Cover of Vital Signs Fall 2014
From the Dean: Fall 2014
photo of dean bowman

In this edition of Vital Signs, we tackle a tough issue—the increase in heroin and prescription drug abuse and deaths, both locally and nationwide. There are no easy answers to this national epidemic, but researchers and physicians at the Boonshoft School of Medicine are working with officials at the state and local levels to fully understand the problem in an effort to develop better policies and treatment options.

We also highlight another epidemic that many had feared would threaten our nation—Ebola. Currently raging in Western Africa, this terrifying disease seemed to be making a beachhead in the United States, raising alarms nationwide. But our strong public health system has managed to contain the threat before it exploded. You can read about the local and statewide response and the role played by our Master of Public Health program in creating and maintaining our region’s strong public health system.

In other stories, you’ll meet Debra Mayes, a neuroscientist and faculty member who overcame a massive stroke at the age of 28 to continue her research into neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. You’ll also learn about second-year student Aaron Palmer, who grew up in a housing project in Akron and taught himself auto repair to pay for his undergraduate degree and pursue his dream of medical school. Now one of our top-ranked students, he hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

And finally, it was my joy to sit down with several of our outstanding women faculty members for a lively discussion about women in medicine in conjunction with the AMA’s Women in Medicine month in September.

Thank you all for your generous support of the Boonshoft School of Medicine. I wish you a wonderful holiday with family and friends and look forward to working with you in the new year.

Marjorie A. Bowman, M.D., M.P.A.

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Age-old question: How old is your skeleton?

For some children, finding out how mature their skeleton is and whether they’re done growing is critical.
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The Needle and the Damage Done

The lowest point in Jack Lunderman’s drug-use career came when he injected heroin into his wrist and died.
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Health care in the heartland

“In some rural practices, our physician population is aging. We realize we have to replace ourselves.”
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Child's Play

This project has conducted annual visits to elementary schools throughout Dayton since 1996.
Ronald Markert, Ph.D.
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Wright State University Board of Trustees has awarded the rank of University Professor to Ronald J. Markert, Ph.D. Trained as an educational psychologist, Markert has over 40 years of experience in U.S. medical schools, including 28 years at the Boonshoft School of Medicine (from 1980 to 2000 and from 2006 to 2014).

Markert is currently professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine and holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation.

Col. Kent McDonald
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Department of Psychiatry assistant professor recognized with highest award in aerospace medicine

The Aerospace Medical Association named Col. Kent McDonald, M.D., the recipient of the Raymond F. Longacre Award, the highest award in aerospace medicine, for advancing the understanding of aviator personality, unique environmental stressors, and their impact on optimal performance.

Margaret Bowman, M.D.
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Wright State University & Premier Health Neuroscience Institute, together with Dayton Children's Hospital, have announced the affiliation of Dayton Children's with the institute to boost pediatric neuroscience research in the region and enhance pediatric care.

Dayton Children 's clinicians and researchers will formally participate in a broad range of research and educational programs with the members of the Wright State University & Premier Health Neuroscience Institute.

Gary LeRoy, M.D.
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) has honored Gary L. LeRoy, M.D., with its 2014 Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.

LeRoy has been practicing medicine for 22 years. He serves as associate dean for student affairs and admissions and associate professor of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and as a staff physician at Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton/East Dayton Health Center.

Rise.Shine logo
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Wright State announces $150 million fundraising campaign featuring Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks

Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks will help lead a $150 million fundraising campaign for Wright State University that promises to further elevate the school's prominence by expanding scholarships, attracting moretop-flight faculty, and supporting construction of state-of-the-art facilities.

Alan P. Marco
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Alan P. Marco, M.D., M.M.M., FACPE, president and CEO of Wright State Physicians, was one of three new members to be elected to the 2014-2015 board of directors of the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).

Marco also serves as associate dean for faculty and clinical affairs at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

The ACPE's board nominating committee reviewed more than 60 applications. The nominating committee selected Marco and two other candidates, and APCE members overwhelming approved the nominees in an online election in March.

photo of faculty members with an award
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

For the second year in a row, the Boonshoft School of Medicine received an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Top 10 Award for its consistent contributions to building the family physician workforce.

The award was presented in May during the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Spring Conference in San Antonio. Each year, the AAFP presents its Family Medicine Top 10 Awards to honor medical schools that-during a three-year period- graduated the greatest percentage of students who chose first-year family medicine residency positions.

Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Timothy Broderick, M.D., has been named chief scientist at the Wright State Research Institute (WSRI), where he will be responsible for growing the institute’s portfolio for basic and applied research and development.

photo of valerie brodbeck
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

See Valerie Brodbeck run.

See her run through the woods on Wright State’s campus, through Sugarcreek MetroPark on another day, or on the streets of Oakwood on yet another. Watch the long-haired brunette, fit as a decathlete, run hard and focused, pushing through stress and pain, some 40 miles a week, always moving forward, forward, forward, leaving her drug life and heroin addiction in the dust.

photo of debra ann mayes
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

A massive stroke at age 28 gives neuroscientist Debra Ann Mayes unique insight into recovering from nerve damage

When she was seven years old, Debra Ann Mayes found a daddy longlegs with a couple of legs missing. She kept it alive in the backyard of her home in the Ohio River town of Jeffersonville, Indiana, feeding it flies. When the insect’s legs grew back, she was amazed.

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Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Dean Bowman leads roundtable discussion about women in medicine

In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., became the first woman to earn a U.S. medical degree. Since then, women have been changing the face of medicine.

Each September, the American Medical Association (AMA) celebrates Women in Medicine Month, honoring influential women physician leaders. This year’s theme, “Women in Medicine: Innovators and Leaders Changing Health Care,” reaffirmed the AMA’s commitment to increasing the influence of women physicians and advocating for women’s health issues.

photo of the ebola virus
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The largest Ebola epidemic in history began with the death of a small boy named Emile in southern Guinea near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa.

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Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Boonshoft School of Medicine offers a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree program tailored for working public health and other health services professionals in southwestern Ohio who serve more than 2.8 million residents.

The program is designed for in-career professionals as well as traditional undergraduate students, said James Ebert, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., program director.

Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The culmination of four intense years of sacrifice, sleepless nights, dedication, and just plain hard work pay off in an instant when the Match Day envelope is opened, Kimberly Grannis and her husband, Mike, react when they learn where she will spend the next years of her life as a resident physician. Photo by Will Jones

photo of a professor and students in a lab
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Master’s degree students in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology are making discoveries that have the potential to save limbs and reduce kidney failure in diabetes patients.

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Vital Signs » Fall 2014

A year ago, Melanie Raffoul, M.D., was the chief resident of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Family Residency Program. But today, she is working on health policy and teaching at Georgetown University as one of two people nationwide selected for the 2014-15 Robert L. Phillips Jr. Health Policy Fellowship, a joint research and clinical fellowship program between the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care and Georgetown University.

photo of residents with an award
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Residents from the Department of Emergency Medicine placed first in the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) Quiz Show in Columbus, Ohio.

The quiz show was part of the 2014 Ohio Emergency Medicine Residents’ Assembly of the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) held in August. The first-place team included residents Rory Stuart, M.D.; Leo Tanaka, M.D.; Sara Birdsong, M.D.; and Jonathan Henderson, M.D. They competed against nine other emergency resident teams.

photo of aaron palmer
Vital Signs » Fall 2014
By Heather Maurer

From fixing cars to fixing people: Aaron Palmer learns auto repair to pave the way to medical school

Aaron Palmer never dreamed he would be at the Boonshoft School of Medicine studying to become a surgeon.

Photo of Udit Singhal
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Udit Singhal is first WSU medical student to be selected for HHMI research fellowship

Udit Singhal, a third-year medical student at Boonshoft School of Medicine, was one of 70 of the nation’s top medical and veterinary students selected for the 2014-15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Medical Research Fellows Program. In addition to Wright State, the fellows were selected from universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, University of California San Francisco, Duke, and Yale.

Photo of Ruth Jocelyn Claros
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Ruth Jocelyn Claros, a second-year medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, was one of 12 medical students nationwide selected for the American Society of Hematology 2014 Minority Medical Student Award Program.

Photo of Jessica Brown
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

First-year student Jessica Brown is committed to serving those who need it most

Jessica Brown credits her grandmother with sparking her interest in medicine. When she was nine, her grandmother suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed. By the time she was 14, her grandmother died from another stroke.

Students on match day
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

In March 2014, 102 graduating Boonshoft School of Medicine students learned where they will pursue their residency training.

Gathered with family and friends at the Wright State University Student Union, the students took part in the national event that has become a rite of passage.

Wright State students match in outstanding programs in Dayton, throughout Ohio, and across the country, including the Cleveland Clinic, University of California at San Francisco, Duke University, the Mayo Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, and New York Presbyterian-Columbia.

photo of a graduate and a professor
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

One hundred and five members of the Boonshoft School of Medicine class of 2014 received their M.D. degrees during the school’s commencement ceremony at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center on May 23.

Gregory Toussaint, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and medical director, inpatient general pediatrics at Dayton Children’s Hospital, delivered the commencement address.

In addition to the degrees, several special awards and honors were presented during the ceremony:

photo of a student receiving her white coat
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Boonshoft School of Medicine welcomed 110 new students during the Convocation and White Coat Ceremony last July, formally marking the start of their medical education.

During the ceremony, students took their first oath of professional medical ethics, concluding with the words, “I commit myself to a lifelong journey of learning how to cure, relieve, and comfort with humility and compassion.”

Each student also received a white coat—a traditional symbol of the medical profession—personalized with his or her name and the medical school patch.

photo of the cannons
Vital Signs » Fall 2014
By Heather Maurer

Louis A. Cannon, M.D. '84, leads the way in cardiac, orthopaedic device innovation

After graduating from Wittenberg University in 1980, Louis Cannon was faced with a life-altering choice—work in the family furniture sales business or pursue a career in medicine.

photo of lynch
Vital Signs » Fall 2014
By Heather Maurer

Jane Lynch, M.D., '84, on the frontlines attacking type 2 diabetes in children, youth

When Jane Lynch attended Oakwood High School in Dayton, a friend of hers had type 1 diabetes. She knew when her friend needed insulin. She would look for signs of low blood sugar—sweating, shakiness, weakness, hunger, or confusion.

Her friend’s diabetes sparked her interest in the disease. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, she majored in microbiology and genetics. Her advisor persuaded her to apply to medical school to become a medical researcher.

B. Laurel Elder
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

B. Laurel Elder, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pathology, passed away peacefully on October 2, 2014.

Elder was an esteemed teacher, researcher, laboratory clinician, and chair of the Institutional Review Board at Wright State University. She came to Wright State in 1986 to serve as an adjunct associate professor of microbiology and immunology. She was named associate professor in the Departments of Pathology and Internal Medicine in 2005.

Vital Signs » Fall 2014

W.J. “Jack” Lewis, M.D., clinical professor emeritus of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, died on April 5, 2014. He was 89.

He was part of a group of people who were involved in the development of the medical school in the early 1970s. Passionate about medical education, he was thrilled to be a part of a new kind of medical school— one that emphasized primary care education. He enjoyed teaching ethics to medical students.

Stanley Mohler, M.D.
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Stanley R. Mohler, M.D., founding director of the Wright State Aerospace Medicine Residency Program and professor emeritus, of community health, passed away September 15, 2014, in Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He was 86.

Mohler was born September 30, 1927, in Amarillo, Texas. He developed his two great passions, airplanes and medicine, as a young boy. He combined this love into his specialty of aerospace medicine.

Robert Weisman, Ph.D.
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Robert (Bob) Weisman, Ph.D., passed away on July 2, 2014, at age 77. As a department chair, associate dean, interim dean, and consummate faculty member, Weisman served the university and the medical school for more than 30 years.

Weisman was recruited as the inaugural chair of the Department of Biochemistry, joining Wright State as professor and chair of the department in January 1977. Previously, he held faculty positions at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, and the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Alumni Notes
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

We’re proud of our alumni and graduates of our residency programs and want to spread the word about your achievements. If you have professional news or personal updates to share—or simply want to stay in touch—please contact the Office of Advancement at or 937.245.7610.

photo of dieter e. nevels
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Dieter E. Nevels, M.B.A., has been appointed executive director and chief financial officer of the Boonshoft School of Medicine. He replaced John Bale, M.Acc., who retired after 28 years of service to the medical school.

Nevels has almost 30 years of broad-based experience in all aspects of corporate and medical school finance and business operations, ranging from strategic planning and analysis to valuations of merger/acquisition targets.

Jeffrey Travers
Vital Signs » Fall 2014

Jeffrey B. Travers, M.D., Ph.D., has been named professor and chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and professor, Department of Dermatology, effective Feb. 1, 2015.

Vital Signs » Fall 2014

The Vietnam War ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later. More than 3 million people were killed in the conflict, including as many as 2 million civilians on both sides, some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters, between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, and more than 58,000 Americans. Waves of refugees fled the country in the aftermath of the war, including the families of two Boonshoft School of Medicine students.