Ninety-one-year-old, medical pioneer, Dr. Margaret Elizabeth Brand, recaptured history for a moment when she recounted memories she and husband, the late Dr. Paul Brand, shared from the more than four decades the Brands treated countless leprosy patients from Vellore, India to Carville, Louisiana. Their groundbreaking work made it possible for insensate patients, including those with leprosy and diabetes, to function normally despite enormous handicaps. Both Paul and Margaret traveled the world to teach others about their research and treatment successes and served as advocates for their patients.
In tribute to their life's mission, Barry University's School of Podiatric Medicine (BUSPM) honored the Brands by officially naming Barry's first research hub; the "Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center." On April 29th, Dr. Margaret Brand joined renowned wound care and diabetic limb salvage physicians as well as Barry faculty, staff, students, and alumni for a celebration of the medical pioneers' work and the center's dedication.
Dr. Margaret Brand was a medical pioneer on leprosy's effects on the eye. Inside eye camps, in rural India, Brand would perform more cataract surgeries in one day - up to one hundred - than many American ophthalmologists perform in a month. Brand continues to play violin at church events, participates in Bible studies, and continues her advocacy for her patients.
"The dedication of the Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center at Barry University will continue the Brand's legacy by conducting collaborative research to reduce diabetic complications including ulcers and amputations. Our work here has already started as Dr. Gerhild Packert, professor of biology and associate dean for the Barry University College of Nursing and Health Sciences and I are collaborating on a US Department of Defense $1.9 million research grant that will study if Nitric Oxide can safely penetrate tissues and eradicate bacteria to benefit soldiers wounded in the field." said Dr. Jeffrey Jensen, dean and professor for the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine.
Philip Yancey, author of three books with Paul Brand served as host and keynote speaker for the Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center Dedication, Yancey indicated that, "Earlier on April 29, 2011 more than a billion people tuned in to watch a lavish royal wedding in London. Later that same day, a much smaller crowd gathered in Miami Shores, Florida to honor two humble missionary doctors, Paul and Margaret Brand, who worked with some of the most neglected people on the planet, yet whose work led to treatments that improved the lives of millions."
Distinguished guests attending the dedication included Dr. Desmond Bell, co-founder and executive director of the Save a Leg, Save a Live Foundation; Dr. Lee Rogers, associate medical director of the Amputation Prevention Center at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Las Angeles; Dr. William Todd, former dean of Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine; Dr. Gary Rothenberg, residency director and attending podiatrist for the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Miami; and Dr. David Armstrong, professor of surgery and director of University of Arizona's, Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, and keynote speaker for commencement.
Dr. Robert Snyder, professor and director of clinical research for the Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center at Barry University stated, "The messages and lessons learned in Dr. Paul Brand's book The Gift of Pain and Dr. Margaret Brand's work entitled Vision for God: The Story of Margaret Brand will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Several world leaders in diabetic wound salvage, wound care, and diabetes who were unable to attend paid tribute to Drs. Paul and Margaret Brand in recollections published in the dedication's keepsake program. According to Dr. Marvin Levin, a world authority on the diabetic foot and professor emeritus of clinical medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, "All the surgeons, podiatrists, diabetologists and other specialists who care for the patient with peripheral neuropathy and foot ulcers, and especially the patients who have benefitted from Paul's expertise and lifetime dedication to making their lives better, owe him a big thank you."
Dr. Andrew Boulton, renowned professor of medicine with a special interest in diabetic complications at the University of Manchester stated, "I regarded Dr. Paul Brand as probably the most important contributor to our understanding of mechanisms of foot ulceration in patients with lack of sensation."
Dr. Robert Warriner, chief medical officer of Diversified Clinical Services indicated, "All of us who work with neuropathic patients owe a debt to Dr. Brand that we can only repay by applying all that he has taught to us each and every patient we care for."
Dr. Glenn Gastwirth, executive director of the America Podiatric Medical Association, spoke at the dedication and offered congratulations to BUSPM on establishing the new Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center as a legacy to the pioneering work of Drs. Paul and Margaret Brand as medical missionaries.
Also providing words of praise in tribute of Paul and Margaret Brand were Dr. John Steinberg, BUSPM '95; Dr. Ace Anglin, BUSPM '96; Drs. Terence and Cynthia McDonald, BUSPM '92; and Dr. Bradley Haves, BUSPM '90.
More than $55,000 in gifts, pledges, and in-kind contributions have already been made. The new "Paul & Margaret Research Center" will make it possible for Barry professors and students to conduct research studies to identify the best treatment to promote wound healing, reduce amputations and educate the public on prevention.
Sponsors for the dedication ceremony included Bako Podiatric Pathology Services, NB Therapeutics, MedEfficiency, Inc, Organogenesis, Inc, and Advanced BioHealing., while Koven Technology donated reduced cost vascular equipment and Tekscan donated reduced cost biomechanics equipment.
On behalf of the Barry faculty and staff, Barry Board of Trustees, Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD, president of Barry University unveiled the dedication plaque and read the inscription, "Dedicated on this day, April 29, 2011 The Paul & Margaret Brand Research Center at Barry University. The Profession of podiatric medicine and humankind has greatly benefited from the committed research and patient care of these dedicated individuals."