Monthly | Pulse

Aug '13

An Update from the Perelman School of Medicine

Connections First!

Ties to Classmates, Faculty, Alumni, and Family Highlight New Students' First Days

"Penn Medicine is a community of talented, diverse people with a tradition of close ties to our students," said Senior Vice Dean Gail Morrison, M'71, FEL'76. "The Parents and Partners program and the White Coat Ceremony give new students and their families an opportunity to make those first meaningful connections within this new world."

Alumni giving funded the stethoscopes given to first-year students.The students' entry into the medical profession was celebrated by more than 600 family members and friends. Alumni fostered connections by contributing the new stethoscopes each student received along with words of welcome.

At Penn, students' first order of business is a weeklong team building retreat, designed in partnership with Wharton, to begin the transformation of a diverse class into effective teams. The new scholars come from 33 states and 56 universities, and differ not just geographically but in life experience. Twenty-five percent are minorities underrepresented in medicine, while 60% are entering medical school from a non-traditional background.

Parents reading up on what to expect with their students' first year at Penn Medicine.Parents and Partners brought families into the mix. Hosted by Alumni Development and Alumni Relations, the program offered a preview of the unique educational and life experiences awaiting medical students. While Penn Medicine's innovative curriculum (.pdf) was one focus, many participants also particularly appreciated Dr. Morrison's guide to the challenges and changes students will encounter, year by year.

Early on students often feel overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information they need to master.  Later, the responsibilities of starting clinical rotations are another stress point. And students' concerns about matching with the right training program was one of the final stops mentioned by Dr. Morrison as she walked families through the milestones of a medical education.

Group of first-years after donning their new white coats"Doctors live in a different world from most of society," Dr. Morrison said. "As an alumna and parent, I know what it's like to be a medical student and also what it's like to watch your children face challenges. That's why I feel so strongly about telling parents and partners about the student experience in a meaningful way, and letting them know how much Penn cares."

Click here for a gallery of photos of the day's events.

Time to Shine x 2

Dr. Kanovsky with President Gutmann, at the Medical Class of 1978 30th reunion"I had the great pleasure of attending Time to Shine: On the Road in Washington, D.C. event," said Martin Kanovsky, M'78, INT'79, RES'81, FEL'83. "The audience's tremendous enthusiasm surrounding the campaign's success was topped only by our excitement for the future."

A highly respected alumnus, donor, and volunteer, Dr. Kanovsky has been a practicing cardiologist since 1983. He is a clinical assistant professor at The George Washington University and the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is also a member of the Medical Alumni Advisory Council (MAAC) and chair of the MAAC Development Committee.

Time to Shine - 2013

 Led by President Amy Gutmann, the University of Pennsylvania's Time to Shine: On the Road heralds the impact of the Making History Campaign's extraordinary $4.3 billion total around the country and the world. The multi-media program highlights the campaign's transformative accomplishments - from expanding access to the most talented students to ushering breakthroughs in research and education to creating cutting-edge spaces on campus - successful only because of overwhelming support of our alumni, family, and friends.

"We want to do more and are looking forward to what is next. For me, that means continuing to fund Penn Medicine Alumni's biggest accomplishment, our immense support of scholarships," Dr. Kanovsky said. "By allowing the next generation of talented students the freedom to pursue their passions without worrying about cumbersome debt, we are securing the future of medicine."

Time to Shine will be in Philadelphia on October 29. For the complete schedule of upcoming Time to Shine: On the Road events, click here.

Time to Shine - 1916

 This summer PennArchives restored this 1916 Penn Alumni Society film. Just after the 2 minute time stamp, the hospital and the medical school are featured, including footage of Dean William Pepper III in a full length fur coat. Watch to the end for a solicitation, 1916 style. Enjoy!

Graduation Prize Rewards Student's Dedication to the Arts

"Playing the violin is a necessary part of my life, of who I am. Choosing between medicine and music was never an option - and fortunately for me at Penn Medicine I didn't have to," said Dr. Elise Chong, M'13. She is the 2013 recipient of the Russell J. Stumacher, M.D., Memorial Prize.

Established by his family, the Prize is awarded annually to the graduate who best combines clinical excellence with artistic achievement. Dr. Stumacher was a clinical associate professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and former chief of Infectious Disease at Graduate Hospital.

Dr. Chong pictured the week she graduated Penn Medicine, two weeks before her solo performance with the Lower Merion Symphony where she played the Sibelius Violin Concerto.Dr. Stumacher received many awards for excellence in teaching while at Penn Medicine - and he was especially proud of the hundreds of students, interns, and residents he taught. An English major at Penn, a member of the marching band, and a former play-by-play voice of Penn basketball and baseball on radio station WXPN-FM, Dr. Stumacher's love of teaching and the arts is honored in the Stumacher Prize.

A violinist since age 7, Dr. Chong began studying with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra when she was 10. While she considered joining the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music after graduating from Princeton, her work as a research assistant for the Lymphoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center steered her toward a different path.

"My work with cancer patients at the ACC was the first experience that enthused and stimulated me as much as playing the violin," she explained. "The only other time I felt the impact of connecting with people on that level was when I shared music with an audience."

At Penn Medicine, Dr. Chong was a Clinical Medicine student preceptor and published a review article in DeVita's Principles and Practice of Oncology Updates. She also co-chaired Music on Call -a group that brings happiness and therapeutic healing through live music to UPHS patients and families.

She has recently begun her training in internal medicine at HUP.

"Receiving the Stumacher Prize was so gratifying. I plan to be in academia with a specialty in hematology/oncology, but I will always continue to make music," said Dr. Chong. "This prize was a reminder that life as a physician doesn't just have to be about medicine."

Special Invitation to High Cost of Cancer Care Wharton Roundtable on September 17th

Experts in the fields of law, economics, industry, global health, healthcare, and ethics will be among those sharing their perspectives at this Wharton Healthcare Management Alumni Association event.

Because of their influence on the future of the field, Penn Medicine alumni are also welcome to participate. The Roundtable will take place at G60 Huntsman Hall at the Wharton School on September 17. Remote participation is also available. For more information, please visit the High Cost of Cancer Care web site.

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