By MAAB President Nupur Ghoshal, ’01 PhD, ’03 MD
I am honored and humbled to be the incoming president of the Medical Alumni Association Board (MAAB). I have watched as my predecessors, Rishi Reddy, MD, and Ed Kim, MD, MBA, ushered us through and out of the COVID years. I am pleased to pick up the baton and run with it — and to bring you all along for the ride.
My connection to Feinberg has been a long and winding one. I entered with the Class of 1999 as an MSTP student. While my colleagues graduated in 1999, I was in the lab working on my PhD. After completing my PhD in 2001, I graduated with the Class of 2003. After eight years, I left Feinberg for Washington University in St. Louis (where I now serve as associate professor of Neurology and Psychiatry) and did not return to campus until 2008. I missed the place dearly but had no sense of connection. Was I the Class of 1999? 2003? 2001?
Fast forward to an alumni event held near the WashU campus. I learned from ML Farrell, then director of Alumni Engagement, of the MAAB’s newly invigorated mission to broaden its membership geographically. It turns out that St. Louis has many Northwestern grads. In Neurology alone, the associate director of our Alzheimer Disease Research Center, former program director of the residency program, former vice chair, and former chair are all Northwestern alums.
I connected. I was brought into the MAAB after a discussion with then-president Jim Kelly. I came to MAAB meetings for a while but was still looking for my niche. My first project was the alumni Facebook page rebrand, which resulted in a 329 percent increase in traffic.
But it was the 2017 Women in Medicine (WIM) Tea at the Drake that really solidified the role I would play.
I was captivated by the stories alumnae spanning many eras shared at the tea. That year, I turned to Babette Henderson, senior director of Alumni Engagement, and suggested we take inspiration from this event and move forward. That inspiration happily coincided with the MAAB’s plan to pursue a strategic initiative in the women in medicine space. I took on the challenge and helped launch a WIM Facebook page to provide a forum to continue relevant conversations online.
There were also WIM networking events at the Museum of Contemporary Art. To fit one such event into my schedule, I once taught at WashU in the morning, flew into Chicago later that day, attended the function, and flew back the next day. Perhaps this was extreme, but my thought was, if WIM was my niche, then I needed to show up.
I share my story to highlight that there is a lost generation of alumni among us. They continue to bleed purple and recall their days at Feinberg fondly. I challenge you all to seek them out. Get them to connect. Help them find their footing. Get them to show up and engage.
These are exciting times for Feinberg. We continue to rank highly among peer institutions, and the dream of a tuition-free medical school remains the goal. But in the meantime, I encourage you to pay it forward and help current Feinberg students advance in their careers as we have. In the WIM space we have the Mary Ann Frable, MD Dean’s Scholarship for Women in Medicine. In the Inclusion and Allyship space, we have the Promise Scholarship. Finally, there is no better way to connect than to attend Alumni Weekend 2023 (Oct 13-14). See for yourself all the changes and advancements that have been made at Feinberg. I hope you, too, can find your footing and engage in as many ways as possible.