The Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn (SUN-B) held its annual membership breakfast at the Bay Ridge Manor on April 21 to celebrate members, honor exceptional personnel and listen to the event’s guest speaker, bestselling author Dr. Sandeep Jauhar.
“I want to emphasize that every year, Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn has this breakfast to celebrate our membership, to thank you for support, to let you know how wonderful you are,” said Vicki Ellner, founder of SUN-B during the event. “Without your support, we really would not have the energy, the enthusiasm or the expertise.”
Jauhar, a cardiologist and director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, spoke about his journey to medicine as well as his new book, Doctored: the Disillusionment of an American Physician.
“The title of the book alone captured my imagination,” said Ellner. “It’s extremely well written and enlightening. It confirms some things we know. It’s provocative, has the dynamics of a great read and provides an educational experience that is very insightful.”
Jauhar, born in New Delhi, India, discussed how he got into the competitive field of medicine. “When I was growing up, like a lot of folks, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My father was a scientist and he had a rigid concept of what constituted a respectable career. His favorite saying was non-science is nonsense,” he laughed.
Originally interested in becoming a physicist instead of a doctor like his parents wished, Jauhar went to Berkeley College, where he studied physics. Then, he encountered a fork in the road.
“Life is a fantastic road trip and one of the most transformative experiences in my life was that when I was in graduate school, my girlfriend became sick with lupus. And that was transformative for me because I knew next to nothing about medicine,” he said. “I found myself visiting doctors and going to support group meetings and I was fascinated with the idea that people don’t have a concept of what causes it [lupus], how to fix it and how to prognosticate it. That was just bizarre.” It inspired Jauhar to attend medical school and become a journalist.
“I know it sounds cliché but this was the case for me,” Jauhar went on. “I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something in my life that allowed me to interact with my fellow humans and try to help them.”
His second book, Doctored, was released in August, 2014 and delves into the crisis of the country’s medicine. “It’s about my own personal crisis as well as the larger crisis of American medicine and how they’re interrelated,” he said. “There was an existential problem that doctors weren’t being allowed to be the professionals that they wanted to be. A lot of physicians were doing shady things that they were ashamed of: Not enough time with patients, ordering unnecessary tests to generate revenue.”
After a brief Q and A, Jauhar signed books for several attendees.
During the award ceremony, SUN-B President and Chair Angela Villanella and SUN-B Vice President Alan Chen received the World Award honors for their commitment to the organization. The Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, the Menorah Center, the King David Center and the Saints Joachim and Anne Center were also honored.