Dinner & Dialogue: Students, faculty discuss melanoma over dinner Discussion inspired by Summer Read book The Emperor of All Maladies By Kristen O’Reilly UMass Medical School Communications
How do you get 400 students from three different schools talking about the same subject over dinner in a huge tent? Start by giving them all the same Pulitzer Prize-winning book to read over the summer, one that deals with a subject (cancer) that affects physicians-, researchers- and nurses-in-training, and add faculty members to give an academic perspective using examples of actual research and clinical applications at UMass Medical School. Top it off with a shared meal and small group discussions with facilitators, and you get “Dinner and Dialogue.” The well-attended, student-centered event, which took place on Wednesday, Sept. 14, featured faculty presentations and a discussion focused on the cancer melanoma. The subject was inspired by the Summer Read book The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD, who will be a guest speaker at Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 15. In introducing the speakers, Chancellor Michael F. Collins said this was exactly the type of event that was envisioned when Dinner & Dialogue was created. “We hoped an engaged community would come together around a subject of importance to all of us,” said Chancellor Collins. “And that, as a community of faculty and students, we would have a meaningful dialogue.” Presenting at the discussion were Craig Ceol, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine, and Michael R. Green, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Lambi and Sarah Adams Chair in Genetic Research and professor of molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology. Alan G. Rosmarin, MD, the Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology and professor of medicine, moderated. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, details the history of cancer from its initial documented appearance thousands of years ago to the current struggle to understand and fight it at the molecular level. In its citation, the Pulitzer Prize board called to the book “an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.” Dr. Mukherjee is currently assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a physician on staff at Columbia University Medical Center.