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An Evening with Dr. Benjamin Gilmer: The Other Dr. Gilmer

by | May 4, 2023

Dr. Benjamin Gilmer in conversation with Dr. John W. Kuykendall.

Thursday night Main Street Books hosted a conversation between Dr. Benjamin Gilmer and Dr. John Kuykendall, Davidson College president emeritus. Since the event was too big to hold at Main Street Books, it was held at the Hurt Hub. The standing room only crowd was a great mix of students, faculty and staff, and members of the Davidson community.

The paperback version of the book is now available, and a movie might be in the works.

The candid dialog between the “doctors,” one M.D. and the other a PhD and D. Div., was far more than a conversation about a book. It ranged from details about the process Gilmer used to write the book to a longer, in depth conversation about the challenges of the mental health care system in America.

About the book: Since its release in March of 2022, THE OTHER DR. GILMER has had an impactful course by inspiring the unprecedented reversal of Vince Gilmer’s clemency rejection by Virginia’s Governor, Ralph Northam. Readers have resonated with its page-turning, true crime-murder-medical mystery narrative, but ultimately, it’s a deeply personal memoir that enabled me to learn a very important lesson, reverence for life – that our greatest duty is to recognize and support those who are fighting for their lives.

Originally based on one of the most popular This American Life podcasts which I co-produced with Sarah Koenig (Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde), the book chronicles in greater detail the bizarre beginning of my career in medicine in rural Appalachia, following in the footsteps of a murderer with my name. Confronting the other Dr. Gilmer forced me to take a deeper look at myself and to be transformed by the bizarre intersection of our lives. Marked by the horrors of mass incarceration, writing this book became an act of desperation to liberate the other Dr. Gilmer before he dies in prison.

Dr. Gilmer took time to sign books – including this one for biology and pre-med major Jenna DeLucca.

About the author: Dr. BENJAMIN GILMER is a family medicine physician in Asheville, North Carolina. He is an International Albert Schweitzer Fellow for Life and associate professor in the department of family medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). A former neurobiologist turned rural family doctor, Dr. Gilmer has lectured widely about medical ethics, rural health, and the intersection of medicine and criminal justice reform. He is a passionate teacher of medical education and leads MAHEC’s Rural Health Initiative, a program to inspire and train students to pursue rural medicine and advocacy.

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