From Chaplains to Ants

I am a 1967 graduate of the School of Medicine, still love practicing internal medicine, and am the clinical advisor to the pastoral care program at Jeanes Hospital, where I was involved with the pastoral care residents before that program closed. Understandably, I loved David Lewellen’s piece on “Learning from Chaplains.”

Even more intriguing to me was Karen Kreeger’s piece, “When Majors Act Like Minors.” The interplay of genetics and epigenetics fascinates me and would seem to explain that old question of “is it nature or nur­ture?” What we eat, how we move our bodies, our relationships and feelings might be able to trigger molec­ular “tags.” May I ask you to forward this email to Dr. [Shelley] Berger, with the request that she email me some articles that speak to this subject?

Ronald Banner, M.D. ’67

Editor’s Note: We did – and Dr. Berger did.

Spirituality in Medicine

I am writing to express my gratitude for Penn Medicine and especially the article “Learning from Chaplains” in the Summer 2016 issue.

My wife and I are both trained and worked at Penn in anesthesia. I also trained and worked at CHOP as a pediatric critical care physician.

At the time I received the current issue, my wife was in the ICU on a ventilator as a patient and I was com­forted by my interaction with the chaplain. I also appreciated the availability of alone time in their “spiritual sanctuary” (the chapel designed for families, friends, and staff of all faiths) and the special outside garden for personal reflection. I need to “go into the closet” to be calm and receptive to know God was in control of the care plan and guiding the care team.

When I was an anesthesia resident at CHOP (1973), I met Dr. [C. Everett] Koop behind the ether screen. As you know, he was the pioneer of pediatric surgery which he developed at Penn with the support of Dr. [I. S.] Ravdin after WWII. He also worked with others to build CHOP as it is today. We immediately recognized a mutual spiritual bond and respect for the role of spirituality in medicine, and he invited me to his office for many private conversations. For the next 35+ years we met in person or by telephone regularly just when we needed to (I have many stories to tell).

The reason I am writing you right now is also because Dr. Koop would have been celebrating his 100th birthday in October 2106.

Allen I. Goldberg, M.D., G.M.E. ’75, M.B.A., is a former president of the American College of Chest Physi­cians. You can find his reflections on Dr. Koop here:

The Whole Issue

Usually I scan and sample the articles in Penn Medicine, but in the Summer 2016 issue I read every one. Each was especially well written – clear, specific, focused, friendly, accessible. I will pass this issue to my granddaughter (18 years old), who will enter U. of PA this fall as a freshman.

Congratulations to you and your staff for an outstanding issue.

Janice Arrowsmith [who signed herself “layperson”]


During interviews for a story in the Summer 2015 issue of Penn Medicine magazine about my work at the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery, I mischaracterized my involvement in efforts to help children who survived the tragedy that took place during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. I was not, in fact, part of the on-site efforts. I deeply regret my responsibility for this por­trayal in the article and request that the magazine run a correction of these facts.

Steven Berkowitz, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine
Director, Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery

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