Dr. Samuel Shem will deliver the commencement address, "How to Stay Human in Medicine," when the Boonshoft School of Medicine Class of 2011 graduates on May 27 during ceremonies at the Benjamin and Marion Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton. Samuel Shem, M.D., Ph.D., is the pen name of Stephen Bergman, a doctor, novelist, playwright and activist. A graduate of Harvard (Phi Beta Kappa), a Rhodes scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, and a graduate of Harvard Medical School, he was on the faculty of Harvard for 35 years.
Shem has been described in the press as “easily the finest and most important writer ever to focus on the lives of doctors and the world of medicine,” and “he brings mercy to the practice of medicine.” The Lancet called The House of God, “One of the two most significant medical novels of the 20th century.” Its sequel, Mount Misery, is about training to be a psychiatrist; and Fine follows a psychoanalyst.
His 2008 novel, The Spirit of the Place, about a primary care doctor in a small town, was reviewed as “the perfect bookend to The House of God.” It won the National Best Book Award 2008 in General Fiction and Literature from USA Book News, and the 2009 Independent Publishers National Book Award in Literary Fiction.
With his wife, Janet Surrey, he wrote the off-Broadway hit play Bill W. and Dr. Bob about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, which won the National Council on Alcoholism’s Performing Arts Award in 2007.
They also wrote the nonfiction book, We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men, which won the Boston Interfaith Council’s Paradigm Shift Award in 1999. He lives in Boston and Costa Rica.
For more information about Samuel Shem, visit the Official Web Site of Samuel Shem.