Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Delivers Annual Bourne Lecture at St. George’s University

Dr. Robert Johnson MD, Dean of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, delivers the 23rd annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture.

The success of an institution and its personnel can hinge on the professional culture it creates, this according to Dr. Robert L. Johnson, The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and keynote speaker at the 23rd Annual Geoffrey Bourne Memorial Lecture.

Dr. Johnson, who also serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at NJMS, gave the presentation titled “Professionalism in Health Care” at Charter Hall before dozens of hospital administrators who were attending SGU’s annual clinical meetings.

“I think that in these days, it is one of the most important things that we can do,” Dr. Johnson said. “We need to be in charge of that. Many of the things that we used to be in charge of, we aren’t in charge of anymore. Only the profession can adequately define professionalism, set the standards, and make sure that we all adhere to them.”

The Latin phrase “primum non nocere” – or “first, do no harm” – is still the bedrock of the profession, but increased attention is devoted to creating and maintaining a professional workplace, and teaching the principles outlined in “Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter,” a groundbreaking research study conducted by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, the American College of Physicians (ACP)-American Society of Internal Medicine (ASIM) Foundation, and the European Federation of Internal Medicine in 2002. The Charter consisted of three fundamental principles – primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy, and social justice – as well as 10 commitments ranging from honesty and confidentiality to professional competence and improving access to care.

Such commitments to the profession start at the top and are passed down to students not only through communication but observation, what Dr. Johnson called “the hidden curriculum.”

“What students really learn from their professors is not only based on what they say but what they do,” Dr. Johnson said. “They learn to be doctors as a result of mimicking what you do – how you talk to your patients, how you handle problems, how you handle mistakes, and how you talk to each other.”

He also stressed the importance of setting expectations for students through ceremonial events, written documents, and training, with assessments and remediation done based on their performance.

“People come to us with a variety of experiences and backgrounds that determine how they will acquire and administer new material,” Dr. Johnson said. “You must have a process for identifying problems and remediating them.”

In addition to his roles at NJMS, Dr. Johnson chairs the New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Related Blood-Borne Pathogens, as well as the Newark Ryan White Planning Council. He has previously served as the President of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, the Chair of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Council on Graduate Medical Education. Dr. Johnson joins a decorated list of Bourne speakers that includes Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and neurology pioneer Lord Walton of Detchant. The lecture series is named for St. George’s University’s first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Geoffrey H. Bourne, an educator, scientist, writer, and visionary who helped guide the University in its early development.

14th Annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Lecture Held on February 11

bourne lecture fred jacobsOn Monday, February 11 Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, keynote speaker for the Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture, delivered a presentation to the St. Goerge’s University community that echoed the University’s distinct academic and moral purpose. Since its inception, SGU and its faculty have instilled a cultural awareness and sensitivity in the student body that is unique to this institution.

As St. George’s University’s diverse student body continues to expand, with the most recent incoming SOM class originating from 26 countries, Dr. Jacobs’ lecture, which addressed the need for “Cultural Competence in Health Care,” was both relevant and timely.

Dr. Jacobs has long been a public health advocate, working diligently on numerous public awareness campaigns to educate the community on issues ranging from Rapid HIV testing, postpartum depression, flu pandemic preparedness, childhood obesity and the toxic effects of second-hand smoke.

Under his leadership as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services from December 2004 through December 2007, the landmark Smoke-Free Act, one of the most significant public health achievements in New Jersey history, was signed into law.  Dr. Jacobs’ greatest priority as Commissioner was the reduction of health disparities among minority and multicultural populations, for which he established numerous influential initiatives.

As Dr. Jacobs addressed the audience, he drew upon his experience and conveyed the critical need to “develop a system and workforce that delivers the highest quality care to every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural background or linguistic needs.”  He explained that the demographic changes in the United States anticipated over the next decade substantiates the importance of addressing the disparities in health care, with specific attention to the poor health status of individuals effected by lower income, language barriers and cultural differences.  Minority and multicultural populations in the United States have experienced an increase of potentially avoidable procedures like amputations, treatment of late-stage cancer, unnecessary hospitalizations and untreated disease.

Dr. Jacobs emphasized that improved patient-physician communication on a national level will help combat the major changes in the way health care is delivered and financed.  This can be achieved through the use of interpreters, offering linguistically appropriate health education workshops and materials, employing multi-lingual care workers and offering cross-cultural training for providers.

Dr. Jacobs cited New Jersey’s initiatives, which have been designed and implemented to provide cross-cultural resources to its diverse population.  New Jersey executed the first state law requiring cultural competence education, whereby medical schools must provide cultural competency training as a condition for diploma.  This formal requirement is one step toward achieving a new standard for health care which delivers consistent quality care to patients, regardless of socioeconomic and cultural difference.

Before his terms as Commissioner, Dr. Jacobs spent 35 years in various executive and management positions in the Saint Barnabas Health Care System.  He joined the staff at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in 1969 as Chief of Pulmonary Disease.  He also served as Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit and was elected President of the Medical Staff in 1987.  Subsequently, he became Senior Vice President followed by Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs.  He is now the Executive Vice President and Director, Quality Institute, Saint Barnabas Health Care System.

Dr. Jacobs received his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He trained in internal medicine at Maimonides Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.  He completed a pulmonary research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and a Chief Residency in pulmonary disease at Kings County Hospital Center in New York. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Disease. In 1990, Dr. Jacobs graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Jacobs has also held many faculty positions, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Legal Medicine.

For Dr. Fred Jacobs Complete Keynote Address…

The Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture is dedicated to the memory of Geoffrey H. Bourne, Phil, DSc (1909-1988), the first Vice Chancellor of St. George’s University (1978-1988).  Dr. Bourne was an educator, scientist, writer and visionary.  His professional life was spent largely in England and the United States, where he was Professor and Chairman of Anatomy at Emory University, Atlanta and then Director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Center at Emory.

As Vice Chancellor, Dr. Bourne played an outstanding role in the early development of St. George’s University, guiding its growth with a determined and steady hand.

Professor Ian McConnell Delivers the Thirteenth Annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture

Professor Ian McConnell Balck and White PortraitThe Thirteenth Annual Bourne Lecture was delivered by Professor Ian McConnell on the evening of February 12, 2007 at the True Blue campus in Grenada.  Professor McConnell presented on the topic: One Medicine: A Continuum of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, focusing on the interplay between the three fields.

The lecture drew upon Professor McConnell’s distinguished career in research, specifically in the immunology of infectious diseases of animals and man.  One Medicine has been a consistent theme of his extensive research and teaching.  Throughout his research career he has exploited uniqueness offered by animal physiology and animal disease problems to gain insights into basic aspects of immunology and pathology of diseases importance to both veterinary and comparative medicine.

Professor McConnell is Professor of Veterinary Science and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, England.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, and Professorial Fellow at Darwin College Cambridge.  He graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow and in Natural Sciences (Pathology) from the University of Cambridge.  He carried out his doctoral studies (PhD) in immunology in the laboratory of Prof. RRA Coombs in the Department of Pathology, Cambridge.

Professor McConnell has 150 scientific publications which focus on studies on the immune system in health and disease, with particular focus on infectious diseases of man and animals including zoonotic diseases transmissible to man.  He was principal author of two editions of a highly successful book on the Immune System – a major undergraduate textbook in immunology.

He has made many fundamental discoveries on the immune system, particularly in the area of membrane receptors on lymphocytes, the role of the complement system in viral immunity lymphocyte physiology, and unique studies on immunity and pathogenesis of a naturally occurring ruminant lentivirus (maedi visna virus – MVV) – which is a prototype AIDS virus.  His research has provided unique insights into immune physiology and the pathogenesis of lentiviral infections of man and animals.  His current research is on the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is focused on the mechanisms whereby prions which cause scrapie in sheep are able to invade the central nervous system.

Professor McConnell is recognized as an authority on infectious diseases of livestock, and through chairmanship and membership of several key Government and Royal Society Committees in animal and human health, has played a leading role in top-level Government Committees dealing with BSE, the Royal Society’s Inquiry into Foot and Mouth Disease, and more recently the Nuffield Council Inquiry on the ethics of research involving animals.  He was chairman of the Vaccination Subgroup for the Royal Society’s Inquiry  into Foot and Mouth Disease which led to the UK Government’s decision that emergency vaccination would be used in any future outbreak of FMD in the UK.  This is a major policy shift for the UK Animal Health Authorities.  As a member of the UK’s main advisory committee on spongiform encephalopathies (SEAC), he has been involved in scientific and advisory issues relating to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) of animals and man.  He has also had a widespread involvement with the food industry through his expertise in diseases transmitted to man through the food chain.

For a synopsis of Prof. McConnell’s lecture “One Medicine: A Continuum of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science” please see: Bourne Lecture.

Published 2/20/2007

Dr. Charles Weissmann Delivers Twelfth Bourne Lecture

Professor Charles Weissmann, MD, PhD, FRS, was the Twelfth Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecturer at SGU. Hoards of eager listeners – physicians, professors, students, administrators – packed into the Bourne Theatre on February 16, 2006, to hear this renowned biochemist talk of “Of Mad Cows, Mice and Men.”

Dr Charles Weissmann Black and White PortraitDr. Weissmann presented an account of the research work that has led to the conclusion that several diseases, namely scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, fatal familial insomnia, Kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, are caused by lethal infectious proteins called prions. In his lecture he gave numerous examples of his own research findings that have improved our understanding of these important prion-induced diseases.

One of the world’s leading pioneers of modern biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Weissmann has contributed significantly to the elucidation of the life cycle of RNA bacteriophages, developed site-directed mutagenesis and reverse genetics, and was the first to clone and express human alpha-interferon genes in E.coli. He has made breakthroughs in the investigations of diseases induced by prions that affect animals and humans. He has been internationally recognized and he has received numerous awards and honors for his work. Dr. Weissmann began his career with doctoral degrees in both medicine and organic chemistry from Zurich University in Switzerland.

Dr. Weissman’s lecture was comprehensive, eloquent, and witty – a fitting memorial to Dr. Bourne. Dr. Geoffrey H. Bourne, the first Vice Chancellor of SGU, was an educator, scientist, writer and visionary, who played an exceptional role in the early development of SGU, guiding its growth with a determined and steady hand.

SGU was honored to have Dr. Weissmann join its distinguished list of Bourne Lecturers.

Published on 03/02/2006

Dr. John J. Cush Delivers Eleventh Annual Bourne Lecture

A St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate, Dr. John J. Cush has gone on to become Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Medical Director of the Arthritis Center of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, and a Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. His 2004 lecture was titled “Direct to Consumer Advertising of Medical Products.”

10th Annual Bourne Lecture Delivered by Sir Graeme Robertson Dawson Catto

Sir Graeme Catto, MD, DSc, FRCP, FmedSci, FRSE, currently serves as President of the General Medical Council in the United Kingdom.  He is also Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen and Consultant Nephrologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.  He gave his 2003 lecture titled “The Function of the GMC in the United Kingdom.”

9th Annual Bourne Lecture Delivered by Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior

The distinguished microbiologist and parasitologist Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, MRCVS, DVSM, MA, C.Biol., F.I. Biol., DSc (Hon), has been a Fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge since 1978, and was Professor of Animal Pathology at the University of Cambridge from 1978 to 1993.  His 2002 lecture was titled “Veterinary Medicine – A Comparative Science.”

8th Annual Bourne Lecture Delivered by Dr. William H. Foege

William H. Foege, MD, MPH, joined the CDC in and was director from 1977 – 1983.  He also served as executive director of the Carter Center from 1986 – 1992, and now serves as Senior Medical Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.  His 2001 lecture was titled “Public Health in the 21st Century.”

7th Annual Bourne Lecture Delivered by Dr. Russ Zajtchuk

Russ Zajtchuk, MD, FACS, is currently president of Chicago Hospitals International. For more than 27 years, he served in various positions in the US Army, most recently as commanding general of the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, MD.  His 2000 lecture was titled “Humanitarian Assistance and Telehealth in Central America.”

6th Annual Bourne Lecture Delivered by Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD

Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos is President of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for World Health in Washington, DC.  Her 1999 lecture was titled “Evolutionary Aspects of Diet and Essential Fatty Acids.”