Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by Lee Burnett, DO, FAAFP
The passing of Doctor G. Gayle Stephens in March 2014 will be observed at the 25th National Conference on Primary Health Care, to be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.
Leading the memorial plenary session will be Doctor Donald Frey of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska and Doctor John Geyman, Emeritus Professor of the University of Washington.
Doctor Stephens was an important influence on the evolution of the National Conferences, personally attending and enriching seven of them.
For him, the Conferences created its named lecture series and invited him to present the first G. Gayle Stephens Lecture at the Second National Conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The result of the invitation was his electrifying lecture, whose most memorable lines associated the complex of high technological medical institutions and entities with the childhood story of “the big red bull who ate and ate and never got full”.
Stephens was inducted as a Fellow of the National Conferences, participating in seven of the National Conferences held between 1991 and 2002.
Although he was scheduled to be present in 2005 at the celebration of the first 15 Stephens Lectures at the16th National Conference in San Diego, family illness prevented his travel from his home in Birmingham, Alabama.
Patched in electronically he gave his thoughts to each quotations from each of the 15 Stephens Lectures held to date, each quotation read by a panel comprised of three former Stephens Lecturers.
An observance of the first 25 Stephens Lectures is scheduled for the 26th National Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, California (near Disneyland).
Observing the lifetime contributions of Doctor Stephens to family and community medicine and to primary health care access, will be a session that begins with the 24th Stephens Lecture by one of his close friends, Doctor Rick Flinders of the Santa Rosa (California) Family Medicine. [See What to Expect: Rick Flinders, MD, mentored by the late G. Gayle Stephens, to be 24th Stephens Lecturer..]
The 24rth Stephens Lecture will be followed by a commemorative plenary session, led by Doctor Donald Frey of Creighton University in Omaha, and Doctor John Geyman, who was a colleague of Gayle’s throughout much of the history of the family medicine movement. Both Doctors Frey and Geyman were past G. Gayle Stephens Lecturers at the National Conferences.