School of Medicine’s New Amphitheater Dedicated to W. Proctor Harvey

Nov. 11, 2015 -- On Oct. 23, the newly completed W. Proctor Harvey Clinical Teaching Amphitheater was dedicated to its namesake, noted cardiologist and esteemed Georgetown University School of Medicine professor W. Proctor Harvey, MD. The dedication was part of the School of Medicine’s reunion weekend.

Harvey joined the faculty at the School of Medicine in 1950 and remained on staff for 55 years. He passed away in October 2007.

It Takes a Village

The new amphitheater, which is the home of the Georgetown-MedStar Health Education Institute, cost about $10 million dollars, $8.5 million of which was contributed by 600 individual donors. MedStar Health, GUMC’s clinical partner, contributed an additional $1.1 million to the space, which will be used for weekly clinical grand rounds and will be open to attending physicians, residents and medical students.

“The amphitheater will be a vehicle that will link us to a wide variety of academic opportunities including grand rounds and other teaching conferences throughout the MedStar system,” said Edward Healton, MD, MPH, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine. “The potential for graduate and continuing medical education system-wide and beyond is tremendous.”  

The amphitheater seats 308 and can be separated into two 154-seat rooms with an electronic “sky wall.” Each seat is outfitted with its own electric outlet and audio connection with headphones so that every student can clearly hear an audio track played by a professor. During the dedication ceremony, the audience used the headphones to listen to two of over 30,000 heart sounds and murmurs that Harvey recorded throughout his career.

The state-of-the-art amphitheater also boasts several 100-inch projector screens, giving students a clear view of visual teaching aides from anywhere in the room.  

The Man Behind the Legend

Alex Trivette (N’12, M’16), Harvey’s grandson and School of Medicine student, offered reflections about his grandfather at the dedication ceremony.

“I knew him as an endearing and humble man who constantly challenged everyone around him, whether they practiced medicine or not, to increase their give-to-take ratio, a ratio of what you give in life to what you take from others,” said Trevette.

From his clinical mentorship to his propensity to distribute sandwiches to students who visited during office hours, Harvey was remembered as a man who gave in a myriad of ways.

Many would argue that his greatest gift was to his patients.

“Dr. Harvey would listen to their hearts,” said Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “He wouldn’t go to the CATH lab, he didn’t do other testing. He looked, he listened with the stethoscope.” 

“Harvey was a high touch doc. He believed in heavy hands on, in terms of examining a patient, connecting to them physically and emotionally,” said Stephen Evans, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer at MedStar Health.

Harvey is most-recognized for being one of the country’s most skilled practitioners of auscultation -- the detection of cardiac ailments made by closely listening to the heart. Of the 30,000 heart sounds and murmurs he recorded throughout his 55-year career, 2,788 were included in Clinical Heart Disease, a book published in 2007 months before his death.

“Through this new teaching space we greatly enhance our capacity to provide the very best context for young people to immerse themselves in medical education and training,” said John J. DeGioia, PhD, president of Georgetown University. “In this innovative classroom, we honor the legacy of an extraordinary doctor who served our community for over 50 years. Dr. Harvey offers an example of excellence that continues to inspire us to live out our mission of academic medicine every day.”

Leigh Ann Renzulli
GUMC Communications