Above and below: Alumni showed off their pride for Feinberg at tailgates and a board member reception last fall.

Alumni President’s Message: ‘CATSMD’ Ideals


In my initial talk with our Medical Alumni Association Board (MAAB) last spring, I expanded the acronym “MCATS” penned by Bruce Scharschmidt, ’70 MD, former president of the MAAB, to “CATSMD.” Here I will explain the meaning of this new acronym:

C: CULTURE We want the MAAB to encourage a culture of commitment and giving back to Feinberg students, graduates and GMEs. Each of us can give back in our own way: some by being home sponsors through our HOST program for fourth-year students, some by serving on the board, others by contributing to the Nathan Smith Davis Society or mentoring medical students and HPMEs about the journey ahead.

A: ALIGNMENT To be successful, our board policies need to align with the priorities of the Feinberg administration and you, our alumni constituents. We expanded our Women in Medicine program with a tea and panel discussion at Alumni Weekend last year and will continue that program this year. We also started an MDs in Business seminar series with a successful inaugural event this fall. Aligning in this way, we amplify the MAAB’s message with help from our full-time support staff.

T: TALENT In 2016, the MAAB recognized that we needed greater diversity on our board with respect to ethnic background, age and geography. We also needed a mechanism in place to have current Feinberg student leaders on the MAAB. Both of these priorities have been accomplished. We recruited 20 new MAAB members over the past two years and upgraded the geography, diversity and age of the board simultaneously. We also worked with the Student Senate to make their president a member of the MAAB. We like where we are in early 2018, but we have the mechanisms in place to adopt and change if we need to.

S: SUPPORT We help our students by encouraging scholarship support from individual classes as well as contributions from individuals and families. We have united around the concept of a tuition-free medical school. With the average debt of a Feinberg medical school graduate being $169,000, we’ve never been more aware of the need to support our Feinberg students.

M: MATTERS Northwestern and Feinberg should matter to all of us. While clearly the trajectory of the medical school is on the rise locally and nationally, Feinberg graduates should share some personal responsibility to help catalyze change and positively affect this moment in medicine. We encourage participation and being a part of the evolving change going on in medicine today.

D: DEDICATION We provide programming, services and opportunities dedicated to the ideals of Feinberg, professionalism and impacting the medical school through scholarship, life-long learning and giving back to the institution that links us all.

So many in our alumni base already work hard to move the “CATSMD” goals forward. Thank you for your hard work and generosity! Together we’re making a real difference at our medical school.