A spring blooming with alumni connections

As a new alumni director takes the reins, the medical school reviews its curriculum, plans a reunion program celebrating the work of neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, and prepares to launch a book marking YSM's 200th birthday.

Dear Fellow Alumni,

Greetings! With this, our second letter about alumni activities and initiatives, we are going green. We will only distribute this newsletter electronically, via email and the web. Please feel free to forward this email to your fellow alumni. Those of you who have not received the email directly are invited to update contact information at https://medicine.yale.edu/alumni/ayam/update.aspx.

Since I first wrote to you last fall, a great deal has been happening at the School of Medicine and there is much to share with you. Among other news, a new alumni director is in place, a strategic review of medical school curriculum is under way, the annual alumni reunion is coming up, and the School of Medicine is preparing for its bicentennial.


Debby Jagielow starts as alumni director
Let me begin by introducing Debby Jagielow, who started in January as our new director of alumni affairs. Debby comes to us with a wealth of experience in alumni affairs including Yale. For the past 10 years, she has been an assistant director with the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), managing the programs of up to 20 Yale College classes, including reunion weekends in New Haven.

Before coming to Yale, Debby worked in the alumni offices of Georgetown University Law Center, Southern Connecticut State University, and the University of New Haven. But Debby has a genetic link to the “spirit of Yale”—her late father was an alumnus of the School of Medicine and her mother is an alumna of the graduate school.

Reunion 2010
Plans are in the works for this spring’s alumni reunion, June 4 and 5 for the classes ending in 0 and 5. Friday’s highlights include alumni lectures, a library tour, a campus tour, and a sumptuous buffet dinner in Harkness Hall. The alumni lecturers are Robert Klitzman, M.D. ’85, author of When Doctors Become Patients, sharing his personal experience and the conversations with more than 70 men and women who experienced both sides of medicine; and Jerrold M. Post, M.D. ’60, author of When Illness Strikes the Leader, discussing how the entire political system is affected when the leader becomes ill, including discussions of illness concealment, and leading while terminally ill.

Activities continue on Saturday morning, with Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., HS ’76, chair and Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, moderating a discussion of “The Legacy of Harvey Cushing at Yale: Past and Future Perspectives.” Other highlights include the dedication of the new Harvey Cushing Center, a West Campus tour, an all-alumni BBQ luncheon, and a tour of the new Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. The weekend will culminate with the class dinners at New Haven restaurants on Saturday night.

Full program details and registration will be mailed to all alumni and will be available after April 5 at https://medicine.yale.edu/alumni/.

Curriculum review
In January, the Office of Alumni Affairs hosted alumni focus groups in Boston, New York, and New Haven to elicit input on the Initial Recommendations of the Strategic Planning Committee for Medical Education. It was wonderful to see alumni of all ages and career paths exchanging ideas with Deputy Dean of Education Richard Belitsky, M.D. The deputy dean is overseeing a year-long effort with three goals: to renew and refocus YSM’s vision for medical education; to strengthen the quality of the educational program; and to make meaningful recommendations and set clear priorities that advance YSM’s reputation as a leader in medical education. I was heartened to know that our academic leaders included alumni feedback in this important endeavor, and we look forward to learning more in the months ahead.


The coming academic year brings the Bicentennial of the School of Medicine, which will be observed throughout 2010-2011. Among the events we are planning is a 200th birthday party on October 16, to which all alumni, faculty, staff, students, and neighbors from our surrounding community are invited. Other highlights include the performance of a commissioned work by the Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra in December and a symposium in the spring of 2011 featuring leading thinkers in the biomedical sciences, translational medicine, global health, prevention, and health care policy.

To help mark the occasion, the school is producing a short documentary video and a book looking back on the past 200 years and forward to the future of the medical school in the decades to come. This lovely coffee-table edition, Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years, is a must have. It will surely bring back memories and reveal things we never knew about our alma mater. The book will be published in November by Yale University Press and may be pre-ordered online at a special discount at http://www.yalebooks.com/ysm200.

Online Extra
On the topic of publications, our latest issue of Online Extra, the web version of Yale Medicine, went online early this month. This issue includes articles and photo galleries on Yale’s medical mission to Haiti, a first-person account of the January earthquake by a public health alumna who works for the United Nations in Port-au-Prince, an article about a visit to the medical school by pediatrician and journalist Perri Klass, a story about the 10-year-old MD/MBA program, and a look at the Second-Year Show by the Class of 2012. Online Extra is at http://yalemedicine.yale.edu/.

And, photo galleries of such recent events as the Hunger and Homelessness Auction, the Second-Year Show, and Match Day are online at https://medicine.yale.edu/alumni/events/photos/index.aspx.

Health care conference
On April 9, alumni from the School of Medicine will partner with faculty, students, and alumni from Yale’s Schools of Management, Public Health and Nursing to present the HealthCare 2010 Conference: “Re-forming Healthcare: Excelling in a Transforming System.” This student-run collaboration will allow professionals, academics, and students to discuss current health care issues. The annual conference, now in its sixth year, will explore topics including the effects of policy aimed at health insurance and health care reform, the short-term and long-term implications of access to care, and measuring and improving quality in the system. For more information or to register, visit http://www.yalehealthcare.com.

Yale Day of Service
Last year more than 3,500 members of the Yale community volunteered in more than 180 sites in 35 states and 13 countries during the annual global Yale Day of Service. This year, on May 15, scores of projects are taking place around the nation and the world. Volunteers can play with kids at a haven for homeless woman and children in Birmingham, Alabama; paint apartments in Chicago; rake leaves, collect trash, and weed native gardens on Cape Cod; help the San Francisco Food Bank prepare food for distribution to soup kitchens, food pantries, and after-school programs; tutor students from second grade through high school in Miami; participate in English language activities at a middle school in Beijing; or paint and make repairs at London’s largest day care center for homeless people at risk.

We encourage members of the AYAM to participate in this great Yale tradition. To find out about projects near you and sign-up to participate, visit http://yaledayofservice.org/.

That’s it for now. I hope to see many of you at reunion weekend, and will be writing again later in June with more news. Meanwhile, have a glorious spring!


Harold Bornstein, M.D. '53