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Blowing smoke, Medical app, Death of immortality, Medical staff scholar, Where in the world are you?, In memoriam
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Blowing smoke

Five decades after surgeon general's report on smoking, a new documentary by SOM alumnus Alan Blum questions progress

The first thing to flash on the screen is, "Surgeon general's warning: this film may be hazardous to your preconceptions."

This is closely followed by two iconic cigarette commercials. In the first, a tan curtain is drawn and a bellhop named Johnny Roventini emerges in his signature red short-jacket to pipe out, "Call for Phillip Morris!" The second shows a distinguished gentleman in a white coat exhaling a cloud of smoke while a voice proclaims, "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette."

Alan BlumAlan Blum 75M released his 23-minute documentary, Blowing Smoke: The Lost Legacy of the Surgeon General's Report, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. A physician and professor of family medicine at the University of Alabama, Blum wanted to document "the fear, foot-dragging, and squandering of funds on the part of public health agencies, universities, and organized medicine alike in ending the smoking pandemic."

He formalized his fight against the then-$700-million-a-year cigarette industry ad campaigns when he founded the international physicians anti-smoking organization Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) in 1977.

"Emory and its faculty, notably Dr. Brigitte Nahmias, played a huge role in inspiring me to organize other medical students and physicians to confront the tobacco industry and its allies," he says. Blum served as editor of the New York State Journal of Medicine and the Medical Journal of Australia, and published the first-ever theme issues of any medical journal devoted entirely to the fight against tobacco.

His collection of 75 years of tobacco artifacts and memorabilia is housed at the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, which he directs. Blum has given nearly 2,000 presentations on smoking-related issues, spoken at medical schools across the country, and received the Surgeon General's Medallion from C. Everett Koop. "The most addictive thing about tobacco," he says, "is money." By Nicholas Goodwin

Watch "Blowing Smoke" at


Liver appNew Emory Liver App

Everything you ever wanted to know about the liver (and more)

The liver is a wondrous two-lobed filtering and detoxifying machine—but it's hard to visualize in 3-D.

Enter the Liver Anatomy iPad app, which uses a Unity3D gaming engine and is for sale in the iTunes app store ($3). Created by an Emory team including Keith Delman, director of the Carlos and Davis Center for Surgical Anatomy and Techniques, surgical oncologist Shishir Maithel, and medical illustrators Michael Konomos and Andy Matlock, the app allows users to form a mental map of the liver's anatomy. From surgical trainees to medical students and professors, users can rotate the color-coded liver with one finger, zoom in, tap for labels, and watch more than 12 minutes of liver videos. "This gives you an in-depth tour of the liver with an experienced liver surgeon as your guide," says Konomos.


Death of immortalityAlumni Book: Death of Immortality?

Dr. Steve Marshall lives in a utopian society where death has been all but eliminated by advances in medical technology and patient care is provided by robots. One day, however, a trauma victim dies—the first human death in centuries.  Was it murder? The Death of Immortality is a medical thriller by physician J. M. Cobb 97MR.


Amir ShiraziMedical Staff Scholar

At Doctors' Day on March 30, which marks the anniversary of Dr. Crawford Long's first administration of anesthesia, the inaugural $20,000 Emory Healthcare Medical Staff Scholarship, created to honor EHC staff and to cultivate physician leadership, was awarded to first-year medical student Amir Taasoob Shirazi. Shirazi, a Georgia native, decided to become a doctor when his mother was treated for esophageal cancer at Emory. His sisters, Katayun and Shiva, also graduated from Emory SOM.


Patty Schiff 88M 91MRSOM Alumni: Where in the world are you?

Patty Schiff 88M 91MR, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at Emory, has been a ship's physician with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic for 15 years.

She's traveled to remote locations such as the Antarctic, Arctic, Baja California, Panama, and Costa Rica. She spends about a month away—usually two to three voyages at a time, taking care of 250 people. There are an average of 150 guests, 100 crew, officers, natural history staff, a photographer, global luminaries, and researchers. The ship's doctor takes care of all of their medical needs, from routine to acute. Patty's daughter, Julia, joined her for a voyage to Antarctica a few months before beginning her first year at Emory SOM. Patty's husband, Art Schiff 81M, completing his neurology training in 1985. Patty is a member of Emory's Medical Alumni Board.


Are you doing interesting work in, say, rural Kentucky, New York City, Jakarta, or Taipei?

Let us know where you are and what you're doing with a quick email (and photo!) to the editor:


John Culbertson 78M 83MRIn Memoriam

John Culbertson 78M 83MR, of Atlanta, died in a private plane crash on Dec. 2, 2013.

During 27 years at Emory, he worked as a faculty member and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery services at Grady Hospital. He was an associate professor of surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, chief in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Grady and Emory University Hospital Midtown, and section chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three children.

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