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For Release: May 13, 2013
Contact: Derik Hertel, 603-650-1211 or

Dr. Abraham Verghese to Speak at Geisel School of Medicine Class Day
Renowned clinician, teacher and writer will speak to graduating students about the importance of keeping the human touch in medicine

Abraham C. Verghese, MD, MACP

Hanover, N.H.—Abraham C. Verghese, MD, MACP, who places great value on humanism in medical education, is the featured speaker at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth's 2013 Class Day activities, Saturday, June 8, at 9 a.m. in the Class of 1978 Life sciences Center Courtyard. Verghese is professor and senior associate chair for the theory and practice of medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University.

Prior to Class Day, Verghese will participate in Medical Grand Rounds at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, talk with Department of Medicine leadership and will then take part in rounds. He will also meet with residents during a lunch before heading to Geisel-affiliated White River Junction Veteran's Administration Medical Center.

Verghese has long been a leading advocate for the "human touch in medicine" and calls for the return of the traditional one-on-one physical exam, which along with listening to a patient's story is at the heart of the physician/patient relationship. He reminds students that when they shortcut the physical exam, they shortcut the transformative nature of that relationship.

"His work resonates with me," says Joe O'Donnell, MD, professor of medicine and psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine. "He's an advocate for the sanctity of the doctor/patient relationship—he believes that the doctor's touch makes a difference to patients because it conveys the physician's attentiveness and undivided attention."

Also a bestselling author, Verghese's first book, My Own Country, chronicled his work with AIDS patients in rural Tennessee, where he first realized the power of human touch to critically ill patients when little else could be done for them. The book was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and was made into a film of the same title by Mira Nair. His second book, The Tennis Partner, about a friend and tennis partner's struggle with addiction, was a New York Times notable book and a national best seller. His third book, Cutting for Stone—his first work of fiction—was a New York Times Book Review bestseller for more than two years and is currently in film production.

A graduate of Madras Medical College, Verghese was a resident and chief resident in internal medicine at East Tennessee State University and then a fellow in infectious diseases at Boston University. He has been on the faculty of East Tennessee State University, the University of Iowa, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, where he was the founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary and infectious diseases. Verghese is a Master of the American College of Physicians and was elected to the Association of American Physicians as well as the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, founded in 1797, strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The nation's fourth-oldest medical school, the Geisel School of Medicine has been home to many firsts in medical education, research and practice, including the discovery of the mechanism for how light resets biological clocks, creating the first multispecialty intensive care unit, the first comprehensive examination of U.S. health care variations (The Dartmouth Atlas), and helping establish the first Center for Health Care Delivery Science, which launched in 2010. As one of America's top medical schools, Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse health care leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in health care.

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