The School of Medicine at 200

In this Bicentennial year, we celebrate the School of Medicine with reunions, symposia, a community gathering, a concert, a commemorative book, and a special issue of Yale Medicine.

Also in this issue:

  • The Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra’s Bicentennial concert
  • Leading scientists, clinicians, and scholars at academic symposium in April
  • Bicentennial voices recount the history of the School of Medicine
  • The Physician Associate Program turns 40

Dear Fellow Alumni,

Happy Birthday, Yale School of Medicine! In this newsletter, I’m pleased to share news of our Bicentennial celebrations.

Yale Medicine Winter 2011

A special issue of Yale Medicine

On the afternoon of September 23, as my wife, Maureen, and I walked through the Sterling Hall of Medicine on our way to Medical Student Council, we stopped to say hello to John Curtis, the editor of Yale Medicine. A photographer for the magazine had set up a backdrop, lights, and cameras just outside the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library and was photographing people as they passed by. These black and white portraits of librarians, custodians, couriers, students, faculty, postdocs, and others appeared in the winter issue of Yale Medicine in January, in a special centerfold. John and the team at the magazine devoted the winter issue to photographs documenting a Week in the Life of the School of Medicine.

This is indeed a special edition that captures the spirit of the medical school and the people who make it one of the world’s leading institutions. A slide show of the photos in the magazine and more are also viewable at I urge all of you to take a look at how it celebrates this very special place.

The Yale Medical School Orchestra

While it is true that a “picture paints a thousand words,” the sense of sound brings great pleasure as well, as it did for those who attended last December’s Bicentennial concert of the Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is funded through the School’s Program for the Humanities in Medicine and it was founded three years ago by one of our alumnae, Lynn T. Tanoue, M.D. ’82; professor of medicine and medical director, Yale Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Program; and director, Winchester Chest Clinic.

I have long appreciated the diverse talent within the medical school community, but it was still astonishing to hear faculty, students, and staff perform works by Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Schubert, as well as “Heart Throbs,” a tone poem composed for the occasion by Thomas C. Duffy, director of bands at Yale. At a pre-concert reception for alumni and friends maestro Duffy reflected on his inspiration and process for composing the piece. Written for instruments including timpanum, kokiriku (a Japanese percussion instrument made of wooden slats), and even a  siren, “Heart Throbs” evokes the sounds of a normal heartbeat as well as such pathologies as murmurs and gallops. The more “disturbing” the pathology, the more dissonant the music. As physicians, the composer challenged us “to either listen or diagnose.” I didn’t know what to expect, but one of my fellow attendees summarized it best: The reception and concert were a hit and Mr. Duffy—AMAZING!

Bicentennial cake cutting

Community Day brings Yale and New Haven together

On Saturday, October 16, Cedar Street was closed to traffic and we welcomed our neighbors from the greater New Haven area for Bicentennial Community Day. Visitors could choose from faculty lectures and open houses in medical school laboratories. In partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital, children’s activities and a health fair provided educational opportunities and health screenings. Yale a capella groups serenaded visitors on Cedar Street throughout the day, and the highlight of the afternoon was the cutting of a birthday cake by Dean Robert Alpern, M.D.; Marna Borgstrom, M.P.H. ’79, CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital; New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.; and 6th Ward Alderwoman Dolores Colon.

Paul Beeson

Bicentennial voices

As part of the Bicentennial celebration, a series of short videos focusing on pivotal events and personalities in the school’s history are being produced and shared on the internet. Three have been posted so far, featuring Thomas Lynch, M.D. ’86, director of Yale Cancer Center, on the crucial moment in the 1940s when Yale physicians and researchers demonstrated that a drug could treat cancer; John Forrest, M.D., director of the Office of Student Research, remembering Paul Beeson, M.D., the legendary chair of internal medicine; and Robert Sherwin, M.D., and William Tamborlane, M.D., describing their development of the insulin pump, which revolutionized diabetes treatment. Future videos will feature Michael Kashgarian, M.D. ’58, on Milton Winternitz, the early 20th century dean who left his mark on the School of Medicine; Vincent Quagliarello, M.D., discussing the first use of penicillin at Yale; and Robert Levine, M.D., on the ethical treatment of human subjects in research. The videos can be seen at

Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years

November saw the publication of Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years, a commemorative book that marks the Bicentennial of the School of Medicine. Written by Kerry L. Falvey, the book includes essays by faculty and alumni including Thomas Duffy, M.D., Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D. ’55, and John Harley Warner, PH.D.

40 years of the Physician Associate Program

On Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26, the Physician Associate Program will hold an academic symposium and alumni reunion, celebrating the contributions of the Physician Associates to American medicine and the 40th anniversary of the matriculation of the first class in 1971. Activities will begin on Friday with a White Coat Ceremony for the class of 2012, where speakers will include Alfred M. Sadler, M.D., one of the program’s founders, and a panel will discuss the Physician Associate profession from the patient’s perspective. A welcome reception will follow.

Saturday’s academic symposium will include sessions on the development of the Physician Associate Program at Yale, a panel of alumni from the class of 1973, past Yale presidents of the American Association of Physician Assistants, characteristics of a PA practice, international trends in the profession, and thoughts on the future of the profession. The evening will conclude with an all-alumni reunion dinner at the New Haven Lawn Club. A full schedule and registration may be found at medicine.alumni.yale/alumni.

Academic symposium in April

In celebration of the School of Medicine’s 200th year, 15 of the world’s most eminent scientists, clinicians, and scholars, including seven Nobel laureates, will gather in New Haven for two days of lectures on a wide variety of topics. On April 28 and 29 we expect to hear from such world-renowned scientists as Eric Kandel, M.D., Sir Michael Marmot, PH.D., Elizabeth Blackburn, PH.D., and David Baltimore, PH.D., among others. The symposium is open to all members of the Yale community and the general public. For full details, visit

Reunion 2010: Welcome Reception

Alumni Reunion in June

The finale of the Bicentennial year’s activities will be this spring’s Reunion Weekend, June 3-5, which will celebrate the quinquennial reunions for class years ending in 1 or 6, though all alumni are welcome to attend. Friday afternoon and Saturday morning activities will feature alumni and faculty speakers, and campus and library tours, including the new Harvey Cushing Center. Of course, there will also be plenty of opportunities to network with fellow alumni and reconnect with Yale. Stay tuned to for more information and registration later this spring.

Be our friend on Facebook!

Yale School of Medicine has recently launched a Facebook page, and welcomes our friends to join us for news of the school and alumni events. Join us online at


Maureen and I look forward to seeing many of you online and at our upcoming Bicentennial events!



Harold D. Bornstein, M.D. ’53, HS ’56
President, AYAM

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