Monthly | Pulse

JUL '14

An Update from the Perelman School of Medicine

Kimberly Brown, M'90 Marks Major Anniversaries with a Gift to the Jordan Center

Kimberly Brown, M'90For her 25th reunion and the 250th celebration of the Perelman School, Kimberly Clouser Brown, M'90, and her husband Robert decided to invest in a tangible connection to Penn tradition.

The couple named the Kimberly Clouser Brown, M'90 and Robert H. Brown Student Space in the new Henry A. Jordan M'62 Medical Education Center with a gift of $25,000.

"I am impressed with the concept of the Jordan Center," said Dr. Brown. "The idea of combining medical education, medical research, and active patient care in one location seems to me very progressive and establishes an exciting and effective learning environment for medical students and practicing physicians alike."

A member of the Thistle Society, Dr. Brown has steadily given back to the Perelman School and its students through the Annual Fund. Now an attending pediatrician in the Lehigh Valley Health Network based in Bethlehem, PA, Dr. Brown recalls that if the Perelman School hadn't been so generous in the late 1980s, she might not have been able to complete school. Fortunately, with a scholarship in hand, she found that Penn provided excellent preparation for her residency in pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh.

"I am thrilled to be able to give back and contribute to the Jordan Center to commemorate my Class of 1990 Reunion," she said. "I am also looking forward to attending the gala 250th activities in May!"

For more information about supporting the Perelman School of Medicine, please contact Brett Davidson at 215.898.5164 or

The Spirit Catches Us

Our 250th Year is Penn's "Year of Health"

Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down has been selected as the reading to kick-off the University Provost's 2014-2015 theme year topic the Year of Health.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall DownThe book details the story of a Hmong family living in California after fleeing Laos and their struggles with cultural misunderstanding while seeking treatment for their young daughter's severe epilepsy. First-year students are asked to read the book before their arrival on campus, as part of the Penn Reading Project (PRP), which was established 24 years ago to introduce academic life to incoming freshmen. Faculty and senior academic administrators in all 12 Penn schools will discuss the book with students on Monday, August 25, as part of the Class of 2018 New Student Orientation.

Please visit the Year of Health website throughout the academic year for information on Year of Health grants, featured alumni and their work in health-related fields, and research spotlights on health innovations. The site also maintains a calendar of events, including conferences, exhibits, and performances, as well as an archives on the Penn Reading Project.

Two weeks after the PRP discussion, another kick-off is in store. The Perelman School formally begins celebrating the 250th anniversary of the nation's first medical school with a vanilla cake party at College Green on Monday, September 8, at 4 pm. Please join us in sharing a piece of Ben Franklin's favorite flavor to savor every moment in this once-in-a-lifetime anniversary.

Anatomy of an Award-Winning Teacher

"Repetition is a Good Thing"

When is repetition not redundant? Repeat award-winner James S. White, PhD, might know. He has won the Medical Student Government Teaching Award, voted on by students, six of the last seven years.

James S. White, PhD"It's an amazing honor," said Dr. White, who teaches anatomy and is adjunct associate professor of cell and developmental biology. "I am very fortunate to teach and work with faculty and staff at the best medical school in the world. I love what I do and am flattered to be recognized for it."

Dr. White's much-loved teaching style is considered focused, engaging, and lively, with an emphasis on repetition and a flair for the dramatic.

George Maliha, M'17, one of many students who recall one class in particular, said, "To illustrate how the peritoneal membrane drapes and connects over the uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes, he covered himself with a plastic tarp while lecturing."

Michael Loesche, M'15 remembered, "Dr. White will say the same structure 2 or 3 times, and then double back to it later. Each time, it is followed by the expected 'repetition is a good thing.' I remember a good bit of anatomy, but I mostly remember this phrase."

Said Dr. White, "I believe that lecturers should try to tell a story, clearly and concisely, about a topic rather than simply present facts. I also try to package material so that it is clear and easy to remember."

Dr. White's personal approach and obvious love for teaching are also resoundingly appreciated by his students. "He makes each student feel intelligent and worthwhile. I've never seen him give anyone the impression that a question is beneath him or stupid. And to this day, he still greets every single one of us by name," said Sneha Kannan, M'16.

Through his 30 years of teaching, Dr. White has made the most of available technologies, "supplementing lectures with bad blackboard drawings, followed by thousands of 2x2 slides, drawing on transparencies on an overhead projector, before the advent of PowerPoint presentations and the Smart Board."

With the attractive prospect of teaching in the Henry A. Jordan M'62 Medical Education Center on the horizon, Dr. White added, "I like the challenge of using new tools to better convey a lecture. The Jordan Center will have high-quality, state-of-the-art teaching tools, and I'm looking forward to it."

The Jordan Center will also have a high-quality teacher in Dr. White.

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