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Myers set as keynote speaker for Oct. 13 Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture

Oct. 1, 2015, 9:03 AM

Woodrow Myers Jr., M.D., chief executive officer of Corizon Health, will be the keynote speaker at the 14th annual Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture.

Woodrow Myers Jr., M.D.

The address, “Our Response to Injustice: Opportunistic? Obligatory? Or Optional?” is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, at noon in 208 Light Hall.

The lecture honors Watkins, a prominent cardiac surgeon and the first African-American student to be admitted to and graduate from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Watkins died earlier this year after complications from a stroke. He was 70.

Myers, the head of the leading provider of correctional health care services in the country, recalls meeting Watkins while he was a medical student. He will share his life story and how the Watkins impacted his life decisions.

“He was one of the few guys who looked like me,” said Myers. “He served as a great example for me and I want to be able to do the same with others in the field.

“I will be speaking to all of those in the audience who are early in their careers. All genders, all races. I want to prod and poke them and force them to not accept the status quo.

“There are injustices of all kinds — health care-related, racial, economic, environmental. My message is very basic: an individual can make a difference. One person can take on a problem and inspire others,” he said. “I want to encourage this group to take it to the next level and make a difference.”

Myers graduated from Stanford University with honors, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Early in his career Myers was an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, a fellow in critical care medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at Stanford University Medical Center.

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