Hordes of Samuel Merritt University (SMU) students, staff, and faculty were shocked and awed as they witnessed the on-stage mauling and de-braining of Associate Professor Sharon Gorman at the conclusion of the third annual Zombie Health Symposium Monday, Oct. 31.
The ravenous attack capped the lunch-hour Halloween event, which is believed to be the world’s only gathering of healthcare academics to address wellness concerns of the underserved zombie population.
“This is the ultimate revenge of the nerds,” said Assistant Professor Michael DeRosa, Chair of the Master Physician Assistant Program, and once-famed zombie slayer who was “remembered” in a video tribute at the symposium. “We’re all science geeks at heart and this gives us a chance to continue teaching subjects in our curriculum, but in a funny, Halloweenish context.”
Students, some of whom were dressed in ghoulish costumes, watched as their faculty mentors made brief presentations on topics that included, “The Neuroanatomy of the Zombie Brain,” by Associate Professor Barb Puder, Chair of the Basic Sciences department, and “HIPAA for Zombies,” by Assistant Professor Ciara Cox, which explored legal protections for the undead under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
“HIPAA covers the dead for 50 years after they’ve died,” Cox told the students in the audience. “So if you’ve been dead since 1966, you’re HIPAA protected.”
Drs. Drew Smith and Stephen Hill from SMU’s Motion Analysis Research Center (MARC) continued their three-year long investigation into zombie biomechanics with a video presentation titled, “Running Mechanics in the Undead: Giving Zombies a Leg Up on the Competition.”
After viewing limbs repeatedly fall off their subjects in the MARC, Smith concluded zombies had trouble walking and running due to a, “lack of sustained anatomy.”
But the final presentation of the afternoon left the audience in a state of horror-film afflicted shock. Gorman’s presentation, “Zombie-Related Repetitive Stress Injury in the Shoulder Complex,” appeared to offend and anger the undead audience members.
As she hurried to finish her comments, zombies slowly circled Gorman at the podium and pulled her to the ground, where they dislodged her brain and gorged on the organ.
“Make sure to consult a physical therapist,” were Gorman’s last audible words.