of how managed care has harmed the doctor-patient relationship. He said a capitated plan, which pays a doctor to take care of a group with a flat per-patient payment, militates against what a physician is supposed to do: care for sick people. Instead, it encourages the doctor to seek healthy patients and see them as little as possible.
Moore, the first African-American to serve as AYAM president, also hopes to convince more minority graduates from the mid-70s through the mid-80s to attend reunions. He can’t explain why, but minority grads from that era are “a disaffected group.” He would like them to renew their connections to Yale because, for most doctors, the medical school experience “is a defining characteristic of them as physicians.”
The medical school will most likely choose a new dean during Moore’s two-year term, to replace David A. Kessler, M.D., who left in June to become dean of the medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. Moore favors choosing “someone who loves the Yale System because of their involvement in it, either as a student or a faculty member, or someone who came, saw and loved.” He and six former presidents of AYAM wrote to university President Richard C. Levin in July suggesting that the new dean should be either a faculty member or a graduate of the School of Medicine. They asked Levin to consider appointing Interim Dean Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., HS ’77, permanently to the post. Spencer, who did his residency at Yale, is a longtime faculty member and former chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.
Research into basic immunology dominates the professional life of Francis M. Lobo, M.D. ’92, AYAM vice president. An assistant professor of medicine at Yale, Lobo studies a protein messenger, the cytokine CD40 ligand, which generates normal antibody responses to infection but also mediates abnormal immunological responses, such as those that cause lupus, atherosclerosis, asthma and rejection of transplanted organs. Lobo hopes that a deeper understanding of CD40 ligand will provide opportunities to treat diseases of deficient or abnormal immunity.
In a subtle way, students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx are beneficiaries of the Yale System. As a member of the school’s admissions committee, AYAM secretary Christine A. Walsh, M.D. ’73, looks for applicants who show creativity and self-motivation, qualities valued at Yale. “I think the Yale System is very successful in the type of doctor it produces,” says Walsh, a pediatric cardiologist on the full-time faculty at Einstein. Her research focuses on abnormal heart rhythms in children. She directs the Pediatric Dysrhythmia Center at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, specializing in cardiac electrophysiology.
AYAM executive committee member Victoria L. Holloway, M.D. ’94, M.P.H., may influence what we find in the beauty aisles at the local pharmacy. A dermatologist, Holloway is assistant vice president for research and development at L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company. In a converted Chicago warehouse, Holloway oversees biologists, physicists and chemists working “to understand the differences across ethnicities of hair and skin.” The findings will be used to design hair and skin-care products.
Executive committee member Robert W. Lyons, M.D. ’64, visits his alma mater several times a month to attend conferences. He is chief of infectious diseases and epidemiology at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and associate clinical professor of medicine at Yale. In the past year he has led seminars for Connecticut county medical societies on SARS, bioterrorism and smallpox.