Annual Meeting
Acclaimed Author Takes Readers Inside Physician's Life
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 8 page 34-34

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 Francisco. FIG1

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 Center.

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, Forbes.com, 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>.

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