Monthly | Pulse

May '13

An Update from the Perelman School of Medicine

Construction Begins on Henry A. Jordan M'62 Medical Education Center

Alumni Gifts Link Individual, Family, and Class Names to the New Home of Academic Excellence at Penn Medicine

Architectural Rendering of the Interior of the Henry A. Jordan M'62 Medical Education CenterScheduled to open in 2014, the Henry Jordan Center is being built adjacent to the 5th and 6th floors of the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Also physically connected to the Smilow Center for Translational Research, the Jordan Center will be among the first medical educational spaces in the nation to be integrated into an active clinical and research facility.

“With its prime location, the Henry Jordan Center will continue Penn’s tradition of close collaboration between faculty and students,” said Dean J. Larry Jameson. “It is ideally suited to play a prominent role in advancing innovation in every aspect of medicine.

The state-of-the-art, 1-1/2 story Center will include wired classrooms, study areas, conference and seminar rooms, an auditorium, offices for the combined degree, CME, and other programs, and a rooftop patio and garden.

The Jordan Center speaks to both the importance of those formative days spent in the classroom and Penn’s leadership in medicine, and is resonating strongly with alumni. So far the project has attracted gifts to name more than 30 spaces—including Barrie Jordan’s naming gift.

“Henry loved this institution, the vision that it embraced and, in particular, its extraordinary medical students,” she said. “One of our greatest joys has been getting to know these talented young people, and our family is honored to have his name associated with this stunning new educational facility.”

Throughout his life, Henry A. Jordan, MD’62, GME’67, was a steadfast champion of Penn Medicine and its students. Henry and Barrie are longtime scholarship supporters who recently funded the matching challenge for the John Morgan Scholars program

So far, fundraising has brought in $16 million toward the $25 million goal for the Henry Jordan Center. One gift was pledged within days of the naming gift announcement at Medical Alumni Weekend.

Many opportunities remain for you to name a space after yourself or a family member, to come together with other alumni, parents, or friends to leverage your support as a group, or to rally your class to name a space in honor of your graduation year. To learn more about supporting the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center please contact Bill Bole at or 215-898-9175.

Scenes from Medical Alumni Weekend

Medical Alumni Weekend 2013 drew more than 600 alumni and guests, and saw the launch of 160 new physicians. With the announcement of a naming gift, awards for stand-out alumni, talks by Tay Sachs assay discoverer and the inventor of nutritarianism, and reunions both formal and spontaneous, the 10th through the 12th were three special May days.

Three of the Perelman School’s Most Dedicated Alumni Recognized

Congratulations to Lou Matis, M’75, Philomena McAndrew, M’78, and Bill Simon, M’63, INT’67, this year’s Alumni Service Award winners!

Louis A. MatisLouis A. Matis, M’75 is the Executive Director of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He has served as the Chair of the Medical Alumni Advisory Council, chaired his Reunion Committee, and expanded networking possibilities for alumni and students. He has twice given stethoscopes to first-year students, given to the Class of 1975 Scholarship, and with his class, named a space in the Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center.

Philomena F. McAndrewPhilomena F. McAndrew, M’78 is a founder and partner of Tower Hematology Oncology Medical Group in Beverly Hills, CA. She spoke about genetics and breast cancer risk as a featured guest on Oprah. She donated to the John Morgan Scholarship Fund, inspired alumnae by discussing personal pivotal career moments at the Women in Medicine event, and is an active member of the Medical Alumni Advisory Council.

William H. SimonWilliam H. Simon, M’63, INT’67 is a private practice orthopaedic surgeon and a loyal class agent—as well as this year’s parade marshal! He served as Reunion Chair for 45 years and contributed to the Class of 1963 Scholarship Fund. He has made several planned gifts to the Class of 1963 Scholarship fund, and encourages his classmates to do the same. His wife, mother, and daughter are all Penn graduates.

 Please visit full profiles of our award winners past and present

Stemmler Sessions

Stemmler Classroom SessionsAlumni road-tested classrooms in Stemmler Hall, and experienced team learning and ready access to EKG results, tissue samples, 3D videos of organs, the latest journal articles, and more.

“It’s very easy to navigate. I’d like to do this with my students,” said Joan Miller, PhD, guest and Professor of Nursing at Bloomsburg University.

A Nutritarian Feast

Joel FuhrmanNew York Times best-selling author Joel Fuhrman, M’88, spoke on the many disease-fighting benefits of the nutritarian. “Nutritarian” is a term invented by Dr. Fuhrman to describe a person who strives to eat a diet containing highly nutritious foods: especially those that are alkaline forming (like almonds and avocados) and high in micronutrients and fiber.

What to serve? MAW guests enjoyed a nutritarian feast that included: a mixed greens salad with strawberries, fresh kiwi, and an orange sesame dressing, golden Austrian cauliflower cream soup, and eggplant cannelloni with romesco sauce. To finish: a pomegranate berry smoothie dessert.

Tay Sachs Discoverer Looks Back, and Ahead

Michael KabackMichael Kaback, who developed the screening assay for Tay Sachs disease, spoke of how rewarding he found it to see the pain and break-up of families caused by the disease come to an end. “My most important honor was at a national Tay Sachs association meeting,” he said, “when 40 or 50 kids stood up to identify themselves as being named Michael or Michelle in my honor.”

He cautioned the audience that despite what the media might say, he believes it will be a decade at least before the field of genetics will yield a significant number of cures.

Visit Facebook to see more of the weekend.

Alumni Add Perspective and Enjoyment to Graduation

As speakers, marchers, and proud parents and grandparents, alumni brought home the value of a life in medicine for the Class of 2013. 

Influential Alumna Gives Key Note

Nicole LurieGraduation speaker Nicole Lurie, M’79, M.S.P.H., is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She emphasized that graduates should look to medicine as a tool for reform and social justice, asking them to be open to what their communities could teach them about being fully engaged in the world. She finished by saying she is full of hope for this year’s graduates: a life in medicine is an incomparable gift.

Triple Dean and Global Health Practitioner Represents 50th Class

Dean Jameson and Robert M. Suskind50th year class speaker Robert M. Suskind, M’63, has traveled the world practicing nutrition and pediatrics.  Currently the Founding Dean of the California Northstate University College of Medicine Dr. Suskind was also the first dean of the Chicago Medical School and of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, in El Paso, TX.  At the 50th year panel, he talked about the changes medical education is going through and described his approach: “We’re teaching students to think like clinicians from their first year because that’s what they’ll have to do when they’re seeing patients.”

At graduation, he advised new doctors that to be successful researchers, clinicians, and physicians, they should focus on their passions and find the area within medicine that makes them happiest to go to work every day.  He warned the audience “not to be subjective, presumptive, or prejudiced because it is not easy to be a patient.”  He reminded the graduates to always ask questions and show an open love for humanity.

64 Years Later, History Repeats Itself for One Penn Medicine Family

William J. Williams and Maggie Lowenstein“Medicine runs in the family,” said William J. Williams, M’49, INT’53, grandfather to the family’s newest physician, Maggie Lowenstein, M’13.

Author of Williams Hematology, the cornerstone textbook for hematologists around the world, Dr. Williams practiced at Penn after completing his medical degree 64 years ago in the same class as Maggie’s grandmother and namesake, Margaret Lyman Williams, M’49. 

Influenced by her grandparents as well as her aunt Susan Williams, MD, FEL’84, who continued the family tradition of practicing medicine, Maggie studied biology at Williams College.  After graduating, she took on a fellowship at Cambridge University in England, much like her grandfather had done 60 years before at Oxford University.

“I liked hearing my grandfather’s stories about practicing hematology and learning about my grandmother’s caring interactions with her pediatric patients,” said Maggie.  This June, she will start her internal medicine residency at the University of California San Francisco.

Two Years Later, Med Student's Interest May Become Next Addition to Curriculum

“Initially, I wanted to strengthen my ability to counsel patients and their families in times of crisis,” said Andrew Perechocky, M’13.

Andrew PerechockySince 2011, this quest for personal enrichment evolved into a scholarly pursuit of pastoral care, guided by two key faculty members with expertise in spirituality, religion, and medicine. With proper funding, Dr. Perechocky’s experience could end up permanently expanding the Perelman School curriculum.

Impressed by the hospice chaplains he observed during the Palliative Medicine rotation, Dr. Perechocky asked to shadow a trauma chaplain from the HUP Pastoral Care Dept. during an on-call shift. For his scholarly pursuit, a research requirement for graduation, he recruited 38 medical students to undertake a similar shadowing activity and to complete a formal survey evaluating the experience.

Preliminary results show that 100% of the group would recommend that other medical students shadow a trauma chaplain during their medical education – demonstrating the need for such an educational program.

Partly funded by philanthropy, the School has recently enhanced to its spirituality curriculum. In the Thorne Sparkman Lecture in Spirituality, Religion and Medicine, the Annual Spirituality Research Symposium, and other programs, students explore religious and cultural issues that impact their patient relationships.

Horace DeLisserHorace DeLisser, M.D., is Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and heads Penn’s Spirituality, Religion, and Medicine program. He was also Dr. Perechocky’s mentor for his scholarly pursuit.

“Today’s students more than ever want to become informed about and comfortable with issues of patient spirituality, particularly at the end-of-life,” said Dr. DeLisser. “Andrew’s chaplain shadowing program became a perfect complement to the first-year Spirituality and Medicine Lecture. Going forward, it is our goal for it to be tied to the doctoring class.”

The survey results are currently being analyzed and prepared for publication by Dr. Perechocky and his mentors Dr. DeLisser and Ralph Ciampa, S.T.M., Director of the Department of Pastoral Care and Education.

Other faculty contributing to the project are James Browning, M.D., Coordinator of Clinical Pastoral Education, Judy A. Shea, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean of Medical Education Research, and Director of the Office of Evaluation and Assessment in the Academic Programs Office, and Amy M. Corcoran, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.

Now a resident at Boston Medical Center in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Perechocky said, “I know I will face intense and emotional situations, and I hope that my experience will allow me to more comfortably address spirituality and establish stronger connections with my future patients and their families.”

If you are interested in helping fund the chaplain shadowing program or a scholarly pursuit, please contact Bill Bole at or 215-898-9175.

© 2012 Penn Medicine Alumni. All Rights Reserved.