Dear Fellow Alumni:
I am honored to accept the gavel as the new president of the Medical Alumni Association. First, let me thank David Winchester, ’63 MD, ’70 GME, for his extraordinary efforts as president of our Alumni Board over the last two years.
Through Dave’s leadership, and with the support of Dean Neilson and his exceptional staff, we have seen a transformation of our Alumni Board as we have concentrated on four areas—Fundraising, Engagement, Mentoring, and Strategic Initiatives. This new structure has brought focus and meaning to the board’s work. My goal is to build on that foundation as we engage with and leverage the talents of our remarkable worldwide alumni community.
I want to share a bit about my background. I was an early (1970) graduate of Northwestern’s Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) and have been a member of the alumni board for over 10 years. I spent much of my career at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where I was professor of medicine, chief of gastroenterology and closely involved in starting the liver transplant program. During this time, I also served as editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. I joined Chiron Corporation as head of clinical development in 1996 and stayed with Novartis for two years after their 2006 acquisition of Chiron. In 2008, I joined Hyperion, a small private start-up (now public), as chief medical officer. My wife, Peggy Crawford, ’69 MS, ’73 MD, is a dermatologist and currently serves as a clinical professor at the UCSF. Together, we bleed purple.
I am also a member of the external advisory board of Northwestern’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Program (NUCATS) and have witnessed remarkable progress at Feinberg and a growing commitment from our medical school alumni. Dean Neilson has continued to recruit exceptional clinicians, researchers and educators as leaders. Last year, Diane Wayne, ’91 MD, was named as the new vice dean for education. She brings a broad knowledge of the student-resident interaction and its effect on the patient experience, as well as a keen interest in maturing the new curriculum. On the research front, exciting news includes the recent naming gift for the new Biomedical Research Center (see story here), which will propel Dr. Neilson’s vision to double the medical school’s research portfolio.
From a fundraising perspective, 2014 led to nearly $20 million in new scholarship dollars raised toward our $800 million scholarship endowment goal; the Class of 1955 (Bruno Epstein Scholarship fund) became the first class to surpass the $1M level, 100 percent of our alumni board made gifts to Feinberg, and so many of you were critical in realizing a nearly 17 percent increase in alumni giving. Your philanthropy provides an essential competitive advantage as Feinberg continues its ascent. I ask all of you to consider making a contribution at any level.
Moving forward, I want to focus the alumni board’s efforts on improving the effectiveness of our outreach to all alumni. In particular, we will concentrate on forging close relationships with more recent graduates. We hope to increase overall engagement by providing more opportunities for alumni to participate in important and interesting activities.
Some of these activities have been evaluated as “strategic initiatives.” Our Global Health Initiative is off to an incredible start with strong interest from the board and the opportunity to expand this program more broadly to alumni. More nascent programs include hosting students across the country during residency interviews, expanding mentoring opportunities, developing corporate relations networks, and fostering more alumni regional and local networking.
I am honored by this opportunity to serve. Stay tuned.
Bruce Scharschmidt, ’70 MD
Medical Alumni Association Board President