Please join us for a Casual Conversation on Sunday, May 14 at 3 pm with the distinguished psychiatrist, addiction specialist, and scholar Sally Satel, M.D.   
There are few writers who are published by both left-leaning and right-leaning outlets.  Dr. Satel is one.  She appears in Leon Wieseltier’s Liberties, National Affairs, and often in the Wall Street Journal, most recently this week in a review of Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia by Hadley Freeman.  From that review, this is an example of her writing at its clearest and most thoughtful:
Though there is no shortage of memoirs about anorexia, the sharp storytelling, solid research and gentle humor in “Good Girls” make it especially appealing. And Ms. Freeman has some good advice for parents. “Get professional help as soon as you can, and don’t become her caregiver.” Do not allow the family’s life to be swallowed up by a child’s anorexia. She reminds us that anorexia has to do with unhappiness and anxiety. Body image is simply “the way it’s expressed.” Most important: No matter how hopeless life may seem in the depths of misery, “things can get unimaginably better.” .
Dr. Satel will not be speaking with us about anorexia, or about addiction, which she has studied in Washington, D.C. where she is a staff psychiatrist treating opioid abuse, and which she spent a year studying in southern Ohio, Appalachia country, and has written about extensively.  All of these writings and more can be accessed at her bio at the website for the American Enterprise Institute, located in D.C., where she serves as a Senior Fellow: .
Dr. Satel’s subject for our discussion is organ donation.  As she puts it: "Our transplant system is founded upon altruistic donation. It’s a lovely sentiment – and I have twice been its indebted beneficiary – but altruism isn’t enough.”  She proposes a carefully structured donor-reward system, one that is currently forbidden by federal law.   This is her most recent writing on this subject: .
It is hard to pigeonhole Dr. Satel, or to attempt to constrain her passionate curiosity.   In an interview that The New York Times used as part of a profile over 20 years ago, Erica Goode wrote: The point, [Dr. Satel] contends, is to have a debate, to talk about things that have not been talked about before. That is what Casual Conversations are about. .   
Many thanks to classmate Tex Talmadge for reaching out to Dr. Satel to persuade her to join us.  I know Dr. Satel from a time when we both served on the same board.  She is whip smart, intellectually voracious, and fearless.  Come prepared to meet and speak with an extraordinary individual.
One caution:  Dr. Satel wants to discuss the topic of organ donation, and that is what we will talk about.  You may be interested in other issues that she has written about, as am I (and who wouldn’t be?), but none of those are on the agenda.  I am confident that we can find much to speak with Dr. Satel, about how, if at all, we should take steps to reward organ donors, and how the current system does, and does not, result in effective life-saving practices.
The usual rules apply: email me at if you plan to attend, and do so by the close of business on Friday, May 12.  The Zoom link will be sent that Friday or Saturday before the Casual Conversation.
Join us for a smart and important discussion of a topic that should be of interest to all of us.
Arthur Fergenson


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