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From the President of Your Alumni Council

These updates appeared originally in Harvard Medicine.

James O'ConnellJames O’Connell, MD ’82

Spring 2017

Spring has arrived and departed several times during the past several weeks, teasing us as we anxiously await the warmth that brings Boston back to life. Graduation season is behind us, as are the reunions that brought together cherished friends even as they reminded us of how fleeting the years can be.

When the Council met in March, we tackled a full agenda that began with an update on the new curriculum from Ed Hundert, MD ’84, HMS dean for medical education, who described the remarkable software tools for everything from storing educational materials to measuring use, and the mechanisms for encouraging and acting upon student feedback. Fidencio Saldaña, MD ’01, MPH ’05, HMS dean for students, reported on new student advising efforts before rushing to monitor the excitement of Match Day for the HMS Class of 2017. Joan Reede, MD, MS, MPH, MBA, HMS dean for diversity and community partnership, shared her passion and optimism in describing her office’s programs while underscoring the deep commitment to increased diversity that she shares with Dean George Q. Daley, AB '82, MD '91, PhD. Reede emphasized the critical need for funding to sustain these programs.

Emily Oken, MD ’95, MPH ’03, updated the Council on the Welcome to Your City Project, initiated by fellow Council member Carolyn Walsh, MD ’09. This program seeks to pair HMS alumni in cities beyond Boston with graduating alumni beginning residencies in new communities. To further this program, the Council agreed to contact alumni representatives at the top five most commonly matched medical centers and encourage them to reach out to the new residents in their midst.

Ann Marie Menting, Harvard Medicine editor, and Susan Rice, senior director of alumni engagement, presented data that plotted the diminishing number of submissions to Class Notes in the magazine, data that generated further exploration of new approaches to involve alumni in the magazine. Council members agreed on a new effort that would invite alumni to respond to questions that would allow them to reflect on their time as students or on their profession as a whole.

A presentation by members of the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development touched on three areas: plans for the upcoming Council elections, reunion planning, and the new Meet the Dean event series. This letter will reach you after the Council elections and the vote on proposed changes to the Alumni Association’s constitution have taken place. To review the results, click here. The first Meet the Dean event occurred in Boston in early May; subsequent events are scheduled in New York City (September 13), Washington, DC (September 18), San Francisco (October 10), Los Angeles (October 11), and Philadelphia (November 1).

The Council meeting on May 23 and 24 was my last in the role of president. This has been a very special year for me and I cannot thank you enough for your support, devotion, and friendship during this year of transition. I am beyond excited as we welcome Dean Daley and look forward to a new era at HMS.

2018 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:
Office of Alumni Engagement
(617) 384-8520