Centenary College of Louisiana announces Ebola doctor as 2015 commencement speaker

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Dr. Jay B. Varkey, one of five Emory University infectious disease physicians who treated the first two patients with Ebola virus disease to be treated in the United States, has accepted an invitation to deliver the 2015 commencement address at Centenary College of Louisiana.

Dr. Varkey

Dr. Jay B. Varkey

My hope is that by providing excellent care here, we learn processes that can be translated and expanded.

Dr. Jay B. Varkey, one of five Emory University infectious disease physicians who treated the first two patients with Ebola virus disease to be treated in the United States, has accepted an invitation to deliver the 2015 commencement address at Centenary College of Louisiana. Varkey will share his experiences with graduates and guests during the College’s commencement exercises on May 2.

Dr. Varkey and the other four physicians later treated two additional patients, and all four patients successfully treated in the Serious Communicable Disease Unit in Emory University Hospital were discharged to return to their families and communities between August and October 2014.

"My hope is that by providing excellent care here, we learn processes that can be translated and expanded," said Dr. Varkey in an interview in Time magazine. "In my opinion, in a fair and just world, if these processes are really key to improving survival in a disease like Ebola, countries that are developing can institute them."

Varkey received his B.A. in international affairs and political science and graduated with honors from Marquette University in 1998. In 2002, he graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin where he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases at Duke University Medical Center. In 2009, Varkey was recruited to Emory University to become the Director of the Antimicrobial Management Program and a hospital epidemiologist at Emory University Hospital. He is an active teacher and lecturer and is the Co-Director of the clinical infectious diseases elective for second-year medical students and the global issues in antimicrobial resistance course for public health students.

"Dr. Varkey has translated an undergraduate education rooted in the liberal arts into a meaningful career as an infectious diseases physician and educator," said Centenary President David Rowe. "His critical work treating Ebola patients has placed him at the center of one of the most pressing global challenges we face today, and I know that it will be inspiring for our graduates to hear his story as they prepare to put their Centenary training and experiences to work for the greater good, especially those pursuing careers in the medical field."

Paige Pritchett '15, headed to graduate school to study epidemiology, is one of those students.

"As someone who is pursuing graduate study in public health, I was delighted to find out that Dr. Jay B. Varkey is speaking at graduation this year," said Pritchett. "Centenary has taught us to be global citizens always learning and always in service to the world. My class should be proud to have someone speaking who lives out the values that Centenary instills in its graduates."

Centenary's commencement is held in the College's Gold Dome. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. on May 2, and seating is first come, first served.

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Kate Pedrotty
Centenary College Of Louisiana
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