Speech – Dr. DeHart

23 April 2015

Good evening, friends, residents and fellow physicians. My name is Roy L. DeHart. This evening is very special and I am so pleased all of you could attend. On this day 55 years ago, I graduated from the University of Tennessee’s Medical School. On such a special day, I thought it only appropriate that, after more than 50 years as a medical professional, I announce my retirement as professor of occupational and environmental medicine here at Vanderbilt. I am also handing over the reigns of Vanderbilt Corporate Health Services to Dr. Jonas and allow a younger generation to lead the occupational health industry to greater heights. I was recently asked to be editor of yet another edition of Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine. When I started worked on the my first edition, 30 years ago, I never thought I would see the day that I would feel the need to hand over editorship to someone else. Well, friends, that day has come, and I could not be happier.

I have not come to retirement lightly, because I will admit I have been working for so many decades I do not know what else to do. My wife, Julia, who has been by my side for more than 70 years, used to joke that she would never let me retire. I almost believed her until she suggested that the time was right to slow down and relax. Relax? Me? That’s funny. I will be candid with each of you; I have no hobbies. You will not find me putting the green on the golf course. I do not hunt, nor will you see me casting a fishing rod on the lake. So what does one do with himself at this stage? I guess I will find that out along the way.

Before we depart this evening I would just like to make two important points that I learned late in my life that I think would benefit the younger residents and students in the audience.

One: Plan now for your retirement. Do not put off putting money in a 401K or even an IRA. It will help you much later in life. Make choices now that will guide you in the foreseeable future. Always plan ahead, because let’s face it; we do not know what the future holds for anyone. I have so enjoyed teaching, researching, writing, editing and helping clients and colleagues in the Air Force and in the realm of academia, but I am now ready to enjoy my retirement and thankfully I took my own advice and I hope you will to. Plan now so that when you’re pushing 80-years-old, you will not have anything to worry about.

Two: My second and final piece of advice to all of you is this: never let anyone or anything stop you from living your dreams. I have accomplished everything I have ever wanted to, and that’s because I did not take “no” for an answer. When I was just starting out in the medical profession in the early 1960s, I was told “no” plenty of times. I didn’t let that stop me. You shouldn’t either. NEVER allow anyone to hold you back from chasing or accomplishing the goals you have for yourself. Julia has been so supportive and understanding, and I have been so fortunate to see my own children accomplish their goals, even my grandchildren, too. It has been such an honor to serve all of you these many years.

As the sun sets on my career, the sun still shines brightly in my life, and I cannot wait to just kick back and coast from here on out. Thank you so every much.

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OHA is a private medical and consultation company, specializing in occupational health, patient advocacy, site visitations, and corporate presentations on toxicology, causation and aerospace medicine. For more information contact OHA at 615-556-8349 or visit OccupationalHealthNashville.com

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