Dear Fellow Alums,
We have learned through surveys and conversations that our alumni hold enduringly positive memories of their medical school educational experience at Northwestern University and are thrilled with its growing visibility and prestige. However, as a result of time, distance and competing priorities, many have become disconnected. While equally enthusiastic about the Feinberg School of Medicine, current students and recent graduates are entering an increasingly complex and competitive workplace and, in some cases, are uncertain about what the Medical Alumni Board actually does. These points play importantly into my thinking about the goals of the Alumni Board over the next two years and beyond. In brief, we want to enhance the Board’s visibility and positive impact on Feinberg students and alums, as well as on the school’s national and international standing and ability to attract top talent.
As an organizational bridge between the School and its alums, the Board’s objectives must be aligned with, complement and enhance those of the Feinberg School of Medicine. Toward this end, President-elect Jim Kelly, ’73 MD, and I met with Dean Eric Neilson and Alan Krensky, vice dean for Development and Alumni Relations, to begin to map out long-term goals.
The successful partnership between the Alumni Board and the Feinberg Center for Global Health is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when a strong school program is aligned with enthusiastic and committed alumni. Of note is the three-hour CME session in global health that was offered for the first time during Alumni Weekend in April, with such positive feedback that it will be repeated next year. An alumni opportunities page has been created on the Center’s website to share clinical volunteer opportunities that exist with our affiliated partners in Belize and Bolivia. In progress is a program to help build medical training programs in a number of countries. And finally, we are exploring an educational telemedicine program that will create an online library of resources.
To help ensure the continuity of effort in the context of the Board’s rotating membership, Jim Kelly and I have worked closely together and have decided that Jim will chair the Committee on Alumni Engagement, which is responsible for identifying new Board members. We envision this as a continuing responsibility of the president-elect, such that this individual can hit the ground running in assuming the future role as president.
The Alumni Board Leadership Team also includes:
- Rishindra (Rishi) Reddy, ’00 MD – incoming chair of the Mentoring Committee (Bonnie Typlin, ’74 MD, the prior chair, will continue to serve as co-chair)
- Gary Rusk, ’69 MD – incoming chair of the Fundraising Committee (Jimmy Hill, ’74 MD, ’79 GME, the prior chair, will continue to serve as co-chair), and
- Jeff Sherman, MD, ’84 GME – incoming chair of Strategic Initiatives (I previously chaired this committee).
This leadership team is planning a Chicago retreat in late August to outline future plans. One almost certain outcome will be a commitment to fundraising for scholarship support. Among all potential donors to the school, it is our alumni who are in a unique position to understand and appreciate the impact of scholarship support and graduating debt-free. Please take time to read the graduation stories in this issue, and I want to thank all of you who contributed to the White Coat Fund.
Finally, our new and improved Medical Alumni Association website has just been launched. ML Farrell, our director of Alumni Affairs, Jim Kelly and I welcome your input. Contact us with your ideas or questions. And please let us know if you are interested in joining the Board.
Bruce F. Scharschmidt, ’70 MD (HPME)