IUSM alum Kent Brantly to speak at 2015 commencement

April 23, 2015

Dr. Kent Brantly, a medical missionary who captured headlines for weeks last year as the first person to be treated on U.S. soil for Ebola, will return to his alma mater as the speaker at the IU School of Medicine's May 9 commencement. 

Dr. Kent Brantly | Photo By GAYLON WAMPLER

An Indianapolis native and 2009 IUSM graduate, Dr. Brantly is a family medicine physician who served as a medical missionary at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, from October 2013 until August 2014, when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital for treatment of the deadly Ebola virus. 

While he was working for Samaritan's Purse in early July, the organization took over responsibility for the clinical care of Ebola patients for the nation of Liberia. Dr. Brantly was appointed medical director for what would become the only Ebola treatment unit in southern Liberia.

He fell ill with the virus in late July and became the first person in the world to receive the experimental drug Zmapp and the first person with Ebola to be treated in the U.S. His fellow missionary at ELWA Hospital, Nancy Writebol, who was evacuated to an isolation unit at Emory University three days after Brantly, was the second to receive a dose of Zmapp. Both were released from the hospital in late August. 

Dr. Brantly made headlines again in December when Time Magazine named Ebola fighters its "Person of the Year."  The magazine released five covers picturing different Ebola caregivers, including Dr. Brantly, saying the five represent those who were dedicated to treating and curing the disease.

Dr. Brantly and his wife Amber are the authors of the forthcoming book "Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic," in which they share the story of how their calling to serve others turned into a life or death battle during the worst outbreak of the deadly virus in history. The book, published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., is scheduled for release July 21, marking the one-year anniversary of Dr. Brantly contracting Ebola. 

Dr. Brantly now holds the position of medical missions advisor for Samaritan's Purse. The Brantlys and their two children currently call Texas home.

The IU School of Medicine commencement will be held from 10 a.m. to noon May 9 in the Sagamore Ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.