Duke GI Oral History: Sadye Curry, MD


Dr. Joanne Wilson: It is my pleasure to speak with Dr. Sadye Curry today. She is the first African American woman gastroenterologist in our country. She trained here at Duke as the first African American and the first woman trainee here at Duke. She's a distinguished professor and has been an inspiration to me and my career, and I'm pleased to talk with her today about her career. Her upbringing in North Carolina education and her time here at Duke. Dr. Curry, thank you for coming to speak with us today and to inspire our new generation of trainees.

Dr. Sadye Curry: Thank you for inviting me. I must say that I was very surprised, and I've told several people that I've known you since you were a medical student. Not that that was so long ago, but it lets them know that we go way back, and I must say that I was quite surprised when you called to invite me down, and this is really an honor.

Some of the things that you said about being the first female and so forth trainee here, I was not ... I wasn't quite sure about that, but I subsequently found that that is true and I have to thank [Dr. Mike McLeod 00:02:09] and [Dr. Tyor 00:02:10] for giving me GI Fellowship when I first came down to Duke to do GI.

Dr. Wilson: So, tell us about your early years here as a native North Carolinian, your education, and the time before you got here.

Dr. Curry: Well, I'm originally from North Carolina. My home town is a little place called [Reidsville 00:02:32], which is near Greensboro, it's 20 miles north of Greensboro and 20 miles south of Danville, Virginia. Great metropolis with a population of 15,000. But, that's where I grew up and I went to public schools there. Upon finishing high school, I attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson C. Smith is a Presbyterian school. I had an older brother who had gone there, and a few years later, my sister went there, so I was very familiar with Johnson C. Smith.

That within itself was quite an education, because Johnson C. Smith used to be an all male school. My brother went there because one of the principals at our elementary school had gone to Johnson C. Smith, so he was a Johnson C. Smith [inaudible 00:03:30] and he convinced my brother to go there. At the time that this principal was there, Johnson C. Smith was an all male school, and when we went there, obviously they had started to accept females, but rules for girls were very stringent.

We had a curfew, we had to be in by 8:00. We could not leave campus without permission from the dormitory matron, and dormitory matron's always quite a reputation of being very strict, even if we wanted to go to the church down the street, we had to get permission to leave campus. For anything. Johnson C. Smith, being a Presbyterian school, required religion, so we had to take religion the first year, The Old Testament. We took religion the second year, which was The New Testament.

The second year I always found very interesting because there was a comparison and contrast among the world religions, and I always found that very interesting. Even now, I find it very interesting to read about the various religions, so I always found that very interesting. We were required to go to chapel Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and we had to go to church every Sunday. And we had a certain number of cuts, but if a student exceeded those cuts, they would actually put them out of school.

So, they were serious about chapel and church. So, that was Johnson C. Smith University with it's Presbyterian heritage, but I found it a very interesting experience. I recently went back to the 50-Year Reunion for my class, and at that reunion, it was very nice. They had gold [inaudible 00:05:28] gowns for us to march, it was their [inaudible 00:05:31]. And marching in, as we were going down the aisle, we could hear some of the students talking as we were going down the aisle, and one of the female students said, "That's the 50-Year class", and the young lady next to her said, "What do you mean the 50-Year class?" And she said, "They graduated 50 years ago."

And this young man standing with them, he said, "You mean they've been out of college for 50 years?" And she said, "Yes. That's why they call them the 50-Year class." And he said, "Look at them. They're walking." So, we were all, as we went back, trying not to laugh at their comments, but that was a very nice experience and we were really appreciative of the way that they had gone out to honor the 50-Year class.

Dr. Wilson: Sounds like you were well prepared for medical school.

Dr. Curry: I think so. My brother had gone to Howard University Medical School, and he had ... At that time, when you finish medical school, you didn't have to do a residency to go into private practice. So, he had gone into private practice in a little town called Statesville, North Carolina, and he was the only African American doctor there, but then he was drafted to go to Vietnam, so that's when he left Statesville.

And then ... Drafted. When he returned, he was at Fort Bragg, and he met [Dr. Stead 00:07:09]. Dr. Stead used to go down to Fort Bragg and make rounds. Dr. Stead was a very impressive person. I'm sure you all know. It's like Dr. Stead was Duke University, and that was how my brother ended up getting into the cardiology division at Duke. He did his cardiology there when he went to Howard University.

Well, when I finished college, I applied to Howard. Many people ... These days, I've heard medical students say they apply to 15 school. Well you have to send money to all these applications. I applied to two. I applied to Howard University and one was a medical college of Pennsylvania, so I was accepted at both but I decided to go to Howard, which was, I thought, a great experience.

Dr. Wilson: And how did you end up coming here to Duke as an intern for your training in medicine and GI?

Dr. Curry: Well, after I finished medical school at Howard, there was a professor there. Dr. Walter Lester Henry, who was outstanding. He was an endocrinologist, but to this day, I've not met anybody, that I think, knows more medicine than Dr. Henry. And the thing that we adored about him was the ease with which he taught.

He never tried to embarrass students, even when they had done something wrong, it's like he had a way of correcting them without making them feel stupid. So, everybody loved making rounds with Dr. Henry. And at that time, we even some attendants who came from the National Institute of Health, and they would ...

When Dr. Henry was making rounds, even people that were not on his team would come to get in on the end of Dr. Henry's rounds so they could hear his teachings, because he was just great with patient care and pointing out things. One of the NIH attendants had said to me once: "I learned so much." This was a man who had trained in the Ivy League schools, but he said, "I learn so much when I make rounds with Dr. Henry." Because he would come up at the end of the rounds, almost sneaking up, so that he could round with Dr. Henry.

Well, Dr. Henry was invited down here to Duke as a visiting professor, and he ... I had never seen an African American listed professor at Duke the whole time that I had been there, and Dr. Henry gave the grand rounds. He made rounds with the staff and they were all so impressed. At that time, the chief of medicine was [Dr. James Weingarten 00:10:08], do you remember Dr. Weingarten?

Dr. Wilson: Oh yes. Yes.

Dr. Curry: He was the chief of medicine, and they were all just so impressed with Dr. Henry. But it gave me the opportunity to reintroduce myself to Dr. Henry and it turns out that he only had one person at Howard in gastroenterology, and so he said if I had an interest, that he would be interested in having me during the faculty. So, I had come down here to Duke and completed my GI, and with my talk with Dr. Henry, I applied for a position at Howard and that's how I ended up going back to DC after I finished my training down here.

And of course, there were many experiences at Howard, as a medical student, that were still prominent in my mind. Because as medical students, we rotated ... As Howard University medical students, we rotated, of course, at Freedman's Hospital, because Howard University Hospital had not been built at the time. So, we rotated at Freedman's Hospital. We also rotated at Walter Reed and we rotated at DC General Hospital.

Now, at that time, DC General was one of the ten largest hospitals in the country. I think [Bellevue 00:11:40] had the largest public hospital. Los Angeles, I believe, was number 2, and Cook County in Chicago was number 3. But DC General was in the top ten. And us rotating at DC General was an experience that I think all of the students really appreciated, and the one rotation that I thought was most outstanding was when we rotated on OBGYN.

Because back at that time, abortions were illegal, Roe v. Wade had not come about and came about shortly afterwards. But we would get ... On OB, we would get a lot of young girls who would come in that were septic, because they had tried to induce abortion, and the OB residence used to refer to that ward as "Dirty OB" because all of the patients on that ward, young girls, 12, 13, 14 years old, came in with septic abortions.

And there were the three school services that were on the service. They had Howard University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. Well Georgetown, as you recall, is a catholic institution, so they would not allow their students to rotate on labored delivery because they didn't want them to have anything to do with any abortions, any DNC's dealing with abortions, so it was just Howard and George Washington that rotated on the labor and delivery.

But, those types of experience and once you see these young people coming in very septic, and some of them would actually die. So, those are the types of experiences that we had, rotating at DC General, that stick out in your mind. So when-

Dr. Wilson: You came here for your internship?

Dr. Curry: I did. I was here for an internship and at that time, we say Duke and affiliated hospitals because we spend time in Lincoln Hospital. Lincoln Hospital no longer exists, I'm told, but it's a clinic now, I think.

Dr. Wilson: Right.

Dr. Curry: But at that time, it was the main hospital for African Americans in Durham. It was not easy for African Americans to be admitted to Duke Hospital. As a matter of fact, as we were walking down the [inaudible 00:14:17], and this is the old hospital [inaudible 00:14:19].

Dr. Wilson: Right. That's correct.

Dr. Curry: Where are the wards? There used to be Long Ward and ...

Dr. Wilson: Those are clinics upstairs. It's hard to decipher because of the remodeling.

Dr. Curry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Wilson: Cause when I was a medical student-

Dr. Curry: Because I didn't see anything that looked familiar.

Dr. Wilson: I know. They did effective jobs remodeling.

Dr. Curry: Yeah. 'Cause Long Ward was the ward for black males.

Dr. Wilson: Right.

Dr. Curry: And then ... I don't remember what the female ward was, but at that time, the wards were still segregated.

Dr. Wilson: Right. When I came as a medical student, they had been more or less integrated, but not truly. This was in 1969, '70.

Dr. Curry: Okay. What year did you finish?

Dr. Wilson: I finished in '73.

Dr. Curry: Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Alright.

Dr. Curry: Well, I did come back here for internship and one of my attendants, that we always considered a doctor's doctor, was Dr. Michael McLeod.

Dr. Wilson:  ... one of you.

Dr. Curry: Gastroenterologist now retired, I'm told.

Dr. Wilson: Right. That was one of my colleagues.

Dr. Curry: I haven't seen him in many years.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. We'll plan to have you guys meet up this afternoon.

Dr. Curry: Okay. But, he was just so impressive and he reminded me a lot of Dr. Henry in that he ... His easy way of teaching you without embarrassing you, even when you had done something that perhaps should not have been done. But, he was very good and an excellent teacher.

Dr. Wilson: It was my pleasure to work with him as a colleague for a number of years. Almost 20 years. About 20 years.

Dr. Curry: Oh really?

Dr. Wilson: Yes. He was still practicing when I got here, and he retired about 15 years ago, almost.

Dr. Curry:  That long?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah.

Dr. Curry: No kidding.

Dr.  Wilson: He is about 80 now.

Dr. Curry: Is that right? So, he's older than I am.

Dr. Wilson: Oh yes. 

Dr. Curry: Okay. So, I came here for the internship, and then after leaving Dr. Henry, I went back to Howard. The retirement age here, I think, is 65. Is that correct?

Dr. Wilson: 70 now, but I don't know what it was back then.

Dr. Curry: I think it was 65.

Dr. Curry:  I think Dr. Stead... to leave at 65. Speaking of Dr. Stead, I'm reminded of the fact that Duke used to have great grand rounds.

Dr. Wilson: Yes indeed. Still do.

Dr. Curry: Do they still? Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Curry: And Dr. Stead was always at grand rounds. And at that time in the auditorium where they had grand rounds, Dr. Stead would always sit down front, in the first seat, the aisle seat, and it's like everybody was afraid of Dr. Stead. If they had to present a patient, it was almost like you could see them trying to hold the [inaudible 00:17:07], and they also used to bring the patient to grand rounds. They still do that?

Dr. Wilson: No. Very seldom.

Dr. Curry: Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Sometimes it was a video.

Dr. Curry: Of course with the patients permission.

Dr. Wilson: Right.

Dr. Curry: Yeah. They used to bring the patient to grand rounds, and Dr. Stead would always have some very pertinent questions to ask. But, I remember one case in which they presented a patient with Sydenham chorea. Have you ever seen Sydenham chorea?

Dr. Wilson: Once.

Dr. Curry: Well, that was the only time that I had ever seen Sydenham chorea, but they brought this patient there and it was just so impressive to ... You know, those are things that stick out in your mind, you just never forget. But, Dr. Stead ran a very tight ship, and we were talking early about rectal exams.

I recall one story they used to always tell, in which an intern had an evaluated patient and had not done a rectal, and they said that the patient was from [Burlington 00:18:11], North Carolina, and that Dr. Stead sent them out to the patient's home in Burlington to make him do the rectal exam.

Dr. Wilson: Oh my goodness.

Dr. Curry: So, he was a very impressive person.

Dr. Wilson: What was your training in GI like here, at that time?

Dr. Curry:  Well, GI did not ... I was talking with the administrator and she said, "You all have about 85 people in the faculty in GI. 

Dr. Wilson: Everybody's full-time faculty, the faculty and mid-levels.

Dr. Curry: Really?

Dr. Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Curry: I was shocked. I think we might've had maybe 10 or 12 people on the faculty at that time, and as a fellow, I spent a lot of time at the VA hospital. Which also, as we drove in, I noticed was very different. It doesn't look like the same place. But, the scopes are so different from what they used to be back at that time.

At that time, Olympus was just coming on the scene, and to do an esophagoscopy, we had a rigid scope. I don't know if you've ever even seen it.

Dr. Wilson: I've seen it, but I've never done it.

Dr. Curry: You had to put your fingers ... I thought I was gonna lose these two fingers. You had to put your finger around that rigid pipe and it had a magnifying glass on the end, so you had ... The patients were not fully sedated, so you had to pass that rigid pipe with the patients chin on his chest. You had someone holding the head and then you walked them around. You walked around to advance that scope straight down into their esophagus, and the patient's constantly biting your fingers. So, we were very happy when Olympus made an esophagus scope, because we no longer had to use that rigid scope.

But, as companies do, they made an esophagus scope that would only visualize the esophagus, so you pass the esophagus scope, you could only see the esophagus. But, when you got to the GE junction, you could not see much of the stomach. So, then they made a gastroscope, and the gastroscope was side-viewing, so you could not see the esophagus as you moved down into the stomach. Now, when you got into the stomach, you had a beautiful view. We would say, "Oh, there's the fungus." A beautiful view of the stomach.

So, you had to pass the esophagus scope, and then you pass the side-viewing gastroscope. But the gastroscope was not long enough to go into duodenum. You know, these companies were making sure that they kept their business going. So, they did the esophagus scope which sold very well, then the side-veering gastroscope, and then lo and behold, they made an esophagogastroduodenoscope, and then we could see the esophagus, the stomach, and the duodenum.

So, that was all going on at the time that I was finishing up my GI training. Now, with the colonoscopes, the colonoscopes were just getting to be fairly good. Because initially, it was just a sigmoidoscope and usually we had done the 25 [inaudible 00:22:00] rigid sigmoidoscope. But, when they did the flexible scope, then we could get into the descending colon, but that's as far as it would go.

So then they made a scope that went into the transverse colon. A little bit longer, so you can see about half the colon. Then they made a scope that moved all the way around into the cecum. But there were not a lot of things you could do. When you pass the scope, you could do a biopsy, but they had not done the cautery and all those types of things, so if you had someone with angiodysplasia or polyps or ... We didn't even have the snares to pass through and remove the polyps at that time, right before I was finishing up my training.

So, when I got to Howard University, we were starting to get what we considered excellent [inaudible 00:23:03] scopes that would allow you to do polypectomies and all those types of things.

Dr. Wilson: How were you received here at Duke when you were training here? I mean, what was the environment like? We crossed some at the same time.

Dr. Curry: Most people were courteous. There were, of course ... I don't know if you remember [Dr. Julian Ruffin 00:23:30]. Dr. Ruffin was chief of GI here for many, many years, and he was well known internationally. He had one of the largest inflammatory bowel disease populations probably in the world. Dr. Ruffin would not allow me to see his patients.

So, I had been ... Dr. Tyor had told me, before I came, that I would not be received. So I said, "Well, that's no problem." I thought I would have enough to do that it wouldn't make that much difference, and that's the way I felt because Duke was always so busy in the VA, so I felt like I still got, probably, more training than some of the other fellows. Because, when I rotated at the VA, I was the only person there, so I was doing everything.

There was an endocrinology ... There was an intern who later went into endocrinology. I can't think of his name, but I've seen his name on many of the internal medicine American College of Physician programs. So when he left here, he did endocrinology and he's apparently made quite a name for himself, but he was an intern and he was very aggressive.

                                    So, whenever those GI elitists came in, he would call me. And of course, I would be right there and the surgeons were very anxious to operate, much more so than they are now. And of course, we saw a lot more peptic ulcer disease with bleeding than we did. So, we would scope them immediately and the surgeons would be stood there, standing over my shoulder like, "Why she wasting time? This patient's bleeding. We need to take them to surgery."

But there was one surgeon, I think his name was Dr. Porter, who seemed very ... He seemed very rigid, and I was thinking that maybe he's a bit prejudice, but we got to be good colleagues. So that whenever they would get somebody in on the surgery ward, he would call me and ask me if I wanted to scope them before they took them to surgery. So, we developed a good relationship, and I think I saw a good variety of people.

I also rotated on the ... They had just opened up that research unit.

Dr. Wilson: Oh yes. Yes.

Dr. Curry:  And Dr. Tyor had-

Dr. Curry: Right. Dr. Tyor had asked me if I would like to rotate over there for one, and of course you get very unusual cases admitted over there, so I enjoyed that. I had a research problem dealing with bile acid metabolism.

Dr. Curry: Yep. Dr. Tyor got me into that, but then Dr. Tyor left and went to Arizona for, I think, maybe a year or two. He was away from Duke as a visiting professor. But, I continued that research and I was very pleased when my paper was selected for presentation at the Southern Society of Investigation, which was the research society in the country. So, my paper was selected for presentation in New Orleans.

Dr. Wilson: Oh wow.

Dr. Curry: Yes, so-

Dr. Wilson: Mine was too, [inaudible 00:26:57] years later.

Dr. Curry: Really? Yeah. I was very proud of that.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah, that's amazing.

Dr. Curry: Because you didn't see any African Americans on that program.

Dr. Wilson:  No, there were not. I was the only one.

Dr. Curry: Were you the only one?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. I was [inaudible 00:27:09].

Dr. Curry: But I was very proud of that.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah, they may have wondered what the African American women at Duke were [inaudible 00:27:16], how they were so successful. Yes, yes.

Dr. Curry: So, I was very proud of that.

Dr. Wilson: Were you able to carry on your research at all later on?

Dr. Curry: Well, when I got to Howard, they needed clinical people so badly that I tried to do research and I tried to finish up some things that I started here, and the first problem I was having was space. So, in the medical school, one of the professors and microbiologists said, "Well, I know you're not gonna find any space, but I have a dark room that we haven't been using." So, I said, "Let me see it", and the dust in there was this thick. I said, "I'll clean it up."

So, he let me use that dark room and I was actually financing myself. My bile acid metabolism was on rats, so I ordered rats. And the people in ... Howard has a school of veterinary medicine, so they took care of my rats for me and whenever I needed them for a research project, they would bring them over, so I did that for a while, but the clinical got to be a bit too much, so I didn't ... I think I only did that for a couple of years.

Dr. Wilson:  I had a similar experience at University of Michigan, trying to do clinical and research when the clinical needs were so great. Have you been back to Duke to visit since you finished your training?

Dr. Curry:  I have only been here to visit relatives who were hospitalized here, but I think ... I don't think I've been here to visit like this where I had an opportunity to see the institution and see all the changes. Of course, whenever I was home for the Christmas holidays, I saw the picture of the chapel on one of these walls, and every year, when I was nearby, I would always go hear Handel's Messiah in the chapel, because I always thought that was the most beautiful chapel and the choir was outstanding.

So, I would come ... At Christmas, when I was visiting relatives up in the big city of Reidsville, I would come down to ...but I don't think I've done a ... I don't recall doing a tour at Duke in many, many years.

Dr. Wilson: Now, we were talking earlier and we were talking about Dr. Berry and then we were also saying that they called him the father of African American GI and we called you the mother.

Dr. Curry: Right. My chief at Howard, he was really trying to find a way to rub me the wrong way, because Dr. Berry was much, much older than we were and Dr. Berry was probably the first African American gastroenterologist [crosstalk 00:30:21]

Dr. Wilson: That's what I understand.

Dr. Curry: Yeah. So, we had started this organization of gastroenterologists, pharmacists, and I think we might've had a few nurses, in which we were professionals that were interested in GI. [inaudible 00:30:42] physician assistants. So, we started this organization and we called it The Berry Society.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. I would go to those meetings at [crosstalk 00:30:50]

Dr. Curry: Yeah, and initially, we had ... I think we probably had about 75 to 80 people. We would meet at the same time as the American Gastroenterologists Association meeting. We tried to keep it going for many, many years, and Dr. Berry also was pushing us to keep it going. Of course, Dr. Berry died probably about 20 years ago, but he wanted us to keep it going, so I was president of The Berry Society for a couple of years, and during my tenure, I gathered an attorney to incorporate us, because I wanted Dr. Berry to know that we were serious about keeping this society with his name going.

So, we got it incorporated. So, The Leonidas Berry Society is still in existence, and I don't think ... Some of the younger people, as they came on, they thought the older people were trying to do too much, so we let them have it and it's almost defunct.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. I think the last president was someone in Atlanta, as I recall, and they had an administrator, but it's been a few years. I think that the diversity committees and the committees on underrepresented minorities at the various work societies sort of took over some of the activities and the discussions of underrepresented minorities in gastroenterology.

Dr. Curry: I don't even see them listed anymore.

Dr. Wilson:The Berry Society? No, I don't.

Dr. Curry: Yeah.

Dr. Wilson: But, the underrepresented minority groups at ...have been very good with symposia. They had a couple of symposia this year.

Dr. Curry: Oh great.

Dr. Wilson: And then receptions, and it's the four societies together doing it, not just one society.

Dr. Curry: And you were on the program this year, weren't you?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Curry: And what was your-

Dr. Wilson: Just speaking. I just was commenting on it. Last year, I was on the program, this year I wasn't. But, several of our people have been. [Dr. Julius Wilder 00:33:05] is one of our African American gastroenterologists here, who is from Maryland, actually. But, he has an MB-PhD at Duke Med and Duke trained, and trained also in transplant hepatology, and his own faculty.

Dr. Curry: Oh really?

Dr. Wilson: He had just got a crew development award from the AASLD.

Dr. Curry: Oh, really?

Dr. Wilson: And so he- Yes. Yes indeed.

Dr. Curry: Those are very difficult to get.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. And then, there's also ... Dr. McLeod has been impressive in his endowment efforts here in gastroenterology. So, yesterday, Dr. Wilder and one of our other junior faculty, [Dr. Kappus 00:33:53] received the [Tyor Award], so it's a research award named for Dr. Tyor that started with Dr. McLeod and [Dr. Liddle] in, I think, 1990. So, it's endowed to give a sizable sum towards there ...

Dr. Curry:  Very good.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. And there's also the Killenberg-McLeod Award for junior faculty, typically your newer faculty, for teaching and I'll show you the plaque out there. So, it's been pretty impressive. And one of the interesting things, [Dr. Muir 00:34:29] has tried to make our junior faculty aware of the history of GI here. The rich history.

Dr. Curry: That's very good.

Dr. Wilson:  And it's been very impressive. So, Dr. Tyor ... and this is the Tyor Conference Room.

Dr. Curry:  Yes. I noticed this.

Dr. Wilson: And his picture is back there.

Dr. Curry:  I noticed the photo and I see he had a little more hair.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. So, Tyor, Killenberg, and McLeod are all honored by both teaching awards, and all of them come with a monetary component.

Dr. Curry: Oh good.

Dr. Wilson: The Tyor research award is quite sizable.

Dr. Curry: Really?

Dr. Wilson: It's $25,000.

Dr. Curry: How much?

Dr. Wilson: $25,000.

Dr. Curry: Oh, that's good.

Dr. Curry: That'll get you started.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. There's one every year. And this year, we actually have two people getting it because they had some additional funds, but yes.

Dr. Curry: So they get it for one year? It's assigned for one year?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Curry: Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Usually, it's in addition to other funding, 'cause Dr. Kappus has funding from an RO1. Both Kappus and Wilder are trainees from our transplant hepatology, our program, but they're both very interested in research in hepatology patients, so most of the grants in the past have gone. You'll meet some of the other awardees. [Dr. Carla Brady 00:35:55] is one of the prior awardees. [Dr. Cindy Moylan 00:35:58]. All of them, those four, are all involved with hepatology and the program, so we'll talk about some of the programs and you're gonna meet some of the fellows, and you're gonna meet a sizable percentage of the faculty at dinner. Women and underrepresented minorities at dinner.

Dr. Curry: Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Get a chance to talk about some

Dr. Curry: Yeah. Dr. Killenberg came just before I was getting ready to leave, but he was a very impressive person.

Dr. Wilson: Indeed. When I got here, he was just a very ... He's still carrying on some of the research and liver and bile 

Dr. Curry:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Dr. Wilson:  ... recall he just 

Dr. Curry: Yeah, he was working with us on our bile acid metabolism.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. He just died recently, and then-

Dr. Curry: Yeah. He was from our college.

Dr. Wilson: Yes, and [Dr. Crawford 00:36:51] was at the VA. I don't know if you've ever [crosstalk 00:36:53]

Dr. Curry: I remember Steve Crawford. Yeah, he was there when I was rotating [crosstalk 00:36:56]

Dr. Wilson: Right. So, you and I overlap.

Dr. Curry: Is he still there?

Dr. Wilson: No, no, no. The VA has been impressive in it's work with both his research in liver and pancreas, and then also, in hepatitis C.

Dr. Curry: Oh really?

Dr. Wilson: And then one of the best eradication rates, cure rates in the country-

Dr. Curry: Really?

Dr. Wilson:   ... for the VA system. Yes.

Dr. Curry: Very good.

Dr. Wilson:  And you ... I'm not sure you will meet [Dr. Steve Choi], who has shifted that program and is now the division chief over at the VA. So, your VA is doing awesome things.

Dr. Curry: No kidding.

Dr. Wilson: Yes, yes. And both of my daughters are faculty based at the VA as well as my son-in-law, but they're in psychiatry.

Dr. Curry: Psychiatry?

Dr. Wilson: Yes. Not GI.

Dr. Curry: Okay, not GI.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. But-

Dr. Curry: You tried.

Dr. Wilson: Yes. Now, what about ... So, if you're trainees from Howard, how have you ... I know that you've mentored a number and ... I know some of them.

Dr. Curry: Yes. We ... Of course. We had a very limited number of people. Each year, we would only have two to three in our program, and they've done quite well. They're ... We have, I think, four trainees who affiliate with Morehouse University down in Atlanta. So, they are continuing with their academic ... I think they're also doing some private practice, but they are still interested in academic medicine.

And we have a young lady who was very interested in liver research, who was affiliated with [Baylor 00:38:45], and I think she's still at Baylor. So, some of our trainees ... Of course, when people come to DC, they want to stay in DC, so many of them are in still in the DC area-

Dr. Wilson: [inaudible 00:38:59] practice.

Dr. Curry: ... but what they're doing mostly is private practice, and we could have a private practice at Howard, but you had to have it in the hospital, and that was because some of the people that were in private practice and the various subspecialties would pick up their check at Howard, but they were out in the city doing private practice. So, they did so, but we had to ... We could have a private practice, but it had to be at the university, which was fine with me.

Dr. Wilson: That's a... that we have here at the private... We will be having [Dr. Charles Hal 00:39:40] come as a visiting professor, later in the year.

Dr. Curry: Oh really?

Dr. Wilson: Yes, yes.

Dr. Curry:  I met Dr. Hal at one of the DDW meetings when he was a fellow. I think he trained in Colorado.

Dr. Wilson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Curry: And so I've known him for many years, and I know when he left Colorado and he went to the University of Maryland. And then, I think maybe six or seven years ago, he left the University of Maryland to go to Howard to be the chief of medicine.

Dr. Wilson: Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Dr. Curry:  But, I don't know how much research he's ... He was interested in liver also.

Dr. Wilson: Right. He was quite active with research. Do you have any words for our GI people here, based on your long experience that's now approaching, what, 45 years?

Dr. Curry:  Yes, and I can still walk. Well, I think there are many things that are obstacles, but you have to just barrel over them and just keep on pushing, and I think it's important for people to recognize the fact that you can't just read about diseases, you still need to see patients and put your hands on. I think that's still a very important league.

The patient that you and I were talking about recent [inaudible 00:41:14] who's hospitalized here, he was very disgusted with the patient care. I would like for them to always remember that the patient is foremost and I would like for them to always enjoy the art of medicine, which is not just reading about medical diseases, but also hands-on patient care, because that lets the patient know that you really are concerned about them.

And I think even little things can mean a lot to patients, because when I was still practicing, I decided to start sending my patients Christmas cards every year, so I bought beautiful Christmas cards. Not roses, five and dime type Christmas cards, but beautiful Christmas cards. I got some of the secretaries, who were very delighted to help me, to address them and send them to the patients, and many of the patients called me and said, "I received a Christmas card from you and it's a beautiful card."

And it was just like they were just so touched that the doctor would think enough to send them a personal Christmas card, so I started doing that every year and it's just little things like that that patients really do appreciate because that way, they see that you are concerned about them. So I think, in being concerned about the patients, you really enjoy the art of medicine, which is not just reading about it, but hands-on patient care.

Dr. Wilson: And then ... Now you retired from Howard and you've taken on another full-time job for now how many years?

Dr. Curry: About seven or eight years.

Dr. Wilson:  At?

Dr. Curry:  At Central Regional Hospital in Butner, which I was not familiar with, although I grew up in North Carolina, and I travel 85, but I had not really paid much attention to Butner. But, after I retired from Howard, I wanted to keep busy. I think it's good for people to stay active, and a company called and asked if I could come down to Dorothea Dix, which was in Raleigh Psychiatric Hospital, for four months.

And I said, "Well this is good." I didn't want any full-time employment, I had just retired. So, I said, "Okay. I'll go for four months." So, I came to Raleigh for four months an then they said, "Can you stay another four months? And another four months?" And then last year ... The year before last, I got a five year certificate, so I said, "Well, I guess I've been here a little longer than four months."

Dr. Wilson: Yes. You and other colleagues, who have been retired, have given incredible care to patients who have a hard time getting their general care at psychiatric ...

Dr. Curry: Yeah, we don't do right by mentally ill people, and that's not just North Carolina. That's all over the country.

Dr. Wilson: Well, my daughter's would support you. They are in ...

Dr. Curry: They're both in psychiatry?

Dr. Wilson: One is a psychiatrist, MD psychiatrist from Duke, and the other is a PhD clinical psychologist, also trained at Duke.

Dr. Curry: So they know what I'm talking about.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah, they know what you're talking about, and the youngest is doing ... has a crew development award through the VA to do research on mental illness.

Dr. Curry:  Oh that's great.

Dr. Wilson: PTSD and HIV.

Dr. Curry: Is that the one that rotated at Central Regional?

Dr. Wilson: No, the MD one rotated at Central Regional.

Dr. Curry: Okay.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah, and she's worked here at Duke and the VA, and my son-in-law's a PhD research psychologist at the VA, they're all working on major illnesses that we see. PTSD and [inaudible 00:45:14].

Dr. Curry: Oh really?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Curry: Oh that's great.

Dr. Wilson: ...so it's been great. So, they're not GI, but they're your second specialty. Well, in internus. I appreciate your comments about keeping involved and keeping your hands-on patients and not just ... and our GI people frequently get incredible compliments for their medical care at the art of medicine. 'Cause we have to do procedures that people don't normally like.

Dr. Curry: Absolutely. Especially colonoscopies.

Dr. Wilson: True. Right, right. Yes, any further comments?

Dr. Curry: No, and as over the years, it's been a pleasure knowing you and I've followed your career.

Dr. Wilson: Well thank you.

Dr. Curry: And I've been very impressed. I remember when you left Michigan and came to Duke. I was not too surprised. I said, "Well, she's going back to her roots."

Dr. Wilson: Right. Yes, it's been wonderful. There'll be a family reunion here in Durham, they're having it here for my maternal grandmother's family, the [Watkin's 00:46:28] and there'll probably be 600 plus people if not more.

Dr. Curry: Really?

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. I think I was telling you, my grandmother was one of twelve, and then she had ten kids. Many of her siblings had a lot of kids, and I'm one of seven, so the numbers keep multiplying.

Dr. Curry: Keep the name going.

Dr. Wilson: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. Great. Well, super.