Trudy L. Bush, PhD, MHS (1949–2001)
With any new year, we like to take a moment to reflect back on those who have left us. This year, however, I want to reflect back a little longer, over the past 20 years of my work in medical education, to tell you about some of the people who I was fortunate enough to know.
The first is Dr. Trudy L. Bush.
“Every time we do a study or write a new guideline, it needs to be evaluated in the context of all the studies that came before. New findings and guidelines bring us closer to the truth but we may never reach it entirely.”
We were managing a series of continuing medical education events across the country on the topic of heart disease in women. The foremost specialists in the field were invited to participate. But in spite of all our efforts, there was one holdout, Dr. Bush.
I had heard Dr. Bush speak about her work in the leading clinical trials on heart disease. As one reviewer wrote, Dr. Bush could communicate the most complex scientific findings “in a clear manner without using scientific jargon and without talking down to her audiences.”
She would be perfect for our series, and I was determined to get Dr. Bush to participate. When I asked one of our confirmed speakers, Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor (another world-class specialist in the field), for advice, she replied: “Tell Trudy she can bring her dog.”
That did it. Dr. Bush agreed not only to participate but also to chair the conference.
The day of the event, 10 minutes before we were scheduled to begin, Trudy had not yet arrived. In a mild panic, I went down to the front entrance of the hospital to see if I could find her. Just then, an old MGB, top down, with a rather large dog in the passenger seat, came roaring up the circular drive.
The woman behind the wheel stopped and called out to me: “Hey, you must be Mark? Here’s my slides. Let’s go!” Dr. Bush handed me her tray of slides (yes, this was several years ago), grabbed her dog’s leash, and off we went, the three of us, into the building.
As we entered the conference room, filled with hundreds of physicians, Dr. Bush handed the dog’s leash over to me and went up to the podium. She welcomed everyone, showing no sign of having just arrived in the nick of time. Everyone stood up, applauding. Dr. Bush acknowledged the praise, and gesturing with both hands told everyone to sit. The minute her dog heard the word “sit,” down he went next to me, and he stayed that way until Dr. Bush came to collect him after the event.
I’ll never forget Trudy. Or her dog.
You can read more about Dr. Bush here:
Coming next in Mark’s series on remembering those who have made a difference:
Dr. Jay M. Sullivan
Dr. George Tiller
Dr. Frederick Montz
Chief Justice Harry Blackmun
Image attributed to https://www.slideshare.net