Monthly | Pulse

Dec/Jan '13

An Update from the Perelman School of Medicine

Start the Year with a Big Penn Cheer

The First John Morgan Scholars are Here!

Cheers and Best Wishes for 2013 to all our Penn Medicine families! The New Year rang in the end of the Jordan Challenge, and a multitude of reasons for the Perelman School to celebrate. While the final campaign numbers are still being totaled, and acknowledgments and appreciations being planned, we wanted to get one note of thanks out to you now.

The Perelman School is extremely grateful to the Jordan family, who sponsored the matching program for the John Morgan Scholars, and the hundreds of alumni champions who responded so generously. Besides encouraging more alumni to support financial aid than we could ever have expected, the Challenge added more than $5.4 million to the School’s scholarship endowment for the John Morgan Scholars Program.

We are proud to announce the Program has already brought three exemplary students to the Perelman School—the first in what will be a long line of remarkable and deserving Scholarship recipients. We hope you will enjoy this introduction.

Ian Danford, M'16Ian Danford graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor's of Science in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. A newlywed, Mr. Danford and his wife Sarah spent their first months of marriage in El Salvador where he taught English and worked in a homeless shelter. Sarah, nutrition major at UC Davis and current nursing graduate student, worked with doctors in the shelter to develop nutrition education programs. Ian also volunteered at La Clínica del Valle, a health clinic, where he interpreted for patients and helped doctors and nurses with basic exams.

At Penn Medicine, Mr. Danford has been enjoying getting to know all of his classmates, and studying anatomy. He is planning to pursue a career in academic medicine and is currently interested in Ophthalmology and Emergency Medicine Surgery. He is also a leader within Sight Savers, an organization that provides free vision screening for Philadelphia communities.

“Thank you so much for your outstanding generosity. Your support has helped me realize my dream of becoming a physician, and will make paying for medical school much more manageable for my wife and me, as she is also accruing debt in nursing school,” he said. “I believe Penn Medicine will prepare me extremely well for a career in academic medicine and give me a vast array of research and clinical experiences and opportunities to explore, which other medical schools could not do.”

Nicolette Taku, M'16Nicolette Taku graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor's and Master's of Science in Public Health. As a Louisiana Global Fellow, she worked with Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights in Colombia, South America.

At Penn Medicine she is a member of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), a national organization focused on the recruitment and mentorship of minority medical students and health care consumers. She is interested in pediatrics, reconstructive surgery, and oncology, and her career plans include combining both academic and clinical medicine with the potential for international work.

Junqian Zhang, M'16 Junqian Zhang graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry and Biology, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He came to Penn Medicine straight through from his undergraduate program because he was excited to begin a new chapter in his life. He is interested in exploring both cardiology and surgery, and plans to become a practicing physician. Since entering Penn Medicine, Mr. Zhang has become a member of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), and has most enjoyed getting to know his learning team during Penn Medicine's orientation retreat.

He is incredibly grateful for the Morgan Scholarship. "If it were not for donations like this I would not have been able to attend medical school here at Penn. I am extremely thankful for this scholarship support and I will not take such generosity for granted. I will work hard every day throughout my medical school career in order to become the best physician I can be."

An Eye for History

Dan and Ellie Albert Donate Medical Collection to Penn

Though collecting is in his blood - his father was an avid coin collector - and American History is a life-long interest, Distinguished Graduate Daniel M. Albert, M’62, discovered his love for medical history and material culture at Penn Medicine.

To recognize Penn Medicine’s 200th anniversary, medical student Albert wrote a chapter on the Ophthalmology Department at the request of Dr. Harold Scheie, pioneer in the treatment of congenital cataracts and glaucoma and founder of the Scheie Eye Institute. As Philadelphia is a historical epicenter of the field, Dr. Albert began his research at the College of Physicians - and was immediately mesmerized by the history found within the stacks.

“I started reading and was immediately tremendously impressed with the brilliance of our medical forbears,” said Dr. Albert. “They were innovative and thoughtful people well versed in anatomy, trying to ferret out illness and disease without modern tools and technology.”

The chapter evolved into a manuscript titled A History of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania - one of his many scholarly works relating to the history of the University.

Dan and Ellie AlbertA 250th anniversary revised edition would likely include Dr. Albert. Specializing in ocular tumors, he is an internationally known ophthalmic pathologist and pioneer in the understanding of eye diseases, specifically melanoma and retinoblastoma. He held professorships at both Yale University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, and is the Chair Emeritus and current F.A. Davis Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Albert’s role as historian also flourished. He began collecting early medical texts when he saw a friend’s scarce, 19th century text on ophthalmology written by William Lawrence. Covered in sheepskin and rich with history, the book proved irresistible, and Dr. Albert decided to buy himself a copy. Thus began a half century of sourcing medical history in antiquarian book stores and at auction around the world.

Along with his wife Ellie, Dr. Albert has amassed an impressive collection of medical history. The centerpieces - two rare 16th century books on Ophthalmology - accompany materials like 19th century lecture tickets, as well as diaries, student notebooks, and correspondence that document the social history of medicine dating back to the 16th century. The Alberts have generously donated part of their collection, which also includes antique instruments, ophthalmoscopes, and spectacles, to the University of Pennsylvania Library, Archives and Records Center.

Dr. Albert made his gift in gratitude for the tremendous education he received here and because he believes Penn will be an ideal new home. “I consider myself a custodian,” he said. “These artifacts do not belong to me. They need to be in a library where scholars can study them. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to see them going to Penn where their meaning will continue to unfold over future generations.”

Ending 2012 on a High Note

Penn Medicine had yet another banner year in 2012, continually announcing newsworthy medical advances supported by your generous and loyal giving.

Of particular note, national media outlets, including the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Bloomberg News as well as several TV networks, reported on the encouraging results that continue to emerge from the Perelman School of Medicine team led by Carl June, M.D. In December, Dr. June announced that nine of 12 leukemia patients--including two children treated at CHOP--are responding well to his team’s innovative immunotherapy.

One of these young patients is featured in Fire With Fire, the three-minute documentary by Oscar-winning director Ross Kauffman that premiered in December at the Dubai International Film Festival. The story Dr. June and colleagues David Porter, M.D., and Stephan Grupp, M.D., Ph.D, tell about their work and the six-year-old girl they saved is unforgettable.

Dr. June was recently awarded an endowed professorship through the gift of Philadelphia philanthropist and entrepreneur Richard W. Vague, who wanted to accelerate this immunotherapy research, which holds promise for many different kinds of cancer.

Also at year’s end, Penn’s pioneering hand transplant program was front and center on Nightline. The story focused on the extraordinary recovery of Lindsay Ess, the courageous and determined young woman who became Penn Medicine’s first bilateral hand transplant patient nearly eighteen months ago.

We thank you for your generosity, and look forward to sharing the further accomplishments of the Perelman School in the year ahead.

Save the Dates

Time to ShineCome celebrate with the Penn community this spring. On April 18, please join us for the Penn Medicine Making History Campaign Finale Celebration from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm at the Smilow Center for Translational Research.  The next day the University-wide Making History Campaign Celebration will take place at Penn Park at 5:00 pm.

Finally, Friday, May 10 through Sunday, May 12 is your chance to reconnect with friends and classmates at the Perelman School of Medicine’s 2013 Medical Alumni Weekend.

More information about both events is forthcoming!

© 2012 Penn Medicine Alumni. All Rights Reserved.