George Diament Davis

DAVIS George Diament Davis, PhD died on Sunday, June 25, 2012. Born in Ithaca, New York to Nora Lippi and Herbert Davis on May 7, 1926. George married Barbara Hill Colladay on July 1, 1950. He is survived by his wife, only child Leslie Anne Davis and sister Nancy Davis Pratt of Portland , OR. Dr. Davis received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his PhD in neurophysiology from Yale University where he was mentored by Dr. John Fulton and met Barbara. He moved to New Orleans to join the faculty of the Physiology Department at the LSU Medical School in 1951. His research at LSU centered on the understanding of the neural basis of locomotor hyperactivity and various problems of peripheral nerve function. An equally important effort for him was assisting in the improvement in the medical teaching programs, from a pedagogical viewpoint and a technological basis. In 1966 there had been no significant change in the medical curriculum since the founding of the school. Chancellor Bill Frye asked Dean John Finerty to see what could be done to improve the situation. Dr. Finerty appointed Dr. Davis chairman of a group to make recommendations in the curriculum. The group helped the faculty understand the problems and possible solutions. They had great support from Drs. Frye and Finerty. After several weeks the group has a revised curriculum to propose and it was adopted by the faculty almost unanimously. The same approach produced a modernized grading system the next year. The new curriculum included first-year Neuroscience, including anatomy, physiology and related clinical specialties. As director of this course, Dr. Davis enlisted faculty members from all neurological disciplines to form teaching teams. This was the start of integrative medical education. For many years all residents in Neurology and Neurosurgery spent one summer semester in intensive study of neurophysiology. The Medical School had long enjoyed many ties with the Republic of Costa Rica. In the late 1950s, Costa Rica asked for help in starting a medical school. Some Costa Rican prospective faculty were brought to New Orleans for special training while the new building was erected on the campus in San Jose. Dr. Frye then designated Dr. Davis as "Chief of Party", he moved to Costa Rica for two years (1961-63) and assisted both the new faculty and many short-term visitors from LSU. Medical education also needed improvements in physical facilities and technical support. In the 1960s Dr. Jack Strong was charged with long-range planning for the LSU Medical Center. Dr. Strong asked Dr. Davis to chair the subcommittee on building requirements. The main accomplishment of this group was the design and completion of the Medical Education Building. Among the other applications of technology to medical education was the use of television. In 1953, following a couple of demonstrations of equipment, Dean Frye provided money for a TV camera and two TV sets. These were used to show various physiological demonstrations, sending pictures and narration from the laboratory to the first-year classroom. In 1968, the Division of Learning Resources was formed, combining sections of Medical Illustration, Photography, Television and Classroom services. He was named the initial Coordinator until his retirement in 1985. After retiring Dr. Davis coordinated the renovation of three homes in the uptown area. He was an active board member with Bayou Dachshund Club of New Orleans. He was very active in conformation, field trial and everything involving his standard, smooth dachshunds. He loved his dog show trips especially New York to attend the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and Reliant Series of Dog Shows in Houston.

Published in The Times-Picayune from June 28 to June 29, 2012


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