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Column: Award harkens back to hospital’s early days
by Thornton Kennedy
June 18, 2014 11:41 AM | 2804 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
Dr. Ludwig Amster, the founding father of Piedmont Hospital, is described as having a “zeal for knowledge.”

He published articles and read constantly in an effort to share and expand his medical knowledge with his colleagues and to learn about new and experimental treatments, according to Ruth N. Henley in her history book of Piedmont, “Sanatorium to Medical Center.”

This was more than 100 years ago, as Dr. Wilcox McRae was joining Amster in establishing what would become the premier hospital in Atlanta on Capitol Avenue. It has since moved to Peachtree Road in Buckhead and is now called Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

This foundation of sharing knowledge and publishing work remains an important legacy to this day through the Montague Boyd Award, which was given June 9 to Piedmont Healthcare professionals who published exemplary works last year. The honor is given annually to encourage Piedmont medical professionals to publish their work.

Dr. Montague Lafitte Boyd was among Piedmont Hospital’s first doctors and was one of the first doctors in the U.S. to specialize in urology. Born in 1882 in Bulloch County, Boyd graduated from Emory University and Johns Hopkins University. During World War I he studied urological conditions in the British and French armies. Following the war, the young doctor established the urological department at Piedmont, which he oversaw until his retirement.

In addition to being a remarkable doctor, Boyd had an affinity for writing and publishing his findings in medical journals. He created in 1924 the Piedmont Hospital Bulletin, which was the first publication of case studies and medical findings in the Southeast. The hospital continued publishing the bulletin until 1939.

Piedmont has grown beyond anything Amster, McRae or Boyd could imagine with five campuses and close to 100 physician and specialist offices across metro Atlanta today. However, through the Sauls Memorial Library and the grandson and namesake of Boyd, the health system continues to honor well-written, well-researched works beneficial to public health.

This year, the published materials included books, singular chapters within books and articles. Some 26 total publications were submitted for review by committee. Of those, five were honored.

Rather than going into all of the winners and subjects of their papers, I think it is more beneficial to reflect on our community’s roots and how acts such as this help us to recognize where we have come from and more importantly sets a high standard for the future. Boyd retired from medicine in 1959, and died in 1965 at age 82. His apparent love of writing, his need to share information with others and his passion for medicine continue to this day, quietly, through the Montague Boyd Award.

Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlanta resident and a former news editor of this paper. He can be reached at

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