Program Report: January 23, 2017 – Dr. Ralph Snyderman

Many of the most significant figures in Durham’s history still walk among us.

Steed Rollins introduced one of them on Monday. Dr. Ralph Snyderman, who for 15 years was the Chancellor of the Duke University Medical Center, guiding it through periods of great challenge and transformation.

Dr. Snyderman, was also a member of our Rotary Club for many years and is still an honorary member. Recently, the Duke University Press published his book, The Chancellor’s Tale, Transforming Academic Medicine and his presentation was an overview of the book’s focus which reflects on his role and the insights he gleaned leading the changes that made the medical center internationally known for its innovations.

Dr. Snyderman began with a couple of anecdotes that framed his challenge early on. The first was an encounter at a gas station when he first came to town and was lost looking for the hospital. The attendant burst his bubble by declaring that yes, “Duke was the best hospital,” at least in Durham. The second was of a day while on hospital rounds that he watched an attendant stripping a bed and wondering where the sheets went and how they got back on the beds after they were washed.  He then set off on a journey that took him first to a non-descript laundry building where the African-American workforce labored in 110-degree heat under their white supervisors. Not only did he get the building air conditioned but began chipping away at the culture that gave Duke Hospital the not-so-fond appellation of the plantation.

Back in June when we visited the Eye Center, I first understood that the foundations of academic medicine were teaching, research and clinical practice. Dr. Snyderman shared that until managed care came alone, each specialty basically operated as an independent business unit with the clinical leg providing the revenue that supported the other two legs. Managed care drove the necessity to share revenue and capture more clinical activity. Long-time residents of Durham have watched that take place as Duke has developed a regional network of primary care physicians that feed the specialty clinics and the acquisition of Durham County Hospital. Dr. Snyderman shared how this latter was difficult because of the County Commissioners’ concern that Duke would not be as responsive to community needs.

This was one of those presentations that I felt could have gone on for another half an hour at least with no diminished interest. Dr. Snyderman never got to share his insights about integrated medicine and personalized medicine and questions hung in the air about his thoughts concerning the Affordable Care Act, its future under the new administration and nationalized healthcare in general.  Fortunately, many of those questions can be answered by the book which is available at including a Kindle version from Amazon. At that page, there is also a link to a two minute video that describes the book and more background on Dr. Snyderman. The video is also embedded at the end of this report. If you watch the video on YouTube, you will probably also see in the sidebar links to several other videos from Dr. Snyderman including two that discuss personalized medicine.

In the last three years, I’ve spent many hours in different areas of the Duke University Hospital (most not as a patient.) Some in areas as serene and lovely as a fine resort or antechamber to the executive suite of a major corporation, and at least one barely a level higher in Dante’s Inferno than the original laundry room that Dr. Snyderman described.  Despite what might still need to be done, the evolution of Duke Medicine has been a boon to Durham and the region and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to grow in service and stature and remain and institution that breeds leaders like Dr. Snyderman.

Submitted by Jay Zenner


New Members – January 23, 2017

Please welcome new members Michael Priddy who was sponsored by Willis Whichard and Allie Balling who was sponsored by Arthur Rogers.

Rotary Minute – Katie Wyatt

In her own words with the invocation she shared.

I first came to know Rotary through my friendship with Justin Peele, a Rotary Peace Fellow. We attended Rotary together when he was a graduate student at the Rotary Peace Center in Buenos Aires before it closed. I loved the ritual and the ceremony that is shared the world over – and in being a member of Durham Rotary now – thinking about our Argentine friends sitting down to lunch to discuss how to support their communities at the same time as we do. The international reach of Rotary is inspiring, and unites us across the globe through service.

Invocation: By Rudyard Kipling – with an update by me in honor of the Million Women’s March on January 21.

(From ‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a WOMAN!

Members attend the Rotary Leadership Institute

Six Durham Rotary members learned a lot about being leaders in Rotary when they attended the Zone 33 Rotary Leadership Institute in Cary, Sat., Jan. 14.


L-R:   E-Club Members Jheanne Schack and Kathy Roadcup, joined with Durham Rotary Members Marie Baker, Geraud Staton, Erik Benson, Stan Morris, E-Club Member Eve Marion,  Brady Surles and Kim Shaw, and Asst. District Governor Joyce McKinney for a full Saturday of Rotary information and sharing ideas with other Rotarians from throughout Eastern North Carolina.

The workshops focused on Leadership Skills, Engaging Members, Service Projects, Ethics and Vocational Service, the Rotary Foundation, Team Building, Club Communications, and Strategic Planning.  We look forward to our club benefiting from the many good ideas this group gained from this Leadership Institute.

Meeting Cancellation – January 9, 2017

Because of anticipated road conditions the decision has been made to cancel the meeting scheduled for Monday January 9th, 2017. The scheduled program about the Innovation Fellows will be rescheduled for another meeting.

The Grinch

Due to the generosity of over 40 Rotarians The Grinch Theater event was a resounding success. We did the following:

~ we completely subsidized 22 children from the East Durham Children’s Initiative to attend the performance.

~we hosted the EDCI children, chaperones and staff at a pre-theater reception with sweets and beverages……in the former  DPAC President’s Lounge with space donated by DPAC.

~we had a wonderful Fellowship lunch of Rotarians, family and friends at Tobacco Road and then 30 of us attended the performance with great seats in The Grand Tier. This is one of our first events to include young children and truly was a family event.

~through pledges and ticket sales we raised $1,500 for the Brown Family Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded later this year to an economically challenged student graduating from the Emily K Center’s Scholars to College program.

Many thanks to all of you who supported this event, and to Carver Weaver who spent countless hours working with DPAC, EDCI and our Rotary Club to make this event successful.

Submitted by Meg Solera