What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Named lectures fulfill important role in life of university
What's in a name?

Left to right, Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D.; Malcolm DeCamp, M.D.; and Mark Slaughter, M.D.

As ubiquitous in university life as textbooks, laboratories and parking complaints, the named lectureship is an important component of the education, research, patient care and service provided by the University of Louisville.

“The value of such lectures comes from both the person in whose name the lecture is delivered and the content of the lecture itself,” said Malcolm DeCamp, M.D., chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern University. DeCamp delivered the fifth annual Laman A. Gray Jr., M.D., Lecture in December, organized by UofL’s Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The lecture is named to honor the long-time UofL cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered mechanical hearts and devices and now serves as executive and medical director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute.

“A lecture such as the Laman Gray Lecture provides an opportunity to invite a thought leader in a specific field to provide enrichment to a community of providers they may not have access to,” DeCamp said. “Invited lecturers provide a different perspective, new knowledge and a cross-pollination of thought and ideas. They broaden the horizons of practitioners, trainees and students and give them a glimpse of things coming down the road.”

A former Louisvillian who earned his medical degree at UofL in 1983, DeCamp said he was honored to give a lecture named for Gray. “I grew up there (in Louisville) and know him. He represents the surgeon-scientist-engineer and is known for trying to think of engineering ways to reverse the problems caused by disease,” DeCamp said. “The Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is a bricks-and-mortar testament to the promise he created.

“We physicians all like doctoring and taking care of patients, but he adds the dimension of scientist to it.”

DeCamp’s lecture, “Interventions for Emphysema: Beyond Best Medical Care,” examined the current state of treatments for the disease. While lung volume reduction surgery has been shown to help patients live longer and have a better quality of life, the procedure isn’t as well known among practitioners and therefore isn’t recommended as much as perhaps it should be, he said.

“A 1,200-patient study found that significant patient improvement was durable five years after surgery,” DeCamp said. “Several non-surgical procedures currently show promise but they are as yet unproven. Why don’t we support procedures of excellent efficacy?”

It is a message that Mark Slaughter, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, believes is important to hear.  “Staying abreast of the latest data and research is imperative in the field of cardiovascular surgery,” Slaughter said.

“Events such as the Laman Gray Lecture and speakers who have the credentials of a Malcolm Decamp constitute one important way in which we can help educate our students, residents, faculty and referring physicians on the latest advances and can then translate that knowledge into best practices for our patients.”

The Laman A. Gray Lecture is supported by a generous gift from Hank and Donna Wagner.