EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
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the MSM departments of surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine.
Reports back from the student participants in both
programs were uniformly positive. One student wrote
that the ROEO program “exceeded my expectations by
tenfold.” This young man said he viewed the program
as “a chance of a lifetime,” noting that he was able to
see cardiothoracic and hernia operations performed
and to be introduced to surgery at the same time and
in the same way as third-year medical students. Other
students also expressed their enthusiasm, appreciation,
and wonder for the work of surgeons and other health
care professionals. They also remarked on the incredible pride they feel when wearing the white coats they
received at graduation and the boundless appreciation they feel toward the faculty who mentored them
through the program.
Another highlight of the lectureship was the welcoming remarks offered by Ed W. Childs, MD,
FACS, professor of trauma and critical care and chair,
department of surgery, who invited me to the event.
I commend Dr. Childs for his outstanding vision and
focus on diversity. Under his leadership, the department of surgery has begun implementing a strategic
plan to fulfill the MSM mission, including the mentorship program.
After a case presentation by MSM’s two surgery
department chief residents—Carl Lokko, MD, and
Ruben Burbank, MD—Daniel E. Dawes, JD, MSM’s
executive director of government affairs, president’s
office, led a discussion on health policy and its effects
on quality and equity. He specifically addressed the
impact of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare
Access and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act with respect to reducing
disparities in care among vulnerable populations. He
also addressed the challenges in implementing many
of the provisions aimed at improving health care for
underserved patients in Georgia.
Shaneeta Johnson, MD, FACS, associate professor
of surgery, spoke on health care disparities and dis-
ease management, particularly treatment for morbid
obesity among underserved populations. In addition,
Jacquelyn Turner, MD, FACS, assistant professor of
colon and rectal surgery, discussed undergraduate
medical education and its effects on residency training.
A more equitable future
As many of you may know, Aubre de Lambert Maynard, MD, is the chief of surgery with whom John
Cordice, Jr., MD, FACS, and Emil Naclerio, MD, consulted when they operated on Martin Luther King,
Jr., PhD, after the civil rights leader was stabbed by
a mentally ill woman in 1958 in Harlem, New York,
NY. It is only fitting that Morehouse should sponsor
a lectureship in honor of the surgeon who saved the
life of one the school’s most distinguished alumni. It
further follows that this lectureship program focuses
on the themes that Dr. King promoted: equality
for people of all races, colors, and creeds, as well as
access to health care services for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Participation in the 27th Aubre de Lambert Maynard Lectureship was a humbling and moving experience. It is exciting to see the health care community
in Atlanta pull together with surgeon leadership to
actively try to overcome the challenges associated
with improving diversity and eliminating disparities. I believe the ROEO program and the research
and public policy work that is being carried out at
MSM will have profound long-term effects on health
care in Georgia, and I encourage surgeons who are
interested in diversity and variations in care to further explore these efforts and to implement similar
models in their communities. ♦
What really struck me during the course of this
experience was the commitment of the surgeon leaders
to fulfilling this mission. Particularly impressive is a
mentoring program for talented high school students
who have an interest in pursuing a health care career.