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Duke Neurology members, alumni reunite, celebrate Don Sanders at AAN

Thursday, May 9, 2019

More than 50 current and former faculty and trainees of the Duke Neurology Department met at the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia on Wednesday to reminisce about their time at Duke and celebrate the continuing career of Don Sanders, MD. Clinicians from three continents and who completed their training at Duke from 1982 to 2019 attended the event during the 71st annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Graduates of our residency and neuromuscular fellowship program were most common. More than a dozen heartfelt tributes to how Sanders made a lasting impact on their lives. The following quotes are just few of many:

  • "It has been an absolute privilege to have been trained and mentored by Don Sanders...For our neuromuscular faculty, Don is a highly supportive colleague and his perspectives are invaluable. Though he is retired from clinical practice, he remains incredibly productive and sets a standard for his junior colleagues. Don is a revered colleague and friend. I continue to learn from his insight and experience, and he is most well-deserving of this recognition by our department." - Vern Juel, MD

  • "Don Sanders  has had an immeasurable impact on my personal career, and he has had a similar great influence on many of the top neuromuscular specialists in the United States and abroad. He has had this impact through clinical training, mentorship, and research collaborations. I was fortunate to enter my neuromuscular fellowship at a unique time in his career when his clinical work was winding down. I saw patients in the hospital and clinic with him and learned EMG skills from the master. Later, he was able to spend a lot of time on research and mentorship, and I tried to soak up as much as I could (and I still do). I routinely think about how fortunate I was to be at the right place and at the right time. - Jeffrey Guptill, MD

  • "Without Don, my career would have been remarkably less productive and meaningful...Don is one of only a few who has dramatically made my career—and by extension, my life—better than it otherwise would have been. I say this while I’m in my sixth year of battling cancer, during a time I frequently take inventory of my life and my career. While the impact I’ve had on my family will always be what’s most important to me, what I’ve been able to accomplish during my career has given me great satisfaction, fulfillment and comfort; and Don has played a huge role in that, for which I will forever be grateful." - Ted Burns, MD

  • "Dr. Don Sanders was and continues to be one of Duke Neurology’s greatest assets. His international reputation for excellence in electrodiagnostic medicine, particularly single fiber EMG, and myasthenia gravis was a major factor in my decision to apply for fellowship at Duke...Dr. Sanders’ steady guidance and support have furthered my own career and that of countless others, including many of our current faculty. There are no words to thank him enough for all he has done for patients and physicians across the world." - Lisa Hobson-Webb, MD

  • "In his well-known polite, serious and understanding way he has treated patients, trained young colleagues, created an outstanding EMG laboratory and in a systematic way collected data in the area of neuromuscular disorders, to the benefit of all involved. It is a privilege to see Don work, to explore his mind on difficult medical problems and to get his solid advice in any problem that you can share with a good friend." -Erik Stålberg, MD

  • "Dr. Sanders is a great teacher, but he is also a very compassionate and considerate human. I was a fellow at Duke EMG lab in 2001 during the tragic events of 9/11. Those were very hard days for all of us grieving all the innocent lives that we lost, but especially hard for me and my wife being Muslims from the Middle East. Dr. Sanders and everyone in the lab made us feel home. I still remember very well the gathering that he made in his house for all of us, in which it was so obvious to me and my wife that he made everything in his capacity to make us feel home and that we belong, the things we needed most at that time." - Khalid El-Salem, MD
  • "With Dr. Sanders his reputation precedes him, and this reputation is so internationally well respected and regarded throughout the Neurologic community. I am exceedingly impressed by his persistent and committed investment in continuing to move the field forward, and by his interest in fostering an environment of curiosity within our Neuromuscular division."   - Karissa Gable, MD