History of the Paris Simulation Center
Dr. John Paris with a mannequin used to train medical students.
Dr. John Paris Jr. devoted himself to saving lives, first caring for wounded soldiers in World War II, and then serving New Albany families for more than 40 years.
With a gift to create the region’s first patient simulation lab for medical students, his legacy of caring has continued. The Dr. John M. and Dorothy Paris Simulation Center, named for Paris and his wife, gives students at the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine the tools they need to become better doctors. Paris gave $500,000 to establish the center, which opened in October 2001. The center remains one of the busiest simulation centers in the world, with over 4,500 learners each year.
"The center’s state-of-the-art computer-controlled mannequins mimic human responses in an amazingly realistic manner", says Mike Goodrow, past director of the center. "Instructors can program the simulators to produce various vital signs or heart sounds—even respond to anesthesia and drugs."
The main purpose of the simulators is to give students hands-on experience in a variety of scenarios—including emergency situations—without compromising the safety of a real patient. With the simulators, students can be presented with situations and patients, then treat those patients, long before they would in practice. “We have third year students treating septic shock” says Goodrow. “That doesn’t happen in the real world.”
That her father chose to give to education is no surprise to daughter Marion Paris Mariott. The Parises shared a passion for education, and stressed its importance to their two children.
The Parises were high-school sweethearts at New Albany High School. John received his bachelor’s degree in English and biology from Vanderbilt University. Dorothy (Smith) earned her nursing degree from the old St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Louisville. The couple was married June 9, 1939.
The day after he graduated from U of L medical school on June 3, 1941, Paris signed up for the service as a medical officer in the Army Reserve Medical Corps. His first practical medical experience after an internship at Indianapolis City Hospital was tending the battle-wounded in Africa and training flight personnel to tend to their own wounded during World War II.
Discharged on Jan. 6, 1946, Paris returned to New Albany and established a private practice in the old Paris family home, 600 E. Main St., with the help of his wife. The 1840s building had once been the residence of Dr. John Sloan, first president of the Indiana State Medical Association.
Dorothy worked as nurse in the office for nine years before their two children were born. After a “35-year maternity leave,” according to her husband, she returned as an office manager.
From 1946 to 1989, Paris treated thousands of southern Indiana patients. He delivered more than 3,000 babies, brought the first polio vaccine to New Albany in 1955 and co-founded Floyd Memorial Hospital in 1953 when the county outgrew its only hospital, St. Edward’s.
In addition to his work as a medical doctor, Paris has had wide impact in New Albany in a variety of fields.
“It would be quite enough of a measurement of a man to say that he delivered 3,000 babies in one community, but my father succeeded in so many other areas,” said his daughter, Marion Paris Marriott. “He founded a hospital, dabbled in politics, served on insurance and banking boards, was a member of the New Albany-Floyd County public school board, and in his spare time earned his pilot license and became quite a golfer and woodworker.”
Paris also co-founded the Professional Arts Building on State Street in the 1965. In the early 1960s, New Albany’s Spring Street had become a “doctors’ row,” with offices for most of the city’s 30 doctors. Eight of the medical doctors, including Paris, two dentists and one contractor joined together to form the PAB.
The Parises were married for 59 years before Dorothy passed away in 1996. Dr. Paris passed away in 2004. Their daughter, Marion Paris Marriott, is an associate professor emeritus of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at University of Alabama; their son, John M. Paris III, is a cardiovascular surgeon at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville, Ind., and CorVasc in Indianapolis.
Page updated 6/30/2008