Lifelong friendships, the glow of reunion, and the promise of the future

Christine Walsh, M.D. ’73, (center) honored for completion of her term as President of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine by Dean Alpern and incoming AYAM President Susan Ryu Gaynon, M.D. ’73
Outgoing President Christine Walsh reflects on her term in office and looks forward to continued service to Yale.

Dear Fellow Alumni,

This month marks the end of my term as AYAM president and also my 14th year of service on the Executive Committee as a member-at-large, AYA delegate, secretary, vice president, and president. I also celebrated my 40th Reunion with 29 classmates. Both events are very meaningful to me.

So why come to Reunion? My husband, who has been named an unofficial member of the class because of the number of Reunions he has attended, would say for the strawberries and whipped cream at the Saturday luncheon. I agree that they are great but I believe our classmates come to renew friendships which have been forged by common experiences, both amusing and profound. It was heartwarming to see people hugging and laughing about events as if they happened yesterday. There were great stories from the guys who spent a summer at the Indian Health Service, including hiking without water down the Grand Canyon. We reminisced about the second-year show and protests that cut classes short. We spoke about teachers and events that had a great influence on our careers and our lives. We tried to fill in the blanks about people who did not attend and we missed classmates who are no longer with us. Almost all of us are still working, and we all enjoy passing down our wisdom to our younger colleagues, some of whom are our children. It is clear that the relationships we formed and the inspiration we experienced at Yale have affected our careers and our lives and the lives of our patients.

It has been an honor and true pleasure to be president of the AYAM for the past two years and interact with so many of our alumni, Dean Alpern, the dedicated staff, and so many others around the University. It has enriched my own experience of our beloved medical school in more ways than I ever imagined. 

During my term in office, our alumni association Executive Committee has been expanding our programming and implementing ways for alumni to interact with one another and the school. Over the past year, the alumni association hosted or co-hosted, with the Association of Yale Alumni, events in Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and Denver. We piloted a young alumni welcome in Boston last fall, and hope to do more of these in the future. Plans are already in the works for events in the coming months in Washington, DC and Philadelphia. We are initiating new pilot projects to connect alumni and students on a one-on-one basis, either on campus or when interviewing for residencies. We plan to host a student-alumni mentoring dinner, intensifying awareness of our association and strengthening ties with our future members. We continue to donate and distribute stethoscopes to the first-year students at their White Coat Ceremony, which is a daily reminder of the shoulders they stand on.

We have begun to expand our horizons to consider inclusion of service and giving back to Yale and our communities in our programming and efforts. We have worked toward building alliances between the medical school and the greater Yale alumni community with more active involvement of our members at the Yale AYA Assembly, with participation in the AYA Board of Governors Graduate and Professional Schools committee, and by encouraging our graduates to engage in the Yale Day of Service and Yale Alumni Service Corps activities. 

As my term comes to an end, I assure you I am not going to disappear into the finely carved woodwork, particularly as I have recently been elected to the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni. I look forward to actively participating and representing our interests in that umbrella alumni organization. It refreshes my spirit to come back to Yale, whether it is for a committee meeting, an Assembly or a Reunion. Thank you for allowing me to serve as a leader of this amazing group of doctors and scholars. I got to work with old and new friends and a dedicated staff for a school I love. What could be better?!


Christine A. Walsh, M.D. ’73
President, AYAM

Photo: Christine Walsh, M.D. ’73, (center) honored for completion of her term as President of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine by Dean Alpern and incoming AYAM President Susan Ryu Gaynon, M.D. ’73.  Credit: Terry Dagradi

The Alumni Bulletin is a regular message from AYAM President, and distributed to members of the AYAM periodically throughout the year. This may be found on the Alumni & Friends website at Write to the Alumni Office at