Remembering Dr. Thomas D. Rees and Tammy Morgan
| Nov 19, 2013 2:18 PM
It is with great sadness but deep fondness that I write about two dear losses to the Health Sciences this week.
Dr. Thomas D. Rees, class of 1948
Dr. Thomas D. Rees, class of 1948, was to me both a friend and a model of living a balanced life in medicine, marked by true excellence and compassion. For decades, in New York on 5th Avenue, Tom was known as one of the top plastic surgeons—he was a skilled artist, a sculptor of sorts, and recognized nationally as a leader in the field. His textbook on Aesthetic Plastic Surgery was the authoritative reference for decades. In East Africa, he was known as a life-saving doctor. Together with two renowned plastic surgeons, Tom co-founded of one of the largest health-related not-for-profits in Africa, AMREF (formerly Flying Doctors of Africa). In his gripping and eloquent memoir, Daktari, Tom Rees writes of his many adventures in East Africa, and of his and his wife, Nan’s lifelong dedication to providing critical health care to thousands.
I had heard about Tom back when I was at NYU because his work was legendary. I came to know him better when I arrived at the University of Utah and discovered his alumni connection here. Two years ago, Tom was one of the first of our Dean’s Round Table special guests, in which he shared his adventurous stories with our medical students. I was personally inspired to write more about him on my Notes Blog after his visit. Last year the University gave him its highest honor, an honorary doctorate degree.
Tom passed away peacefully away at his home in Santa Fe on Thursday, November 14th.
Please take a moment to read Dr. Rees' obituary in the New York Times.
Tammy Morgan worked at the University of Utah for 29 years, and most recently for 18 years in the School of Medicine as the departmental administrator for dermatology. I met Tammy during one of my earliest visits to Salt Lake City at a dinner of departmental administrators about a month before my official start date. From that very first meeting, I could see that Tammy was a capable and caring woman who was adored and respected by all. She was an astute businesswoman, working alongside her chair, Dr. John Zone to build one of the finest dermatology departments in the country.
In recent years, Tammy also became a patient with us. She fought her cancer valiantly and despite difficult times, she remained positive, always offering reassuring words to her colleagues and friends. At her service, Tammy’s husband, Don, recognized the many colleagues and well wishers, who would stop them in the hospital or clinics on their way to a doctor’s visit. When asked whether she wouldn’t prefer to come quietly and anonymously, she responded—never, because all of these friends and colleagues were “family.” We thought of her in exactly the same way.
Tammy passed away on Wednesday, November 13th.
We will miss them both.
Author: Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
About the Author: Dr. Vivian S. Lee is the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. Read her full bio herecomments powered by Disqus