Nancy Rigotti, MD '78
Welcome, Class of 2013, to the community of HMS alumni, linked by the shared experience of starting our journeys as physicians at HMS. The welfare of today’s HMS students is an enduring concern of the Alumni Council, your elected representatives. Three times each year, we meet with everyone from the Dean to current students to monitor the School’s activities and to seek ways to engage alumni in them.
At our spring meeting, we heard about the ongoing review of the preclinical curriculum and about renovations to the Tosteson Medical Education Center. The curriculum review may bring changes to the design of the first two years of study.
The Council has been collaborating with the Center for Primary Care, which offers HMS a new opportunity for alumni involvement. We are exploring opportunities that would link alumni with HMS students interested in careers in primary care.
It’s been my honor to have served as Alumni Council president, and I salute my successor, Laurie Green MD ’76.
When it comes to alumni associations, size certainly matters. But for the Harvard Medical Alumni Association (HMAA), our true strength is found in the effects that our collective perspective can have not just on the School but on the future of science and medicine. That’s why your voice is so important. With so much happening at HMS—from the revisions to the preclerkship curriculum to the new team-science initiatives—your involvement in the HMAA has never been more valuable. The Alumni Council is the connective tissue between the HMAA and the School. This group of elected volunteers serves as an advisory group to Dean Jeffrey S. Flier. For this current election, we have 12 candidates for six Council positions. Cast your vote online or by using the ballot mailed to your home. Candidate bios and personal statements are available online; winners will be announced May 31 during the HMAA’s annual meeting.
The HMS Alumni Council’s first meeting of the 2012–13 academic year was a lively one, packed with information on the School. It also was a welcome to five newly elected members: Barbara McNeil, MD ’66, PhD ’72, AMP ’86, president-elect; L.D. Britt MD ’77, MPH '77 treasurer; and Eleanor Shore AB ’51, MD ’55, MPH ’70; Mary Mullen AB ’83, MD ’87, AM ’87, PhD ’91, and Stephen Martin EDM ’96, MD ’01, councilors.
During the past two years, members of the Council have watched the emergence of the HMS Center for Primary Care with great interest. The Center aims both to fill a gap in HMS students’ exposure to primary care careers and to bring more attention at HMS to the central role that primary care plays in any well-functioning, socially responsible, high-value health care delivery system. As a primary care physician and HMS faculty member myself, the new Center is an exciting and welcome initiative. The Alumni Council has previously expressed its support of the Center to Dean Flier and will continue to monitor the Center’s progress as its programs develop in the coming year.
Phyllis Gardner, MD ’76
The Harvard Medical Alumni Council is fresh from a highly productive winter meeting. On the day preceding the regularly scheduled meeting, we gathered off site to hear David Hirsh describe the HMS Cambridge Integrated Clerkship. According to scores from shelf and board exams, this year-long clerkship appears to better support learning among participating third-year students than the traditional block clerkship approach does. Through an integrated and longitudinal patient-care approach, the CIC fosters scientific, leadership, practice, and professional skills that transcend any medical discipline. The HMS Alumni Council has unanimously voted to recommend pilot longitudinal integrated curriculum experiments in the other major Harvard-affiliated hospitals. In addition, the Council heard about the tremendous advances in electronic communications that will supplement this exciting magazine, and will be detailed in our upcoming report. We came away with a sense of pride about the advancements at HMS.
This year’s Alumni Council got off to a great start with the October meeting. In addition to updates on the School from Dean Jeffrey Flier, including information on the new Center for Primary Care and the new Initiative in Systems Pharmacology, we had lively discussions around the Council’s role in the coming years. Two areas of interest emerged, the first concrete and the second abstract.
First, we are going to address the issue of presentation of class notes, which are currently published three times a year in Harvard Medicine. The Council believes that new approaches that span generations and use multiple technologies should be implemented. We will survey the broader alumni group for ideas. Second, we want to address continuity of idealism, professionalism, and curiosity as students move through their clinical years. The Council will conduct a strategic planning session before the fiscal year’s end to begin to refine these concepts. All thoughts are welcome.
During the new academic year, the Alumni Council will explore two themes in depth: the continuity of idealism and the culture of innovation. Idealism and innovation represent the best of the Harvard spirit, but they are qualities easily lost in today’s challenging health care environment. The Council will learn more about the longitudinal third-year health care experiences that Cambridge Health Alliance pioneered and other Harvard hospitals launched, followed by medical schools around the world. This longitudinal experience has been shown to enhance rather than sap the innate idealism of third-year students. We will also look at the best models for innovation in medical education. We welcome input from alumni on these new initiatives. Finally, the Alumni Council salutes Paula Byron for her dozen years as editor of this magazine and congratulates her on her new position at Virginia Tech. Her touch with Harvard Medicine will be sorely missed. She is a force hard, if not impossible, to replicate.
2015 Alumni Council
Those elected would "take office" for a three year term and are expected to attend three, all-day meetings in Boston each year and a willingness to listen to HMS alumni and bring their and your interests and concerns to the Alumni Council. If you would like to recommend an HMS alumna or alumnus (including yourself), please send your nomination via email to email@example.com.
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