Neil B. Shulman, M.D. passed peacefully on Nov. 6, 2023. He was born March 18, 1945, in Washington, D.C., the son of Israel “Sonnie” and Mary Shulman, and the brother to Lawrence A. Shulman and Stan Shulman.
Neil grew up in Washington, D.C. and attended Coolidge High School. He graduated from George Washington University in 1967 and then moved to Atlanta, Ga., to study at the Emory University School of Medicine, earning his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1971. He was board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology and continued at Emory as Associate Professor in the School of Medicine until his retirement.
Neil’s achievements were prolific and diverse. In his early years, he was co-investigator in NIH cardiovascular clinical research, authoring over 50 scientific papers. Much of his research focused on reducing hypertension in rural as well as inner-city community settings. Because hypertension was so prevalent in the African American population, he published multiple works on this topic.
Throughout his lifetime, Neil was committed to advocate for those unable to afford quality healthcare.
Neil authored over 30 books, including novels, consumer health guides, and children’s story books. One of his novels, “What?… Dead Again?” became the basis for the 1991 Warner Brothers hit movie, “Doc Hollywood,” starring Michael J. Fox, for which he was also an Associate Producer.
Neil thoroughly enjoyed touring as a humorous motivational speaker –“The Real Doc Hollywood.” And after writing the novel “Second Wind,” he developed a “Laughing with Seniors” show for assisted living and nursing home residents. His children’s book, “What’s in a Doctor’s Bag?” led to performances as “Doc Neil the Banana Peel” for pre-school and elementary audiences. Eventually there was a spin-off series on GPB (Georgia Public Broadcasting).
Neil and Dr. Patch Adams (the same Patch Adams portrayed in the 1998 Robin Williams movie) toured a comedy and clowning production titled, “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” Funds from their performances helped support Dr. Adams’s non-profit, the Gesudheit! Institute, whose mission was developed to improve the health of individuals and communities in crisis.
“Your Body’s Red Light Warning Signals,” a consumer’s guide to self-identifying medical ailments, was yet another book Neil authored. Grateful readers credited him with life-saving advice and Emory’s School of Medicine incorporated the book into their curriculum.
Creativity and “thinking out of the box” were a hallmark for Neil. He was a founding partner for various creative outreach organizations: the Village Writer’s Group at Emory, Heart to Heart bringing children from developing countries to the U.S. for life-saving heart surgery, WorldPlay celebrating children around the world through the toys they make from recycled materials, and the Global Health & Humanitarian Summit at Emory and other nationwide locations.
Neil met his wife, Anna Zoe Haugo, while touring in Canada in 2001, and their son, Myles Shulman was born in 2006. Zoe and Myles supported many of Neil’s projects, helping with live shows, video productions, and book publishing.
Neil never missed an opportunity to connect with others, even complete strangers.
He was always generous with his time, searching for ways he could inspire, cheer, or give a helping hand. He will be missed by many friends, fans, close family members and beloved cousins.
Graveside services were held 2:00 p.m., Thurs, Nov. 9, at Arlington Memorial Park, and may be viewed via Zoom link via Dressler’s funeral home – www.jewishfuneralcare.com. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to www.secondwind.org.