Friday, June 25, 2010

Final Frontier comes to MGH campus

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: From left, Parekh, Satcher, Pierce and Rosenbaum Final frontier comes to MGH campus

"WHEN YOU LOOK BACK at the earth from space, you realize that you are all on earth together -- there are no lines or boundaries, no countries," said Robert Satcher, MD, PhD, as he described being in space at the MGH Department of Psychiatry's Diversity Committee annual spring speaker series. Satcher and his crew completed an 11-day trip to the international space station in November 2009.

A clinical associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut, Satcher presented "Diversity in Space Exploration and Our Search for Life Beyond" June 18 in the Ether Dome. He began by acknowledging one of his mentors, Chester Pierce, MD, a longtime MGH psychiatrist. He then presented an overview of the history of NASA and its diversity efforts, followed by a video showcasing his crew's experiences. While in space, Satcher helped provide medical care for his crew members, conducted experiments and performed maintenance on arms of the space station during two separate space walks. The video captured both the challenges and fun of being in space.

At the end of his presentation, Satcher took questions and encouraged the young physicians present to, "Seek out the people who will encourage and support you."

In closing remarks, Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD, chief of the Department of Psychiatry, emphasized the theme of teamwork in Satcher's presentation, urging the audience to recognize that we are all astronauts on "spaceship" earth and to keep this in mind when working to achieve our missions.

The MGH Department of Psychiatry Diversity Committee, under the leadership of Ranna Parekh, MD, MGH psychiatrist, strives to bring nationally and internationally recognized speakers to the MGH to discuss a wide range of issues with faculty, trainees and staff. The June 18 presentation also was made possible by the Multicultural Affairs Office and the American Psychiatric Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Fellowship of Gina Duncan, MD, MGH psychotherapy chief resident.

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