Gift endows lecture series at Brody School of Medicine
Dr. Jose G. Albernaz
(Dec. 29, 2005)
A new endowed lecture series that honors a pioneering neurosurgeon will bring top medical speakers to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
The series will honor Dr. Jose G. Albernaz and has been created through an initial gift of $100,000 to the Medical Foundation of ECU by his son, Dr. Marcus Albernaz, a surgeon with Eastern Carolina ENT-Head & Neck Surgery in Greenville. The gift was made as part of a surprise 82nd birthday tribute to Jose Albernaz on Dec. 3.
The elder Albernaz, whose contributions to his field were written about in the June 2002 issue of The Journal of Neurosurgery, was born in Brazil and attended the Federal University Medical School in the city of Belo Horizonte. He then traveled to Chicago to study neurology and neurosurgery. He returned to Brazil, where he was that country's first American-trained neurosurgeon. In time, he became chairman of neurology and neurosurgery at the Federal University Medical School, started a modern medical residency program there in neurosurgery and helped found the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery.
In 1968, Albernaz came to the United States to work as a professor at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. There, Albernaz was twice awarded the Golden Apple Award for his dedication to students.
"One of the things he always got a big kick out of was teaching medical students," Marcus Albernaz said. "Apparently, they got a kick out of him."
Details about the lecture series, to be named the Jose G. Albernaz Golden Apple Lectureship, will be announced once they are finalized. Plans are for the first lecture to be held in 2006. Further donations to the lectureship are planned by Drs. Vanessa Albernaz, a radiologist with Eastern Radiologists of Greenville; Jon Workman, a surgeon with Eastern Carolina ENT-Head & Neck Surgery; and Priscilla Albernaz Heimann, an Ohio pathologist. Vanessa Albernaz and Heimann are daughters of Jose Albernaz.
"The visits by outside lecturers to share their expertise with the medical students and staff of the Brody School of Medicine have great value because it brings a fresh and different outlook on science and technology. It can also introduce new ideas on the teaching of medicine," Jose Albernaz said from his Greenville home. Then he added, "It's a two-way street. The lecturers can also benefit from others' ideas."
He has been married for 55 years, and he and his wife, Doris, have five children and eight grandchildren.
"We have always been a close family, and it is gratifying to see how every one of them in his or her own way has been successful in different areas of medicine and human endeavor," Albernaz said of his children.
Donna McLees, president of the Medical Foundation, called the gift a "wonderful and fitting tribute" to a distinguished physician.
"In celebration of Dr. Jose Albernaz, his family chose to honor and pay tribute to him in a manner consistent with his life's work: helping others," said McLees, who's also ECU associate vice chancellor for health sciences development.
For more information about the lecture series or the Medical Foundation of ECU, call (252) 744-2238.