A physician with the skill and sensitivity to translate his compassion for
the sick and suffering into deeply moving works of fiction and nonfiction is
presenting this year's William C. Menninger Memorial Lecture at the
Convocation of Fellows at APA's annual meeting next month in San
Abraham Verghese, M.D., the author of My Own Country: A Doctor's
Story and The Tennis Partner: A Story of Friendship and Loss, is
a professor for the theory and practice of medicine at the Stanford University
School of Medicine and senior associate chair of the Department of Internal
Medicine. His lecture is scheduled for Monday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Hall E
on the Exhibit Level of the Moscone
His newest book is also his first novel, Cutting for Stone,
released earlier this year. It is the tale of Marion Stone and his identical
twin brother, who were born from a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun
and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa in 1954. The story moves from India to
Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City over generations as
Marion, who becomes a doctor, tries to come to terms with his past.
Verghese was born in 1955 of parents who were from India and taught in
Ethiopia. He completed his training at Madras Medical College and came to the
United States for residency. In one of his early New Yorker articles,"
The Cowpath to America," he described his experience as an
international medical graduate who found only the less popular hospitals and
communities open to him.
From 1980 to 1983, he was a resident in Johnson City, Tenn., and then did a
fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine. It was at Boston City
Hospital where he saw the start of the HIV epidemic, and when he returned to
Tennessee, he saw a second wave of the epidemic—in rural areas. He cared
for numerous AIDS patients at a time when little could be done for them and
helped them through early and painful deaths. His experience was
transformative and became the basis for his first book, My Own
Country. The book was one of five chosen as Best Book of the Year by
Time magazine and later made into a movie.
Verghese's interest in writing intensified, and he took time off from
medicine to study at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.
Since then, in addition to the New Yorker and other publications, his
work has appeared in Texas Monthly, Atlantic, New York Times, New York
Times Magazine, Granta,
and the Wall Street Journal.
His next stop was the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas,
where he was a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious
Diseases. During this time, he wrote another bestseller, The Tennis
Partner: A Story of Friendship and Loss, about his friend and tennis
partner's struggle with addiction. It won a "Notable Book"
designation from the New York Times.
"We are privileged, and I am delighted, to have Abraham Verghese,
M.D., as our Convocation speaker for our May meeting," said APA
President Nada Stotland, M.D. "Dr. Verghese is an extraordinarily
talented human being. I have been impressed by his insight, his persistence,
his courage, and his writing since I read his first book, which describes his
experiences as an international medical graduate caring for patients with AIDS
in a small, southern town. He shares the experience of training, practicing,
and living successfully in a country far from where he was born with the many
APA members who treat American patients who might otherwise not have care. He
brings to internal medicine the appreciation for doctor-patient communication
that we psychiatrists nurture and cherish. Don't miss the opportunity to be
enlightened and inspired by Abraham Verghese at the Convocation."
An interview of Verghese on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show"
is posted at<http://wamu.org/programs/dr/09/02/16.php#23625>.▪