Louis Rice, M.D., Delivers Watanakunakorn Lecture

Last week, the distinguished infectious disease physician/researcher Louis Rice, M.D. visited the NEOMED campus from Brown University. He spoke at Watanakunakorn Auditorium to the second-year students in the College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy as well as faculty members in both clinical and basic science departments at NEOMED on the topic of “Pushing the Envelope: The Increasing Problem of Antimicrobial Resistance in Gram-Negative Pathogens.”

watanakunakorn3Dr. Rice appeared as the featured speaker for this year’s Watanakunakorn Lecture, named for the late Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, M.D., of Youngstown, Ohio, whose family in 2004 presented NEOMED (then called Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine) with the largest charitable gift in the College’s history. Dr. Watanakunakorn was hospital epidemiologist and chief of infectious diseases at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown as well as a professor of internal medicine at NEOMED.

The Joukowsky Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island, Dr. Rice serves as Physician-in-Chief of Rhode Island Hospital and the Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University and attended medical school at Columbia University.

watanakunakorn2The Watanakunakorn’s gift of more than $3 million supports the Watanakunakorn Lectureship. In addition, it supports research and teaching facilities in the Dr. Chatrchai and Eleanor Watanakunakorn Medical Research Building and in Watanakunakorn Auditorium, as well as the endowed chair in microbiology and immunology held by Watanakunakorn Chair and Professor of Integrative Medical Sciences Ping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.   

watanakunakorn1A dinner the night before the lecture honored Dr. Watanakunakorn’s family. That evening, Dr. Rice shared his experience in working with Dr. Chatrchai Watanakunakorn and recognized his significant contribution to the field of infectious disease. Jay Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED, thanked members of Dr. Watanakunakorn’s family—wife Eleanor, son Paul (’98) and daughter-in-law Amanda—for their generosity and strong support to the medical education at NEOMED. Paula Rote, a third-year student in the College of Medicine at NEOMED, spoke movingly about her positive experience in studying at NEOMED. She also expressed her gratitude for the Watanakunakorn family’s support of medical education.

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