November 17, 2006

Congressman to deliver Robinson lecture

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Frank Harrell Jr., Ph.D.

Congressman to deliver Robinson lecture

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a recognized leader in health care reform, will present the Roscoe R. Robinson, M.D., lecture at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, speaking about the future of academic health centers.

The event will also mark the debut of “Onward and Upward: Vanderbilt University Medical Center 1981-1997,” Robinson's memoir about his 16 years as vice chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Cooper's lecture will be from 4-5 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. His remarks will be preceded by comments from Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, and Chancellor Emeritus Joe B. Wyatt. Jacobson succeeded Robinson as vice chancellor. Wyatt was chancellor during Robinson's tenure.

Robinson was an internationally recognized nephrologist and educator who led VUMC through a period of tremendous growth and change during the 1980s and 1990s.

The subject of Monday's lecture — the future and continued funding of academic health centers — was a subject very familiar to Robinson.

Copies of Robinson's book will be available at Monday's lecture. The book is edited by Robert E. Merrill, M.D., a former faculty member and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine alumnus who died in January. The manuscript was also reviewed carefully by a host of friends, family and colleagues of Robinson's, including his wife, Ann, Robert D. Collins, M.D., Jane Tugurian, who was Robinson's assistant for 16 years, and Mary Etta Skeen, his assistant in his emeritus office.

The title of the book — “Onward and Upward” — is a phrase of cheer and encouragement that Robinson often used, according to an acknowledgement page in the book written by Ann Robinson.

The book offers insight into the reasons for Robinson's successful years at Vanderbilt, writes Collins, both a colleague and friend of Robinson's, on the book jacket. Part of Robinson's success was due to the strong working relationship he had with the University's Board of Trust and Chancellor Wyatt and the aggressive building program he led that resulted in the completion of eight major buildings.

The Robinson lectureship was a gift from the VUSM faculty to celebrate the vice chancellor's years. He died in 2004 after a six-year battle with idiopathic interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable, progressive lung disease.