BUFFALO, N.Y. — Bestselling author Abraham Verghese speaks
and writes about the need to “minister to more than just the
body, but also to the soul.”
With that message attracting attention nationwide, faculty and
students at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences have been eager to get the most out of
Verghese’s April 8 talk through the Just Buffalo Literary
Series. It takes place at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall, 71
Symphony Circle, Buffalo.
To generate interest, especially within the local medical
community, UB partnered with the Just Buffalo Literary Center,
Richard T. Sarkin Foundation and Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy to
host two book club discussion meetings since January in the Frank
Lloyd Wright Martin House Complex.
Nearly 50 participants attended each meeting, led by Linda
Pessar, MD, director of the new UB Center for Medical Humanities,
Richard Cowan, MD, UB professor of neurology and Barbara Cole, PhD,
artistic director of Just Buffalo.
Discussions focused on Verghese’s books, “My Own
Country,” an autobiographical work about his experiences
during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and “Cutting for
Stone,” a novel about a surgeon’s life in Ethiopia.
Medical humanism — in which the goal is not just
eradicating disease but effectively communicating, empathizing and
showing compassion for patients — has been an important focus
of the UB medical school.
In 2012, UB became one of just 10 institutions nationwide chosen
that year by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to create a pilot
chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society for medical residents
and fellows. The UB medical school also is creating innovative
curricula and programs through its recently established Center for
“Thanks to our community collaboration, medical students,
residents, UB faculty, community physicians and booklovers in
general engaged in lively discussions about doctoring and cultural
diversity through literature,” says Roseanne Berger, MD,
associate professor of family medicine and senior associate dean
for graduate medical education in the UB medical school.
Verghese is professor and Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane
Provostial Professor and vice chair for the theory and practice of
medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He was
founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics
at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San
For more information on his April 8 visit, go to