A new president takes the helm

Christine Walsh, M.D. ’73, and your alumni association seek ideas on activities and engagement

Also in this issue:

  • A new class begins its journey
  • iPads replace paper curriculum
  • A renewed vision for our association
Dear Fellow Alumni,
Christine A. Walsh, M.D. '73

Christine A. Walsh, M.D. '73

It is an honor and a privilege for me to serve as president of our alumni association. I thank our outgoing president, Harold D. Bornstein, M.D. ’53, for his leadership during the last two years, and, as I take on this new role, I welcome the support and collaboration of my fellow Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine (AYAM) officers and executive committee members.

A colleague recently asked about the “perks” of being president of the alumni association. I’ll admit, I hadn’t really considered the question. My first thoughts were of the great strawberries and whipped cream that I get at every Reunion, instead of just my own, and the dedicated and stimulating people I am privileged to work with. But the real “perks” are working to promote and improve an institution that I love, and helping to meet the needs of the students and alums.

So what has Yale meant to me? The relationships I formed and the inspiration I experienced at Yale have affected my entire career and the lives of my patients and my students. Great physicians who are great teachers have a profound effect on their students, who then profoundly influence their students, who will go on to become teachers who influence their students. The late Nicholas P.R. Spinelli, M.D. ’44, comes to mind. Nick left an indelible mark on the AYAM, serving as president in the early 1980s and as Director of Alumni Affairs from 1985-1990, and remaining an active class volunteer until his death in 2007. Nick was especially dedicated to the students, and offered them, on his own and with the help of his classmates, scholarships and mentorship. He will always serve as a role model for me.

The close relationship between student and teacher is an integral part of Yale and of the Yale System. It carries over into the doctor-patient relationship, to the benefit of both caregiver and receiver.

Students receive white coats, stethoscopes and iPads

Seeing the new students in the class of 2015 don their white coats on August 18 reminded me both of my own time as a medical student and of the constant renewal of our profession. Michael Tom, M.D. ’83, joined me on the stage in Harkness Auditorium to hand out a stethoscope to each incoming student. Along with the white coat, the stethoscope serves as a symbol of the profession these young people have entered. The stethoscope is a reminder of the privilege we share of touching a person’s body and spirit. We learned this summer that each incoming student, along with all the current medical students, also received an iPad, which has become another symbol of the times in which we live. The impetus for providing iPads was to help the School of Medicine go green—each iPad represents $1,000 worth of paper for copies of first- and second-year course materials. The faculty have come to realize that the iPad is more than just environmentally smart—it also enhances the way courses are being taught. In 30 minutes students can download the curriculum for an entire academic year. Faculty can make changes to their classes at the last minute, and students will be able to note those changes. Yale joins schools around the country in this growing trend that symbolizes the future of medicine.

A renewed vision for the AYAM

Earlier this fall, current and former members of the AYAM executive committee, the Yale School of Medicine Alumni Fund Board, and the Yale Medicine Advisory Board held an all-day meeting at West Campus to discuss strategic planning and to envision the future of our alumni association. Those of you who have done strategic planning will recognize the buzz words: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, stakeholders, mission, and priorities. Recurring themes throughout the day were involvement with current students, connecting alumni in our home towns, partnering with other alumni groups from Yale, and increased communication of campus and alumni news. We recognize that the 30 alumni present represent the over 6,000 alumni of YSM, and we are asking each participant to reach out to fellow alumni to add their voice to the conversation.

I invite you to add your own voice by answering our short list of questions. Responses can be sent to the Alumni Office at ayam@yale.edu.

  • How can the AYAM help you to reconnect with Yale and the Medical School?
  • As an alum, how can you help or influence the School’s current students, residents, or faculty?
  • How can AYAM play a role in helping you network/connect with other Yale School of Medicine alumni or Yale graduates who are also in health care?
  • Would you be interested in doing any of these? Can you recommend other alumni for us to contact?
Individually, in our professional lives, we have an impact on the patients we see, the research we do, and the communities we live in. As a group, I think we can have an even greater impact, and look forward to hearing your ideas and exploring our options together as we re-envision the role of alumni in our Yale School of Medicine.

Christine A. Walsh, M.D. ’73


Photo: Terry Dagradi

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 https://medicine.yale.edu/alumni/ayam/update.aspx