Keeping current with Yale School of Medicine

Over the years communications with alumni have moved from print to email to web.

Also in this issue:

  • More Yale Medicine magazine coverage online
  • A medical school timeline on Facebook
  • Reunion Weekend explores medical education old and new

Dear Fellow Alumni,

I write this letter in the wake of a successful Reunion Weekend, during which 365 alumni and friends gathered for a social, informative, and thought-provoking program. As president of your alumni association, I was so pleased to meet many of you in person, but I am also aware that the majority of us cannot return to New Haven.  We depend upon school publications and now social media to keep us informed, and I am thrilled to see Yale moving forward in this regard.

Yale Medicine Magazine cover Spring 2012

Yale Medicine Magazine cover Spring 2012. Image: Steven Hall

Communications have taken on new forms since the 1950s, when the school’s alumni bulletin, the precursor to Yale Medicine, first appeared. The bulletin took on a magazine format in the 1960s and launched its initial website in 1998. That website mirrored the magazine’s print issue and appeared once the magazine was in the mail to alumni. Over the years, as web technology has evolved, the website has added items not possible in a print publication, including podcasts of talks by medical school faculty and an occasional video. In 2009 the editors inaugurated the magazine’s Online Extra, which appeared three times a year with additional stories not available in the print edition. This past January, with the launching of a new website, Yale Medicine now posts updates to past articles as well as new web-only stories. The Yale Medicine website will also post videos and slideshows of such events as Commencement, Student Research Day, Match Day, and Reunion in order to offer broader coverage. For a look at the latest coverage, visit

A timeline traces the school’s history

The use of online venues has expanded to include Facebook, where, with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger, alumni and friends may revisit much of the School of Medicine’s history via a timeline that highlights the school’s advances since its founding in 1810. The timeline is drawn from Kerry L. Falvey’s 2010 book Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years, published in commemoration of the bicentennial anniversary of the school’s founding. Among the milestones featured at are the official opening of the Medical Institution of Yale College—the school’s name at the time—in 1813, the creation of the Yale System of medical education, the founding of the Child Study Center, Yale’s contributions to the development of a polio vaccine, and the opening of Smilow Cancer Hospital. (You need not have a Facebook account to view the timeline. Explore the current and historical posts with the navigation buttons at the top of the Facebook page to scroll through the years.) To learn more about these and other timeline moments—and about what’s going on at the Yale School of Medicine today—get “social” and visit, or watch history as it unfolds in Twitter-time at

Reunion 2012 Alumni Panel

(L to R) Peter Herbert, M.D. ’67; Vivek Murthy, M.D. ’02, M.B.A. ’03; Jessica Herzstein, M.D. ’82, M.P.H. ’89; Helen L. Smits, M.D. '67; Nancy Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90. Photo credit: Terry Dagradi

Career paths and distinguished service

We can all look forward to the annual reunion update in Yale Medicine’s online edition later this month, but as an alumna and practicing physician, I noted how events at this year’s reunion traced the history of medicine, from an exhibit in the library on medicine in the time of Shakespeare to a tour of the Cushing Center to Friday’s alumni panel, in which four of our alumni (Peter Herbert, M.D. ’67; Jessica Herzstein, M.D. ’82, M.P.H. ’89; Vivek Murthy, M.D. ’02, M.B.A. ’03; and Helen L. Smits, M.D. '67) traced their career paths and provided a glimpse into the practice of medicine over three generations. All four are dedicated to improving the health of our country and world and each confronts the challenge in a different way. Saturday’s CME presentations provided a glimpse into the future with a look at the cutting-edge work of two top researchers who have made landmark insights into the genetics of the brain, Matthew State, M.D., Ph.D., and Murat Gunel, M.D., co-directors of The Yale Program on Neurogenetics.  Dean Alpern provided a thorough review of the state of the school, underscoring the significant growth of Yale’s clinical practice, its continued excellence in research, the evolving needs of medical education, and the school’s efforts to maintain its standing in a time of political and economic uncertainty. We saw three of our classmates honored for their years of service to medicine and the School of Medicine as Distinguished Alumni Service Awards went to Harry Briggs, M.D. ’57;  Jack Levin, M.D. ’57; and Robert Kerin, M.D. ’47. We participated in dynamic, interactive presentations by Assistant Dean Michael Schwartz, Ph.D., on the role of iPads in medical education, and Deputy Dean Richard Belitsky, M.D., shared progress on curricular reform.

At the personal level, many of us reacquainted with old friends at class dinners, and made new friends at all-alumni festivities.  It was a wonderful weekend that showed how we and our school have evolved over time.

I invite you all to help the AYAM move further into the 21st century. Please share suggestions for alumni outreach and comments on our AYAM newsletter with me at

On behalf of the AYAM Executive Committee, please know that we value the work you do in our profession, and the example you set as Yale-trained physicians. Keep up the good work!


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

This bulletin is distributed electronically, via email and the web, to graduates of the School of Medicine. If you did not receive this email directly, we invite you to update your contact information at