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Curtis Hames

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DR. CURTIS GORDON HAMES, SR. Died January 6, 2005 in Savannah, Georgia after a long illness. He was a native and life long resident of Claxton, Georgia where he practiced medicine from 1947 to 1988. He was one of the last of the so called general practitioners caring for his patients from birth to old age. He truly loved the practice of medicine and meeting the everyday medical needs of his patients. To him the true physician was one who was able to bring to the suffering patient a quiet sense of humility, dignity, confidence, and security based upon the conviction that all will be done that can be done.While seeing as many as 50 to 60 patients a day Dr. Hames somehow found the time in the mid 1950s to begin an epidemiologic study of Evans County residents that attracted international attention from the scientific community. The National Institutes of Health funded the Evans County Heart Study from 1958 to 1995. This study allowed Dr. Hames to become one of the first researchers to study patients within their environment. The data collected resulted in over 560 published papers in major medical journals worldwide on subjects including heart disease, genetics, cancer, hypertension, stroke, pesticide pollution, neurohormones, and psychological determinants of disease, immunology, viruses, and the effects of social interaction on disease. It was one of the first studies to show the protective value of HDL cholesterol and the possible impact of the absence of certain trace elements in the diet of coastal residents. This study became model for many other family practice community based research projects including most recently HamesNet created by the Medical College of Georgia Department of Family Practice and named in his honor. In addition, The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine established the Curtis G. Hames Research Award in Family Medicine. The award, supported by the Hames Endowment of the Medical College of Georgia, is given annually to honor those individuals whose careers over the years exemplify dedication to research in family medicine. Dr. Hames was a Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Medical College of Georgia; a Clinical Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina; a Visiting Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina; an Adjunct Professor, Family Medicine, Mercer Medical School; Adjunct Professor, School of Health and Professional Studies, Georgia Southern University. Some of the many honors he received include the Lamartine Griffin Hardman Cup Award presented by the Medical Association of Georgia, the Albert Lasker Special Public Health Award, the Curtis G. Hames, Chair in Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, the Curtis G. Hames Scholarships in Nursing at Georgia Southern University, and he was the 1984 recipient of the John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award. He received a Doctor of Science Degree from Emory University in 1991, and a Doctor of Medical Science from the Medical College of South Carolina in 1996. He was past President of the Georgia Heart Association, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a member of the American Medical Association, and a Trustee of the Medical College of Georgia Foundation. He was also an active member numerous local civic organizations and clubs. Outside of medicine his main interest was in the study of genealogy of the Hames family line. He was able to trace the Hames family to being one of the first families to emigrate from England to the Tidewater region of Virginia in the 1600s. He coauthored 2 books on the Hames Heritage and was member of numerous genealogy societies, including the Georgia Historical Society, First Families of Georgia, the Huguenot Society and the Society of the Cincinnati. Dr. Hames is survived by his wife Betty of Claxton, GA.,his two sons Dr. Curtis G. Hames of Claxton GA. and Dr. R. Christopher Hames of New York City and his granddaughter Buffi Hames Baltz of St. Simons Island, GA.Visitation will be held Saturday, January 8, 2004 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home in Claxton, Georgia. Interment will be in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah with a private graveside service. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to the Curtis G. Hames Chair of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga., the Curtis G. Hames Scholarship in Nursing at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., or Evans Memorial Foundation in Claxton. Fox and Weeks Funeral Directors Hodgson Chapel.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 8, 2005
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