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Reunion 2019: Class of 1994 25th Reunion report

June 14, 2019

This year, for our 25th reunion, just over 20 classmates returned to celebrate this silver anniversary, share insights from their current practices and to reminisce. Representation from far-flung states (Lauren Hyman, John Kirk, Ernst Hansch – California; John & Andrea Lundell – Texas; Silvia Garcia, Tino Pena, Erol Yoldas – Florida; John Curci – Tennessee; Steven Chough – Illinois) all but outnumbered those more local to New Haven (Bonnie Gould Rothberg, Belinda Chan, Debra Howard Schussheim – Connecticut; Mike Yao, Mark Meyer, Len Landesberg – New York; Alexa Boer Kimball, Chien Chuang – Massachusetts; Kevin Bishoff Carlson – Maryland). Then came the Virginians – Emil Engels and Jae Lim.

Friday night, classmates opted for more intimate gatherings. Impromptu photo-ops in front of Harkness, leisurely dinners at some of New Haven’s upscale restaurants and visiting old haunts such as GYPSCY (now named Gryphon’s…) or Yorkside pizza were on the agenda. The latter is still an excellent option at 1:30 am!

Saturday, following the featured YSM programming, classmates gathered at my home in Guilford, CT for dinner graced by a glorious sunset over the Long Island Sound. While we all agreed that everyone looked the same as we did when we arrived on campus in August of 1990, there were subtle and not-so-subtle signs that most of us were firmly in our 6th decade. More than a few classmates were transitioning to an empty nest. Others noted that Millennial trainees do not have the same “commitment to the grind” as our cohort did (we now have “olden days” to refer to…). Finally, many shared their new-found resilience with respect to addressing demanding patients or administrative headaches. One outspoken classmate shared a story of how he recently redirected an irate patient. “In my office we treat each other with mutual respect. Your tone is not acceptable. Now, I am going to step out and let’s start this over again.”

Most of the attendees continue to be largely engaged in the practice of medicine. Belinda and Kevin practice primary care, Debbie is an endocrinologist, Len a pulmonologist and Mark practices office cardiology. John Curci recently moved his vascular surgery practice Vanderbilt (Nashville). Erol expanded his sports medicine orthopedics practice to include an Advanced-Practice Provider who can help evaluate and treat nonoperative cases. Emil reports that he has transitioned into a leadership role where he manages a group of nearly 200 physicians, yet he continues to practice as an anesthesiologist once a week. John Lundell, also an anesthesiologist, talked about how the increasing stringency of Universal Precautions has impacted his practice.

Downhill skiing continues to remain a favorite past time. The Rockies was the preferred destination for Erol, Jae, Belinda and me whereas Ernst frequents Whistler and the Austrian Alps. However, it seems that I am the only one who still dares to ski through Black Diamond moguls. Classmates also shared their enthusiasm for fine wines, boating and bourbon. Lauren shared her son’s passion for geodes and minerals. We also all proved our tech savviness by Air Dropping to each other the best photos of the weekend.

After dinner, classmates returned to New Haven to continue the celebration at Bar. After having a good laugh at being, by far, the oldest ones on the “back room” dance floor, we returned to the front benches for, you guessed it, more late-night pizza! We finally said our good-byes well after midnight.

One general conclusion was that, despite our robust attendance, many classmates were missed. We all agreed to not only commit to return for our 30th but to each bring one or more classmates who could not join this time with us.

Looking forward to seeing everybody in 5 years (if not sooner)!

-- submitted by Bonnie Gould Rothberg

Submitted by Tiffany Penn on June 17, 2019