The 2011 Donald W. Benson Lectureship on Pain Medicine was held on Thursday, June 9th at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The Benson Lecturer, Frank Porreca, PhD, from the University of Arizona, presented his lecture entitled "Descending Control Mechanisms In Acute And Chronic Pain."
We take this opportunity each year to demonstrate the comprehensive contributions made by Dr. Benson at Hopkins. We thank the Benson family for their continuing contributions to pain management and are happy to report the addition of the pain simulation ensemble that the Benson family helped us purchase is such a success. Dr. Benson's legacy continues to live today.
Dr. Donald W. Benson
A Remarkable Man Honored
by a Remarkable Family
By all accounts, it would not be a stretch to characterize the late Dr. Donald W. Benson as a Renaissance Man. Family members and colleagues describe him as prodigious in an array of eclectic endeavors. He was a scholar, a doctor, a tenor, an inventor, and an artisan. He was extraordinarily talented, but extremely humble.
At Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Benson was a highly esteemed Associate Professor of Anesthesiology from 1956 to 1974. His remarkable career encompassed many accomplishments—establishing a residency program in anesthesiology, inventing a positive-pressure ventilator, and developing a surgical intensive care unit, to name a few. Dr. John Ulatowski recognizes Dr. Benson as an extraordinary scholar and doctor and as a uniquely gifted technician and innovator.
Equally astounding is the fact that Dr. Benson’s entire family is eminently gifted and diverse. Mrs. Marjorie Benson, a former professional pianist who lives in Chicago, still plays the harpsichord that Dr. Benson built for her in the 1970s. Daughter Jane (SOM ’80), a pediatric radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is also a singer. Daughter Ruth is a dancer and choreographer in Boston, and son Brian has a doctorate in Population Dynamics from JHSPH and resides in England.
As a tribute to Dr. Benson’s unique legacy, the Benson family and devoted friends and colleagues continue to support the endowed Donald W. Benson Lectureship Series on Pain Medicine. The endowment, established while Dr. Benson was alive, was originally created to fund a library at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It has since evolved into a lectureship series that, according to Dr. Srinivasa Raja, Director of the Division of Pain Medicine, has allowed the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine to host prominent national and international scientists for the purpose of sharing current and future trends in areas of pain research. The endowment generously commemorates Dr. Benson’s devotion to education, innovation, and progress in the field of anesthesiology.