Since the dawn of time, once humans acquired the gift of speech, they have felt the need to name everything and everyone in their immediate world. While doing research for an Osher course I am teaching on ancient historians, I learned that the Romans used three names for most people. The first was the praenomen (first name), the second was the gens (family name), and the third was the cognomen (common name) by which the individual was called. The cognomen was based on either some physical characteristic or on some momentous deed, such as a military victory. Thus, the famous Julius Caesar’s full name was Gaius (praenomen) Julius (of the Julian family) Caesar (“fine head of hair”).… Read more

As we enter a new era of the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of a vaccine booster at this time remain uncertain. The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) usually result in creating high antibody titers for at least six months in immunocompetent hosts. After that, it appears that the antibody titer may start to wane. However, it remains unclear if these titers directly correlate with protection, since other aspects of the immune system also are stimulated by these vaccines. In those who have underlying immunosuppression, including transplant recipients and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the antibody response is often less robust. Because of their relatively poor antibody response, the FDA recently approved an additional booster vaccine dose for individuals with solid organ transplants or equivalent immunosuppressed status. … Read more

In a moment of cynical excess a few months ago, I speculated that Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss would be the next victims of the cancellation/bowdlerizing culture.

Then, like millions of parents and grandparents worldwide, I was shocked and disappointed when Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would cease publication of six of his picture books because of depictions it now deems “hurtful and wrong.”

Geisel was not a physician, but added “doctor” to his middle name as his pen name and was a prominent figure on the Dartmouth campus as an undergraduate. (Full disclosure: my de facto godfather was his classmate, and I am a graduate of Dartmouth College and of its medical school.)… Read more

Sometimes in the pediatric ophthalmology clinic, things just don’t go my way. While we all love our patients, some of them can be a little (OK, a lot) more draining than others: the uncooperative 6-year-old who could read the smallest line of the eye chart in 10 seconds last time, but decides to stubbornly dig in his heels and make me beg for every Snellen letter over 15 agonizingly slow and oppositionally defiant minutes. Next door is the 4-year-old with supposed low tone who suddenly has more strength (and appendages) than John Cena when I try to put eyedrops in. Should it really take four of us to put eyedrops in this kiddo?Read more

February 14, years ago, my wife and I made an early exit from a Heinz Hall Pops Concert. We wanted to beat the crowd to the parking garage elevators. I was wearing only a sport coat and tie with my stethoscope still in my pocket as I had made a late exit from the office and deferred dinner. 

We succeeded and stepped into one of the elevators as it left with only the two of us. As the door opened on a top floor, my wife saw a man from the adjacent elevator collapse in the exit area. I stepped out and saw he was not moving.… Read more

Patricia L. Bononi, MD, FACP
2021 ACMS president

Dr. Bononi received her bachelor of science degree from Georgetown University. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Mellitus.

Dr. Bononi is the medical director of the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Center for Diabetes since 2013. She has been site Principal Investigator for more than 20 clinical trials testing medications for diabetes mellitus.

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Executive Committee …………..5
COVID-19 vaccines: Protect yourself, protect your loved ones and help return our world to a better place
Raymond E. Pontzer, MD, FACP

Editorial ………………………………6
Lessons for ‘the After’
Deval (Reshma) Paranjpe, MD, MBA, FACS

Editorial ……………………………..7
Finding my niche – training to be a physician scientist
Andrea G. Witlin, DO, PhD

Editorial ……………………………..9
Disruptive technology
Richard H. Daffner, MD, FACR

Perspective ………………………12
‘The Few’
Timothy Lesaca, MD

Perspective ………………………14
Symbolism in American political parties:
How a donkey and an elephant came to represent Democrats and Republicans
Kris Gopal, MD


Membership Benefits …………16
Society News …………………….18
• Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society
• Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division
Activities & Accolades ……….20
Classifieds ………………………..20

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HERSHEY, Pa. – Lawrence R. John, MD, has spent more than 40 years helping his patients stay healthy. As president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), he aims to help his physician colleagues improve their health as well.

Dr. John, a family medicine physician from Pittsburgh, was sworn in as the 170th president of PAMED on Saturday night during a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge. He practices with Drs John Chantz Biedrzycki & Associates-UPMC and was named one of “Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors” by Pittsburgh Magazine in both 2017 and 2018.

He has held numerous state and county leadership positions during his 41 years in organized medicine, including president and chair of the Allegheny County Medical Society.

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