The late Dr. Richard E. Kerber mentored class after class of cardiology fellows for decades. To honor that devotion, the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine remodeled and dedicated their fellows’ lounge in Dr. Kerber’s memory. Donations to fund the project came from colleagues and former trainees.
Besides new furniture, work stations, and other comforts, the Richard E. Kerber Cardiology Fellows Room also features a binder filled with evidence of Dr. Kerber’s contributions to the field. Dr. Kerber was a leader in echocardiography and CPR and that influence will remain on display in the room. Two pieces of art special to Dr. Kerber also hang on the far wall. The first is an M-mode echo framed next to a poem written by a former fellow, Dr. Joseph Gascho. The other is a photograph that Dr. Kerber hung in his own office of a model of an ancient Roman device powered by running enslaved people to lift heavy stones into place on an aqueduct project in southern France. It was, Dr. Kerber pointed out, “the first treadmill.” In addition to his wit, Dr. Kerber was known to many as a man who found beauty at the intersection of mechanics and artistry.
Earlier this month, the division hosted a formal ribbon-cutting to celebrate Dr. Kerber’s life and legacy. Dozens of friends, family, and colleagues lined the hall outside the new room. First, Division Director Dr. Barry London welcomed the guests and introduced those who would speak after him. Each of Dr. Kerber’s two sons, Ross and Justin, shared fond memories of their father. Dr. Laila Payvandi, a former fellow and “a second-generation” cardiologist in Cedar Rapids, was also in attendance with her father, Dr. Naser Payvandi, one of Dr. Kerber’s first fellows. She described how much Dr. Kerber’s teaching style influenced her own approach to working with trainees. Another former fellow and now faculty member Dr. Saket Girotra sounded similar notes, stressing just how encouraging and generous with his time Dr. Kerber was.
Another special guest in attendance was Bruce McAvoy, Fire Safety Chief, who is taking the lead in establishing another initiative in Dr. Kerber’s memory. More information about that memorial will be coming soon.
After the remarks, Dr. Linda Kerber and her sons lined up outside the door, golden scissors in hand, to formally open the room. Guests mingled long after, sharing their own stories and walking through a room that will be home to many stories in the years to come.