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From the President of Your Alumni Council

These updates appeared originally in Harvard Medicine.

Elizabeth Petri Henske Elizabeth Petri Henske, MD ’85 

Fall 2017

As I write this report, my first as the incoming president of the Harvard Medical Alumni Association and Council, the Longwood Medical Area is humming with the class of first-year students. I just had lunch with several of my current and former advisees and found their brilliance, creativity, kindness, and positive energy both inspiring and humbling. It is truly a privilege to know this next generation of physicians and imagine what they will experience and accomplish in their careers. 

Let me briefly tell you what’s new with the Council. At our spring meeting, we talked with Edward M. Hundert, MD ’84, dean for medical education; Stephanie Hunt, director of financial aid; and Robert Mayer, MD ’69, faculty associate dean for admissions, about some of the challenges we face as we recruit underrepresented minority students. 

The School has been reviewing ways it can remain competitive in its ability to recruit top candidates while also honoring its tradition of need-based aid. We also discussed mechanisms to provide additional support for our MD-PhD program, a high priority for Dean George Q. Daley, AB ’82, MD ’91, PhD. 

Dean Daley spoke with the Council about this and other initiatives and acknowledged the Council’s contributions and his enthusiasm for working closely with us in the coming years. 

The Council took time to carefully consider areas of focus for my two-year term as president. These areas include diversity: develop approaches to ensure that candidates from populations underrepresented in medicine have the opportunity to attend HMS; idealism: identify strategies to enable current students to pursue their ambitions and goals with as little student debt burden as possible; and connection: bringing our remarkable alumni community together across the country and the world to form networks with current faculty, students, and leadership.  

At our fall meeting, we welcomed new Council members: Jacqueline Boehme, MD ’15, first pentad; Jennifer Mack, MD ’98, fourth pentad; Toren Finkel, MD ’83, PhD ’86, seventh pentad; Robert Barbieri, MD ’77; eighth pentad, and Lakshmi Halasyamani, MD ’93, GSA ’93, councilor-at-large. 

We give our heartfelt thanks to members who rotated out of the Council: Michael LaCombe, MD ’68, immediate past president; Andrea Reid, MD ’88, MPH ’01, secretary and councilor-at-large; Carolyn Olson Walsh, MD ’09, first pentad; Emily Oken, MD ’95, MPH ’03, fourth pentad; Richard Payne, MD ’77, seventh pentad; and Jean Emans, AB ’66, MD ’70, eighth pentad. My special thanks go to outgoing president Jim O’Connell, MD ’82. I’m honored to follow him as Council president. The Council looks forward to working closely with Susan Rice, the School’s new senior director of alumni engagement. Please let me know if you have comments, ideas, or suggestions at

2019 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 possess a willingness to listen to fellow alumni and bring their 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

For more information, please contact:
The Alumni Engagement team
(617) 384-8520