Boston University Medicine – Summer 2022

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Why the Class of 2022 may just be the strongest ever. BostonUniversity Medicine SUMMER 2022 • bumc.bu.eduBoston University School of Medicine



Another academic year began with the welcome of our new MD class on August 1. Our graduate students joined us in late August. The campus has returned to almost-normal activ ity with in-person teaching, learning, and Weresearch.hope you enjoy this contentrich issue of BU Medicine . Our cover story focuses on our Class of 2022 , whose clinical medical education was upended by COVID-19. This class has learned the necessity of being flexible, creative, and resilient. We are happy to share the story on our evolving MD curriculum that will shift many lectures to teambased, active learning in our new learning center on the fourth floor of the Instructional Building, which can accommodate up to 200 students in renovated space. Our stories on Match Day include a sidebar on the history of the Match Day algorithm , which might be interesting for nonphysician friends and family. Art Days highlights some of our many talented students, faculty, and staff who submitted paintings as well as photography, poems, and other writing to the annual event. We hope you enjoy reading about PA student Randall Perkins , the recipient of the 2022 National Health Service Corps Award to students pursuing primary health professional training. Randall is the first BU student to receive this honor. In faculty news, this year’s winners of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine , Stanley L. Robbins , and Educators of the Year awards are high lighted along with the good news that Jonathan Woodson, MD, former professor of surgery, who established and led the University-wide Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy, was named president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He holds the rank of Major General, US Army Reserve. Reducing medical student debt is a priority for us. This issue features the Konefals and Debbie Wilson, PhD, and their commitment to medical student scholarships



Message From The Dean Karen Antman, MD Provost, Medical Campus Dean, School of Medicine

0922 Boston

photography David

Sasha Pedro Please direct

I hope you enjoy this issue of BU Medicine



Best Regards,

Finally, our alumni section continues our series Alumni Stories by fea turing Patricia Roberts (MED’81), David Penson (MED’91), Ralph Sacco (MED’83), and Artemis Simopoulos (MED’56).

questions or comments to: Maria

Boston University Medicine is published by the Boston University School of Medicine Office. Ober Associate Dean, Communications design & production University Creative Services Brown, Jessica Colarossi, Gina DiGravio, Doug Fraser, Alaina Mencinger, Corinne Steinbrenner Keough, any CommunicationsOber Office University Medical Campus 85 East Newton Street, M810H Boston, MA 02118 617-358-7869 E University Medicine Alumni, and Colleagues,

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4 Boston University School of Medicine

SUMMER 2022 | 1 ContentsSUMMER 2022

Members of the Class of 2024 recite the Hippocratic Oath for the first time at their White Coat Ceremony, which was delayed two years due to the pandemic. The third-year students began their clinical rotations in May.

DEPARTMENTS 2 Campus News 22 Faculty News 36 Research 43 Giving 46 Alumni News FEATURE SURVIVING AND THRIVING The Class of 2022 Shines28

irisha Commodore says it was Boston University School of Medicine’s focus on communities and advocacy that most appealed to her. Commodore, from the Caribbean island of Dominica, was over joyed that her family could join her as she opened the long white envelope last March to find she had matched to an internal medicine residency program at Emory University in Atlanta.

“Your voices are with me when I think about the future of medical education at BUSM,” she said. “I know you will be change agents in the future, no matter where you go or what it says in that envelope.”

“I learned to be flexible; that was the main thing,” she said, reflecting on what helped her get through medical school during a pandemic.BUSMDean

For many of the students assembled in Metcalf Hall, the warm, springlike day did little to soothe the nervousness. At the stroke of noon, they crowded around the two long tables where envelopes were arranged and then clustered in groups with their families, friends, and faculty after opening them. There was laughter, happy tears, and relief that the past year of anxious anticipation was, at last, behind them.

“I know for many years to come you’ll be thought of as the class who went through their clerkships and clinical rotations during the COVID pandemic, but for me your class is something much more than that,” Priya Garg, MD, associate dean for medical education, told the students and their loved ones gathered for the celebration. She noted the Class of 2022’s focus on social justice, gender, and health equity, their initiatives to help create a more inclusive class room, and their ideas for curriculum changes.

“Althoughothers.your cohort of medical graduates globally had a pretty conventional medical education for the first two years, COVID really upended your clinical education [the final two years],” said Antman, who noted a similarity to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1970s

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In an annual tradition dating back 70 years, fourth-year medical students nationwide gather at their respective medical schools at noon on Match Day, the third Friday in March, to open the enve lopes that contain their match—the residency program where they will continue their training for the next three or more years.

“That was one of the things that was upsetting about the pan demic. All I wanted was an in-person Match Day,” said Jabbour.

“I will probably stay here long term; settle down here,” she said, adding that the pandemic helped her appreciate her time with friends and family and a slower pace. Her mother traveled from Florida to be with her for Match Day.

The Class of 2022 gathers together in Metcalf Hall before receiving their Match results.

“I’m so happy! It makes it even more exciting for them to share the moment with me,” she said.

“It was very nerve-wracking overall,” said Nicolette Jabbour, who found she’d matched with her first choice, an otolaryngology, head and neck surgery residency at Boston Medical Center (BMC). Originally from Coral Springs, Florida, Jabbour has studied at Boston University from her undergraduate years through medi cal school, with a master’s degree in between.

Karen Antman, MD, congratulated the Class of 2022 on reaching Match Day “in person! With your families and significant

Kapua Meyer was one of four Hawaiian students at the cer emony, all wearing flower wreaths on their heads, who met each other at BUSM. She is headed to UCLA for a residency in family medicine and looking forward to snow-free winters again.


Weather, Family, and Friends Perfect Match for Med Students


Forty BUSM students are staying in Massachusetts, 14 of whom will be at BMC, one at the combined BMC-Boston Children’s Hospital pediatric residency and one at BUSM affiliate St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. California (25), Illinois (15), and New York (14) were the next most popular matched states. The class matched in a range of programs, with internal medicine (32), emergency medicine (15), family medicine and pediatrics (14 each), surgery (10), and anes thesiology (9) as the top specialties.


Shayna Schor, Janet Monroe, and Caroline Maguire proudly display their Match results.

that produced outstanding physicians like Anthony Fauci and Paul Farmer. She expressed her confidence that the pandemic would do likewise with the current generation.


“Your class has done very well in the match,” said Antman. Thirty-seven percent of the class matched in primary care spe cialties, compared to 30 percent last year. The class will attend residency programs in 30 states, from Maine to Hawaii.

Shayna Schor celebrates with family. Nirisha Commodore, center, opens her Match results.

JaMon Patterson is all smiles.

“In nine weeks, you will be graduating,” Antman said. “After that, when you hear the announcement, ‘Is there a doctor in the house or on the plane?’—they will mean you.”

A History of the Match Day Algorithm

he residency application process looms over the four-year trajectory of hundreds of students at Boston University School of Medicine, and every year nearly 40,000 medical students enter the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which serves as the gateway to the next three to seven years of graduate medical education training. What many have come to accept as inevitable and immutable was molded, sometimes hammered, into its current form over its 70-year history by a cast of characters that included an aircraft car rier pilot who led a student revolt against the medical establishment and a pair of economists who won a Nobel Prize in 2012 for work related to Match Day. As with many complex problems, there’s an algorithm at the heart of the solution. The Match Day algorithm was first used in 1952 by the NRMP and has been refined over the years to incorpo rate new categories, like married students or couples who want to serve out their residencies in the same locale, or for specialties that require more than one training program.

“Matching markets are the markets in which you can’t just choose what you want, even if you could afford it. You also have to be chosen,” Roth explained in a 2013 lecture at Stanford University shortly after winning the 2012 Nobel Prize in economics for his work at Harvard University on those markets, including key revisions to the original Match Day algorithm.


Although matching kidney donors and recipients, finding your life partner, and the pairing of future doctors with residency programs may seem widely disparate, the common link is what Stanford Uni versity economist Alvin Roth calls “matching markets.”

“You can’t just decide to come to Stanford, you have to be admit ted. You can’t just decide to show up for work at Google, you have to be hired. But Stanford [also] can’t just decide that you’ll come,” said Roth, who compared match markets to courtship and marriage where both parties select each other. It turns out that the Match Day algorithm requires more than mutual attraction. It’s also about being selfish, said Purushottam Nagarkar, MD, and Jeffrey Janis, MD, in their 2012 analysis “Fix ing the ‘Match’: How to Play the Game,” published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education

By the 1940s, what had been a progressively chaotic process was a free-for-all, with students and residency programs largely working out agreements on their own. It was a competition for the best students, with programs requiring decisions as early as the second year of medical school, too early to tell whether students were truly qualified or for them to make an informed decision on theirByspecialty.1951,the national clearinghouse that became the NRMP was in place along with the original Mullin-Stalnaker match algorithm. Intended to favor student choices, the algorithm was criticized for penalizing students who picked programs to which they had a low chance of acceptance.

4 Boston University School of Medicine

“The match is a beautifully designed system: to function best, it requires only that all participants act in a purely selfish manner,” wrote Nagarkar, assistant professor of plastic surgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and Janis, profes sor of plastic surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.“Selfish” means that students submit what are known as Rank Order Lists (ROLs) of the residency training programs they find acceptable, placing them in order of preference, a wish list that ignores their chance of gaining admission. This is known as a “truepreference strategy” that eschews the “safe school” fallback strategy recommended for undergraduate admissions. These lists are not pulled from the air but are compiled during an application and interview process during the fourth year of medical school. At BUSM, preparation for residency application begins in earnest toward the end of the third year. Students use their experi ence in clinical rotations to help determine their fit in a specialty. Meetings with deans, faculty advisors, and online information on residency programs help narrow their choice of medical specialty and the residency program in which they wish to train. By early fall of their fourth year, students submit completed appli cations to residency programs and wait for invitations to interview. After interviews are complete, students and residency programs submit their ROLs to the NRMP, the private nonprofit that handles the vast majority of residency program matches. Urology, ophthal mology, and the military have their own matching programs. At that point, conversation between students and residency pro grams ends and the algorithm takes over. It’s made for a much more orderly process.


The algorithm matches tens of thousands of students to thousands of residency programs, working down the ROLs list of the preferred choices of both parties, forming tentative pairings and then, final pair ings between parties that have placed each other on their ranked lists.

Shapley and Gale’s finding that their model could predictably favor one side over the other was important to the success of this algorithm. The NRMP algorithm is constructed to weigh student ROLs over the residency programs’ preference lists.

That stability is largely dependent on rigorously enforced rules that include penalties and sanctions for violating the prohibition on either party disclosing their ROL lists to the other, or for dealmaking outside the matching process.

“While the NRMP Match is experiencing growthrelated issues, the algorithm continues to do its job.”

In 1952, therewere 6,000 applicantsfor 10,400 internshipsIn 2021, arecordhigh 48,700 applicantscompetedfor 35,194 positions.

By selecting as their first choice a program that did not list them first, students were passed over in both the first and the second rounds because the Mullin-Stalnaker algorithm ranked students who listed programs as their first choice over those who placed that program lower on their list, even if the residency program ranked the student as their top pick. It was possible that programs could fill up without either the program or the students getting their preferred choice. This risked a return to chaos, as students and residency programs might resort to making deals outside the match process, which is what caused the collapse of residency matching systems in regions of Great Britain that used a similar algorithm in the 1960s. In the US, William Hardy Hendren III, a former aircraft fighter pilot, found a solution. Hendren, who recently passed away, became a legendary surgeon, earning the nickname “Hardly Human” for his willingness to take on long, difficult surgeries on patients whose cases were often considered hopeless. During WWII, he left Dartmouth College to enlist in the navy, although he finished flight training too late to serve in combat. He was a student at Harvard Medical School in 1951 when he discov ered the flaw in the Mullin-Stalnaker algorithm.

Over the past 70 years the NRMP Match has grown significantly and is showing signs of strain. In 1952, the first Match Day drew 6,000 applicants for 10,400 internships. By the 1970s and ‘80s the number of applicants outstripped the available positions, and in 2021, a record high 48,700 applicants competed for 35,194 positions, according to NRMPWithstatistics.asurplus of applicants, the application process has grown increasingly competitive and stressful, taking progressively more and more student time away from studies. Reflecting student worries over competition and the need to secure interviews, NRMP statistics also show that the number of programs students apply to and the number of programs listed on their ROLs have also increased over the past 19 years. Students applying to resi dency programs averaged nearly 7.5 programs on their ROLs in 2002, but nearly 12.4 by 2021. Some students find it necessary to rank doz ens of programs to be competitive.

“Facing resistance at every step from the National InterAssociation Committee on Internships and putting his standing at Harvard Medical School at risk, Hendren led a nationwide move ment of medical students to change the procedure to one that favored students’ choices,” wrote Hendren and Don Nakayama, MD, professor of surgery at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in a June 2017 article in Surgery, the official journal of the Society of University Surgeons. That campaign culminated in a nationwide vote by medi cal students rejecting the orig inal algorithm in favor of one Hendren crafted that came to be known as the “Boston Pool” algorithm, the founda tion of the modern NRMP MatchBasedalgorithm.ontheprinciple of deferred acceptance cham pioned by economist Lloyd Shapley and mathematician David Gale in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was a selection pro cess that allowed for a tenta tive match between parties that only became permanent if no better match came along. The goal was stability, and Gale and Shapley determined that a match was stable when neither party had anything more to gain from further trading.

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Shapley shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in economics with Roth for their work on matching markets. The stability of the Gale-Shapley algorithm and its subsequent updates, Roth wrote in a February 2003 paper in the Journal of American Medical Association on the origins of Match Day, has kept it working in the US for decades.

While the NRMP Match is experiencing growth-related issues, the algorithm continues to do its job. In 2021, nearly 80 percent of US medical school graduates were matched to one of their first four choices, and more than 43 percent matched to their top choice. The algorithm has grown to accommodate requests by couples for residen cies in the same program, or one close by. In 2021, of the 1,224 couples who applied for residencies, 1,089 achieved that goal. n

The final matches are considered stable because both parties indicated their interest in one another.


The teaching model that has dominated medical education for over a century consists of two years learning the science underpinning diagnosis and care, followed by two years of clinical rotations. Medical students typically spend their first year under standing how the systems in the body work; in the second year, they focus on what can go wrong. The new curriculum merges the two using multiple teaching methodologies and formats that focus on active, rather than passive, learning.

Along with broadening student perspectives on healthcare, another curriculum goal was to improve understanding and reten tion of what was being taught. Garg recalls that when she first came to BUSM, faculty expressed their concern that they weren’t


6 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS NEWS knowledge base and a strong ability to clinically reason,” says Molly Cohen-Osher, MD, MMedEd, assistant dean for medical education for curriculum and instructional design and development.

Broadly speaking, curriculum is what gets taught to students, but also applies to what they are able to learn, understand, and retain, Cohen-Osher said.

Known as LEADS (Learn, Experience, Advocate, Discover, Serve), the classes encompass subjects focused on the health impacts of societal factors like racism, the refugee population, immigrant and global health, homelessness, addiction, and LGBTQIA+ com munities. Additional skill development in areas such as advocacy and research, narrative medicine, and public health knowledge will also be included.

Before she came to BUSM, Garg often heard her husband, Arvin Garg, MD (MED’99) say that students choose the school for its mission of training future leaders and advocates who address healthcare disparities.

“Many students come to medical school focused on learning as much science as they can and believe that knowledge is what will make them great physicians. But all of us who take care of patients know that science is actually only one piece of what you need to provide exemplary care,” she says. Garg currently leads the school’s curriculum change initiative with Dean Karen Antman,HealthMD.equity will be fully integrated into the new curriculum in all the courses, with seven weeks of dedicated classroom instruc tion in the first two years. Cheryl McSweeney, MD, assistant pro fessor of family medicine, directs the new health equity course.



Associate Dean for Medical Education Priya Garg and Molly Cohen-Osher, assistant dean for medical education/curriculum and instructional design, walk through the new learning center during its construction.

“So little of what actually contributes to health for people hap pens in that one-on-one visit that we’re training everybody for. It’s much broader than that,” says McSweeney, director of the first-year course Essentials of Public Health. “We need students to understand the physiology and to know what’s the best evidence for the treatment of patients in terms of medication, but also to have an understanding that it’s not going to work if they don’t have the refrigerator to store that medication.”

hen Priya Garg, MD, became BUSM associate dean for medical education in 2017, feedback from student focus groups included requests for flexibility in how they learn and for designated curriculum time to explore the societal and healthcare issues that brought them to the school. At the same time, faculty were concerned that lectures were sparsely attended, leading them to conclude that most students were learning outside of the classroom.Thisfeedback helped guide a newly designed medical education curriculum that will be fully implemented for the entering class of 2022. The goal is to graduate “doctors who can provide patient-centered, equitable care, who have a solid Curriculum

The hallmarks of the new approach include the expansion of clinical casework and cases that apply knowledge into all four years; an emphasis on team-based and self-directed learning; and the integration of content across foundational, clinical, and social science with a focus on health equity.


SUMMER 2022 | 7 interacting with students and that few were coming to their classes but rather, viewing recordings of the lectures. This trend has been ongoing in medical schools nationwide for years.

The new learning center is central to the collaborative, team-based approach that is more in line with how students study today.


Medical student Sherry Ershadi chose BUSM because the pro gram allowed first-year students access to Boston Medical Center, where they could get real-life experience.

Educators point out that students absorbing material at their own pace and reviewing what they don’t understand leads to bet ter“Nounderstanding.onetoldme how to study. They just said, ‘Use what you’ve always used. It got you this far,’” Garg recalls.

“Integrating those cases into team-based-learning sessions or into Doctoring [another first-year course] definitely helps to keep [classes] interesting. You’re seeing how the information that you’re learning is going to relate to the real world and it prepares you [for clinical rotation],” Ershadi says. The curriculum redesign also is focused on improving commu nication skills, physical examination, and clinical reasoning. The doctoring courses that focus on these skills were redesigned in 2019 in the first phase of curriculum changes.

“We wanted to create an open classroom where everyone was on one level, the faculty were walking around, and students really felt like they were con necting with and learning from them, asking ques tions and having a dialogue rather than a lecture,” saysGargGarg.aims for BUSM medical students to become both great clinicians and agents of change in health care and equity, the latter in large part due to their experience with the underserved and marginalized populations that come to BUSM’s primary teaching affiliate, Boston Medical Center, which also is New England’s largest safety-net hospital.

The reality is that medical students face a torrent of information coming at them every day, making it difficult to absorb and retain. Self-esteem, health, and knowledge can all suffer when the amount of content being delivered is not considered, says Garg. “We’re giving them so much information in a way that makes it hard to retain, and it’s just not reasonable for anyone. It’s dis heartening as a student, and when you finally get through all of it you just never want to think about it again.”

Construction was completed this summer on a new, $5.5 million learning center that can accommodate up to 200 students divided into teams of eight, seated at round tables. The new facility is cen tral to the expanded use of the “flipped classroom,” a collabora tive, team-based approach that’s more in line with how students, who have unprecedented access to information on the internet, studyStudentstoday.are given example cases with questions and are provided with materials to learn about them outside of the class room, while self-testing to find their knowledge gaps. When they return to the classroom, they undergo both individual and team assessments. The teams then tackle an hourslong investigation, assisted by faculty and content experts working together from across disciplines who visit the various tables with technology that can link to screens around the room.

“Even the chairs began to notice, and asked me why we didn’t require students to come to class,” Garg says. “My response has always been that we have to make the classroom experience meaningful if we want students to be required to attend.”

“Surface learning is memorizing it as you cram for a test; then you dump it. Deep learning is developing a deep and meaningful understanding of the material,” says Cohen-Osher. “Right now, what we do is we give you all of cardiovascular, all at once in the first year, and you memorize it and pass the course, and then you go on. But what we really wanted was to bring back that learning again and again so that it stays in your memory for the long term.”

“I think those of us who work here are doing it because we want patients, when they walk into the hospital, to feel safe and not feel like it is a place where they will be judged,” she says. n

To increase understanding and retention, BUSM is employing new teaching methods such as spaced learning, which portions out lessons and learning assessments over time and repeats them to improve retention. Another novel method, interleaving, teaches closely related topics together, thus encouraging learning by distinguishing between multiple but similar concepts, like teaching math by mixing in multiplication, addition, and subtraction problems.

According to Ershadi, most of the medical students she knows don’t go to lectures and instead watch them on video. “For me, the in-person lecture does not work because at that speed I just can’t pay attention,” she says.




“Today, we celebrate Dr. Fuller’s achievements at a time when African American physicians faced even more barriers than today,” said BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, in her opening remarks at the daylong seminar last February 17 commem orating his life, his contributions to psychiatry, and his legacy.

Solomon Carter Fuller, circa 1910

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Fuller’s paternal grandparents were former slaves who purchased their freedom and moved to Liberia. He was born in 1872 in Monrovia, Liberia, and came to the US as a teenager seeking an education. By 1897 he had graduated from BUSM, and within two years he’d advanced from an intern at Westborough Insane Hospital (which was renamed West borough State Hospital in 1907 and closed in 2010) to head pathologist. In that same time span, he was named director of the Clinical Society of Massachusetts and an instructor of pathology at BUSM. In 1909 he joined Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and 172 of the world’s leading psychologists, physicians, and educators as an invitee to an international conference at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. In a photo from the conference, he is pictured posing with Freud and Jung along with 39 others.


Seminar Celebrates the Life, Work, and Legacy of Pioneering



Branson spoke on the historical life and times of Fuller, his intellect, and his drive to overcome obstacles and succeed.

“He was a visionary. He was completely ahead of his time,” said Chantale Branson, MD, assistant professor of neurology and course director at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and an adjunct professor at BUSM.

They uncovered abnormalities in brain tissue: twisted protein threads known as neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques, dense clumps of protein located between nerve cells. In 1912, Fuller published the first comprehensive review of their research that established what they uncovered was a disease, not senility or insanity. His findings diverged from Alzheimer’s in highlight ing the role of plaques over the neurofibrillary tangles. He also showed it was a disease of both the young and old, and distinct from the dementia caused by arteriosclerosis, the hardening of veins with age.

Antman noted that Fuller was chosen by Alois Alzheimer of the Royal Psychiatric Hospital in Munich as one of five foreign research assistants—and the only American scientist—to help him study the brains of dementia patients, leading to the discovery of Alzheimer’s disease.

Seminar presenters said that while conditions have improved for Black academics, researchers, and practitioners in the psychiatry fields, obstacles remain. Branson pointed out Black people are underrepre I n one of many iconic photographs reflecting the life and work of world-renowned neurologist, pathologist, and educator Solomon Carter Fuller, MD, he is looking down at a glass slide, his microscope close at hand, focused on his task. The first Black psychiatrist in the United States, Fuller graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1897— 125 years ago. The grandson of enslaved people, he overcame obstacles of race with unwavering purpose throughout a 45-year career as a trailblazing scientist, academician, and consultant. Recognized by his peers for the rigorous scientific approach he brought to psychiatry, Fuller believed he could have achieved more—and risen higher—if not for the color of his skin.

Fuller never rose above associate professor in BUSM’s neurology department, despite serving as department chair from 1928 to 1933 though never given the official title. He resigned in 1933 after a white assistant professor with less experience was promoted to professor and department chair. He continued in psychiatric practice in Framing ham until his death in 1953. Upon his retirement, BUSM appointed Fuller professor emeritus of neurology.

Henderson acknowledged that while the University can’t fully cor rect the wrongs of 100 years ago, there’s been a significant effort to address them in the present day.

Henderson called Fuller a triple threat as a neurologist, pathologist, and psychiatrist who had an impact on psychiatrists and researchers practicing in those fields, regardless of their race.

One look, and Nolen could see that the sister she knew was gone.

A career businessperson, Nolen began to educate herself on the disease and quickly found she knew nothing about it, largely because it hadn’t been discussed in her family or community. She hadn’t even heard of Fuller or his Alzheimer’s research until she traveled to Europe and asked about the disease there.

“He had an amazing career, but it was also filled with the challenges of his time. These challenges persist, even in our times,” said David Henderson, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief at Boston Medical Center and professor and chair of psychiatry at BUSM.


“Some of the negative racial interactions in Fuller’s experience continue today in the Black experience in healthcare, and research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately impacts Black [people] and [other] people of color,” said Goldie Smith Byrd, PhD, director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and professor of social sci ences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “African Americans and Hispanic [people] . . . are more likely to have Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia . . . because we have greater familial [genetic] risk, we have more limited healthcare access, and later or no diagnosis,” Byrd said in the seminar’s keynote presentation. Other populations, like Native Americans and Asian Americans, are being studied but even less is known about them, she said.

Nolen was unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s before her mother summoned her home in 2002, saying, “Something is wrong with your sister.”

“This is an underrepresented community. Not that attempts haven’t been there, but they haven’t been able to influence people and rally to get things done,” Nolen said.

SUMMER 2022 | 9 sented in fields like neurology: the 2021 US Census estimated Black people or African Americans at 13.4 percent of the US population, but an American Academy of Neurology 2020 Insights Report showed Black people or African Americans comprise just 2.8 percent of the country’s neurologists, with their average salary nearly $20,000 less than their white or Asian American counterparts.

“We have a bias and disparity in terms of healthcare and access to healthcare [that] exists across the life course, [and] starts even before babies are born,” said Byrd. “As we age, those disparities get even larger.”Byrd believes the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the impact that lower income and decreased access to healthcare can mean to preven tion and treatment. That disparity exists on the research side as well, where African Americans and other groups are excluded from medical trials. This is partly because of their reluctance to participate due to the inherent distrust of medical research within the Black community, given past abuse like the Wake Forest eugenics and the Tuskegee syphilis studies, Byrd noted. She said researchers need to understand the culture of the group they are seeking to engage, and that her organization has been striving to rebuild trust in North Carolina Black communities by work ing with family units and through faith groups.

Henderson called Fuller a triple threat as a neurologist, pathologist, and psychiatrist who had an impact on psychiatrists and researchers practicing in those fields, regardless of their race.

IT’S PERSONAL Valerie Nolen, senior facilitator for the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s (BU ADRC) Community Action Council and a diver sity, equity, and inclusion partner with BUSM’s department of neurol ogy, knows all about communication and trust.

“When I was a youngster, I only knew my grandfather as Grandpa. We didn’t know of his accomplishments until later,” Fuller told the seminar. “It’s a proud day for the family that BU has recognized my grandfather.”

“Trustworthiness requires us to look at ourselves as providers, as researchers, as trialists, to see if we are making . . . the appropriate, cul turally relevant connections, as well as giving back to that community by communicating test results and support,” she said.

“[Fuller] was resilient and persistent as an academic clinician and as a pathologist and a scholar. And what really impressed me, amongst his many accomplishments, was his drive to succeed and to selfeducate,” said Christopher Andry, MPhil, PhD, chief of pathology & laboratory medicine at Boston Medical Center and chair of pathology & laboratory medicine at BUSM.

Since 1969 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has bestowed an award in Fuller’s name on a psychiatrist who has signifi cantly improved the quality of life for Black people. In 2007, Henderson received the APA Solomon Carter Fuller Award for his work in Africa and Asia training psychiatrists while also researching the roots of men tal health issues in ethnic US populations. In 1972, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts built the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center on the BU Medical Campus. His biographer, Mary Kaplan, spoke about a drive to have Fuller’s life documented at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. According to his grandson, John Fuller, his grandfather’s remark able achievements were somewhat overshadowed by those of his wife Meta, a well-known sculptor.

Josephs compares his rise from a community college in Miami to multiple degrees and a professorship at the Mayo Clinic to riding a wave.“Itis something about the inner motivation, wanting to climb this ladder, to be better and better,” he said. Reflecting on his career, Josephs described his approach as one of constant questioning and diligent pursuit of answers, whether in a classroom, a clinical set ting, or while doing research.


“I think when people hear about Alzheimer’s research, they think it’s all about taking a new drug or medicine, or that they have to have Alzheimer’s to participate,” said Andrew Budson, MD, professor of neurology and associate director for research at the BU ADRC. “Although we do have some research like that, there’s a lot of research going on that healthy older individuals can participate in, and a lot of it has no medicines at all.”

“There has been progress, but I think we have to take a leap here, we really have to take big, big steps,” he said. “Everybody has been trained on implicit bias now . . . yet we still have reports of bad actors and an unfriendly environment for people of color.”

“A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease will have a significant impact, not only on the individual diagnosed, but also their family unit,” said Lola Baird, a licensed independent social worker at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. Baird noted that the number of Black Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has more than dou bled since 1995, with more than 9 million expected to be afflicted by Baird’s2036. research showed that prejudicial housing policies grouped Black people in communities with higher crime rates, creating persistent long-term stress that contributes to Alzheim er’s in those “Understandingcommunities.theimpact of sustained or continuous exposure to trauma on later life outcomes is important as our population ages,” Baird said.


A panel discussion of the barriers facing Black psychiatrists, neu rologists, and pathologists found that although nearly 90 years had passed since Fuller resigned after being passed over for promotion, desire and talent were not enough to overcome every barrier.

Royisha Young, research coordinator at the BU ADRC, said the center was established in 1996 and is one of 37 federally funded Alzheimer’s disease research centers located around the country. Its mission is to reduce the human and economic costs of the dis ease through research, care, and education.

“These help us to learn about how brain images can provide more information about diagnosing and detecting Alzheimer’s dis ease early on, when treatments are most effective,” said Young.

Josephs meticulously researched Primary Progressive Apraxia of Speech, a condition with symptoms—including slow speaking rate, articulatory distortions, and sound substitutions—also found in other, more studied, syndromes. Patients often lose the use of their limbs and die within a decade of onset.

Steven Starks, MD, clinical assistant professor at the University of Houston College of Medicine, views Fuller’s story as one of opti mism in the face of challenge, but also believes that the obstacles Fuller faced over promotion, pay equity, and opportunity in research and other areas still exist.

10 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS NEWS Joining BU ADRC in 2005, she made it her mission to educate the Black community on the importance of participating in trials, and getting tested for Alzheimer’s.

Speaking as a panel member discussing the challenges and opportunities facing Black people seeking promotion in academia, Henderson pointed out that while a lot had been done in the past 90 years, there was yet a lot more to do.

Altha Stewart, MD, another recipient of the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Award and a senior associate dean for community health engagement and associate professor of psychiatry at the Univer sity of Tennessee, said, “Change cannot come just from the Black community or other people of color. I think to be more welcom ing, everybody’s got to carry their load. No one should expect that people of color, especially Black people, need to paint the picture of what the next step is you need to do.”

“[We] give numerous educational talks in the community encouraging brain health and healthy lifestyles,” she said. Center staff also recruit people from the community to participate in vari ous research trials they are conducting, like genetic studies, care giver research, and imaging.

“Inclusivity is super important for underrepresented groups, and I think as you change the culture and start really moving these inclusivity initiatives forward, you’ll find that there are many people that feel this way,” said Monteith.

“We know there are a lot of challenges,” said panel moderator Michelle Durham, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and vice chair of education in the BUSM department of psychiatry.

“I’m actually pleased to see that the environment is changing in some ways and that there’s an effort and a desire [to talk] about inclusivity. It’s hopefully, for most people, a genuine thing,” said Teshamae Monteith, MD, associate professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“I think the list is long with opportunities to make this better. There are many more ways to improve the system for Black people and people of color on the academic side, the healthcare side, and for society as a whole,” said Durham. “We need everybody on this journey for equity in all institutions.” n

“Dr. Fuller’s life and legacy actually mirrors mine,” said Keith Josephs, MD, professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic. Like Dr. Fuller, Josephs came to the US from another country— in his case, Jamaica—to pursue his education. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Florida, an MD from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and a second master’s in clini cal and translational research.

“I think many Black psychiatrists today continue to struggle with our place in American psychiatry and our role,” said Starks.

A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING Fuller’s legacy includes his dogged work to get problems solved and his love of learning.

her family to Massachusetts 20 years ago.

W hen Tania Lopez was eight, she spent long days in the hospital on dialysis the year before the kidney transplant that saved her life. Lopez, now 28 and a first-year student at Boston University’s School of Public Health, says that drawing made those days bearable.

In the past five years, her artwork has taken an unusual, but understandable, turn: she draws kidneys and other human organs. She starts out with pencil, follows up with bold lines from a black marker, then fills in the design with colored markers andHerpencils.creative organ illustrations were on display alongside the artwork of other Medical Campus students, faculty, and staff at Art Days, a two-day celebration of the conversation between right and left brain. Now 32 years old, this year’s event took place February 22–23. The creative arts are integral to the life of many on the Medi cal Campus, either as a way to decompress, a distraction, or an appreciation of the world beyond classrooms, offices, and labs that can lead to self-awareness and expression.

“It can be a stress reliever, or they may just have the urge to create something. Some have been doing it a long time,” said Keith Tornheim, PhD, an associate professor of biochemistry who has served as Art Days faculty advisor for 19 years. Back in 1967, Tornheim was an undergraduate chemistry major, missing his girlfriend (now his wife) who was spending a study year in France. He wrote some poems and ended up one Tania Lopez with some of her lovely and unusual artwork.

SUMMER 2022 | 11

“All you can do is draw, and it helped me to get through that [time],” recalls Lopez, who was born in Mexico and moved with

Art Days 2022: A Celebration of the LeftbetweenConversationRightandBrain

Yin sees a parallel between her art life and a future in internal medicine, possibly oncology.

of five winners in a university poetry contest. Since then, he’s pub lished five books of poetry. One of his poem cycles was part of a collaboration with choreographer Wendy Jehlen in her creation of “Lilith,” a solo dance performance that played at the Boston Center for the Arts last December. The stereotype of scientists and doctors as rigid and eschewing creativity does not ring true to second-year medical student Jie Yin.

“Yes, scientists do have to follow protocols, but if that line of thinking does not bear fruit, they still must come up with some thing else,” she argues. Painting, she says, helps give her the open mind with which to approach a problem from a new direction.

“I couldn’t verbalize where my brain is going. It’s on its own track,” says Corkey, professor emeritus of medicine and bio chemistry. “We all need to have multiple lives we go in and out of. Stepping away from science is very important.”

Submission from Ann McKee, MD, William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor of Neurology & Pathology and director, CTE Center.

Selections submitted by Jade Nortey, MPH candidate, Health Policy & Law.

12 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS NEWS

“Art is a way you handle people’s emotions. It’s a fluidity in mixing colors and water. As a future physician, I never know who will show up in a clinic. It’s difficult to control the flow of water. It’s unpredictable, in the way you could encounter a patient who might have a different story,” she says.

Born in Shanghai, China, Yin moved to Reno, Nevada, when she was 17. She grew up as a self-taught, occasional painter. Her interest sharpened when, as a post-bachelor’s degree researcher at the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Insti tute, she searched for something fulfilling to do in her downtime.

Barbara Corkey, PhD, understands that sentiment; she has no plan or color scheme when she sits down to paint.

“Watching television and reading books left me empty inside,” Yin says. She yearned to experience the creative mind that provoked the emotions she felt in the shapes and colors in the abstract paintings she’d seen at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her interest evolved from abstract art to impressionism, which led naturally to Van Gogh and her painting in the Art Days exhibit, a rendering of his masterwork The Starry Night, a fiction alized view from his asylum window in Saint Remy, France. She describes being touched by the movement and kinetic energy of sky, clouds, and trees. “That’s why I’m interested in watercolors, because water is so fluid,” Yin explains. With watercolors, she could pursue her goal of capturing a fleeting moment in time.

Perkins, who received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, was selected for his strong academic performance, firm com mitment to primary care, and service to underserved communities. His career plans include pursuing primary care and preventive medicine, and also the subspecialty areas of dermatology, psychiatry, and critical care.

served communities after graduation. Perkins is the first Boston University student to receive this honor.

Sculpture by Ashley Davidoff, BUSM clinical professor of radiology.

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“I always felt it [a medical education] should be broad. Physi cians should not be narrow in their life goals,” says Chobanian. “I urged them to be involved in other things.”

As a faculty member and dean, he saw that many physicians had musical backgrounds, which helped inform his decision 32 years ago to start Art Days.

NHSC’s mission is to connect primary healthcare clinicians to those with limited access to healthcare in the United States. They offer scholarships to students—including dentists, physician assistants, medical students, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives—who are pursuing primary care health professions training. Once selected, scholars serve a minimum of two years after graduating at an NHSC-approved site providing primary healthcare to underserved communities. Scholars receive up to four years of full financial support in their professional training degree program. n

PA Student Receives National Health Service Corps Award

Originally from Missouri, Perkins spent most of his earlier years on a farm and says it “was outside of his comfort zone to move to such a different environment” when he came to Boston and BUSM. During his free time, he enjoys hiking outdoors and recently returned from a trip to Tanzania, where he summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. His upbringing allowed him to see firsthand the impor tance of healthcare access and how social determinants of health can influence healthcare outcomes among populations of various socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds. “Particularly in underserved communities and rural areas, the lack of appropriate resources and access to care can influence various preventative health measures and chronic disease management,” he says.

As an undergraduate, Corkey was torn between majoring in chemistry or art. After six decades as a scientist, she sees the creative thinking process and meticulous lab work as a partner ship. There’s no sense in being a creative thinker, she says, if you’re not getting the work done. “If you don’t get both, you don’t have anything.”

S providesionalcaredentsbestowedCorpsNationalkinsstudentassistantphysicianecond-year(PA)RandallPerhasreceivedtheHealthService(NHSC)Award,uponstupursuingprimaryhealthprofestrainingwhowillcaretounder

He credits his late wife Jasmine, a portrait painter educated at Brown University and the Boston Museum School, for helping to keep the tradition going, and is very proud that his granddaugh ter, a fourth-year medical student, featured her art in this event. A widower since 2014, Chobanian says the creative arts have meant a lot to him in retirement and many others coping with isolation and despair brought on by the pandemic.

Music was the entry point into the creative mind for BU President Emeritus Aram Chobanian, MD. A world-renowned cardiologist known for establishing the connection between hypertension and vascular disease, initially he favored music over medicine.“AsIwent along in life, I liked [music] more and more,” he says. He took cello lessons, and in retirement has been compos ing, aided by full orchestration software that can reproduce the various instruments playing his notes.

“I expected to be moved by raw emotions from ‘real’ patients,” said Chan, who will do a psychiatry residency at NYU. Rather than conferring with patients in group therapy, she read patient vignettes in lectures and on exams, and often found herself struggling to say the right thing or stumbling over simple tasks in clinical rotation.

But Chan said she had a positive experience in unexpected ways, such as the feeling of accomplishment after successfully commu nicating medical science to a patient; discovering a benign heart murmur in a two-month-old baby; realizing the therapeutic value of psychiatric commitment for a drug-addicted homeless patient; analyzing the blood smear under a microscope that revealed irondeficiency anemia; and witnessing a dementia patient’s determi nation and love when he couldn’t recall his wife’s given name but poignantly called her by a nickname only they knew.

Chan acknowledged that she learned to accept the moments of powerlessness that came with the job and that there’s a fine line between the desire to help patients and turning that drive into a per sonal story of success or failure: “Being a doctor was supposed to be about being a hero, but instead it’s about being a supportive role in the patient’s story. Our proudest moment as doctors won’t be some thing we do . . . but will be the day our patients no longer need us and can be on their own again.”

BUSM conferred 164 medical degrees, including 10 combined degrees: five MD/PhDs, one MD/MPH, and four MD/MBAs. The class included 16 cum laude, six magna cum laude, and two summa cum laude graduates, William Palmer and Brando Salussolia.



Led by Lean Yuan, the Class of 2022 processes into the MD and PhD convocation ceremony.

In a delightful moment, BU President Emeritus Aram Chobanian, MD, hooded his granddaughter Vanessa Torrice as she received her“ItMD.was a very moving experience for me,” Chobanian said. “I never thought I would make it to the day when a granddaughter actually became a physician.”

“The postpandemic world that we all long for is starting to take form,” said Jeffrey Kuniholm, the PhD student speaker who received his degree in microbiology with a focus on immunology and infectious diseases, noting that now, more than knowledge was“Overnecessary.thepast two years, we have seen that just being smart, or even being right, is not always enough to create positive change in the world,” Kuniholm said. “Hard science and facts are not always enough to change minds. Being effective science communicators matters more now than ever before. The worth of [our] education will be measured by our actions, and in our words.”

14 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS WNEWS

MD student speaker Tiffany Chan told her assembled classmates that the medical school experience she imagined was quite different from the one she actually experienced.

Convocation speaker Nahid Bhadelia, MD, founding director of the BU Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research and associate professor of medicine/infectious diseases, said, “You have taken your experience over the last two years and turned it into a tes tament of your will, intellect, flexibility, and heart. You helped conduct critical science to combat this pandemic. And when the fault lines that already exist in our society were magnified during this crisis, dispro portionately affecting some of our communities, you spoke up.

Class of

hen MD and PhD graduating students, along with families and friends, gathered May 19 at Boston University’s Track & Tennis Center, it marked the first in-person BUSM convocation ceremony since 2019. While an occasion for celebration and joyful tears, it also was an opportunity to reflect on the experience of pursuing a lifelong dream in the midst of a global pandemic, and the life lessons learned along the way.

Seventeen candidates received PhDs in their respective specialties.

“Today you are graduating at perhaps the most medically chal lenging time in the last century,” BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, told the class, noting a number of escalating world crises along with the human toll of a pandemic that tested healthcare systems and personnel. “We hope that you will be the leaders in solving these problems.”



SUMMER 2022 | 15

C. James McKnight, PhD, associate provost and GMS dean, addresses those gathered for the MD and PhD ceremony.

BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, begins the convocation ceremony.

Brando Salussolia, Henrich Pinardo, and Jonathan Park. Sabree Parnell, Nirisha Commodore, and Korede Yoloye.

“As you enter a world of new challenges, go forth knowing that no matter what it throws at you, you have already proven your mettle,” Bhadelia continued.

Andrew Klufas and Manuel Gonzalez. Faizah Shareef hugs a classmate.

“My hope for you is that no matter what you choose to do with the rest of your life, you remember these last couple of years and the lessons they have brought to the forefront. Be an advocate for change. Be a force for good. I wish for you a lifetime of resonance and the feeling of being alive in your personal life and work through discovery, through advocacy, through finding your own purpose. Continue to be the most interesting and extraordinary class this school has ever graduated.”

The first GMS commencement since 2019 to be celebrated in person after COVID-19 preventive measures mandated virtual ceremonies in 2020 and 2021, it also marked the first time the Physician Assistant Program graduates—who usually hold a separate convocation later in the“Youryear—participated.classwillalways

have a unique perspective,” said C. James McKnight, PhD, associate provost and GMS dean. “Some of you were locked out of your research labs for months, then only allowed back in shifts and small groups. Some of you were unable to do in-person clinical rotations for several months. But your class made a difference to GMS by your patience, perseverance, and resiliency in meeting this challenge.

One of three student-chosen speakers, Christian Arbelaez said the obstacles presented by COVID-19 also created opportunities to forge stronger bonds with his classmates.

16 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS NEWS

“These experiences, in the moments when we could truly see each other not just as classmates, but as companions on the journey we are embarking on together, helped to strengthen our commitments to serving others in medicine,” said Arbelaez, a Boston-area native who received his MS in medical sciences and is next headed to BUSM. “Take chances, believe in yourselves, and make connections based on your passions. By doing this, I know that we will all find fulfillment, GMS Class of 2022: Making a Difference through Patience, Perseverance, and Resilience

“We have learned to deal with the pandemic better, and your careers will be influenced by your experience. The faculty are confident that you have the will, the courage, and the tools necessary to make a difference to all of our Paraphrasingfutures.”Winston Churchill, Antman said that for the class, graduation marked the end of the beginning of their education. “The diploma you get today is a credential that grants you entry to the next stage of your life. The faculty have great confidence in your creativity, resilience, collaboration, and commitment. These skills have served you well through your education in the time of COVID and will serve you well in your career.”

T he annual commencement ceremony is one of the most joyous events of academic life, BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, told the Graduate Medical Sciences Master’s (GMS) Class of 2022 as 318 master’s degree candidates gathered with their families and friends at the BU Track & Tennis Center on May 19.

From left, Ava Shirzadeh, Daisy Nuñez-Gil, Saba Farahani, Gabriella Raspall, Chance Johnson, Ngozi Ibe, Malieka Rehman, Sarah Al-Mayahi, Sarah Herbsman, Ryan Kapopoulos, John Asidera, Gabriel Chavez, Bakey Kouanda, Jonathan Clerveaux, Emily Hoffman, Isha Aggarwal, Ryann Shadick and Sarah Mozdzierz celebrate after the ceremony.

“As I stand here at this graduation ceremony . . . I know I have made 13year-old Beth proud,” Wade said. “And I hope that is how you all feel, too . . . I hope that this accomplishment has put you on the path to your dreams.” n

Faculty Marshal Gwynneth Offner, PhD, leads the platform party from the ceremony, which included BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) C. James McKnight, PhD, and GMS Assistant Dean for Operations Gregory A. Viglianti, PhD.

Back row from left, Cameron Hurlburt, Darren Ty, Rhiannon Robinson, Natalie Camp bell, Sydney Mosaheb, (front row, from left) Anastasia Filimonov, Nadia Rukavina, Emily Lai, and Paola Castro Mendoza gather before the ceremony.

SUMMER 2022 | 17 succeed in our professional careers, and make a difference to everyone aroundMcKnightus.”

The Class of 2022 processes from the convocation ceremony to the reception.

Referring to her first few months in the PA program spent in her apartment with groceries delivered, classes online, and a social life lim ited to FaceTiming friends and family back on Long Island, New York, she recalled, “My classmates and I made the most of the hand we were dealt and still managed to form unbreakable bonds and lifelong friendships. Can we put ‘being flexible’ on our résumés?”

“I have watched this class grow and learn not only the science but the importance of compassion, dignity, and health equity,” McNeil said.

introduced student speaker Kara McNeil, Physician Assis tant Program class president, citing her leadership in fostering a commu nity of learners known for their enthusiasm and volunteerism.

The onset of the pandemic inspired Biomedical Forensic Sciences pro gram student speaker Elizabeth Wade to pursue a childhood dream of a career as a forensic scientist.

From left, Sydney Mosaheb, Rhiannon Robinson, Nadia Rukavina, and Darren Ty.

From left, Talal Hamza, Roviel Arquiza, Natalie Asemi, Parmida Pourmandi, Adam Hoch, Hunter Kelley, Andrew Looka, Dalton Canonico, and Taylor Jazrawi gather before the ceremony begins.

“One cannot rewind the clock,” she said, suggesting rather that they learn from the experience and move forward. As faculty student advisors assisted students with their coats, joyful cheers erupted, showing how much the day’s

In August 2020, entering students received white coats in the mail embroidered with their names, which they donned in rela tive isolation, either alone on a video screen or with assistance from a parent, partner, or friend who tugged the coat into place for the camera.

The Class of 2024 dons their white coats at their in-person ceremony.

gotten a lot of wear and tear, but it still holds everything you need,” said Jackson.

After Delay,Two-YeartheClass of 2024 Celebrates with In-Person White Coat Ceremony

18 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS NEWS


Seren was participating in his first in-person White Coat Cer emony, albeit two years after he began his medical education as a first-year student. A symbolic rite of passage, the White Coat Ceremony marks a vital first step for medical students as they pledge their commitment to their profession and to the trust they must earn from their patients. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 ceremony was a virtual event.

“We all went through a lot of trials and tribulations to get into medical school and to have that moment where you can celebrate that achievement. I felt we really didn’t get that moment when you can say, ‘Wow, I did it,’” Seren said, casting an appreciative eye at the crowded tent. “But this makes up forWhenit.” she received her mailed coat in August of 2020, thirdyear student Bailie Jackson of Dallas felt that it meant she had arrived.“Allof our lives we dreamed of being in medical school and being a doctor, and this white coat signified that first step,” she said. After nearly two years in classrooms, hospitals, and clinics, her white coat was broken in, a bit rumpled, and sporting a stain or “It’stwo.

n May 2, 2022, Alex Seren stood in a whirlwind of activity under a large white tent on Talbot Green. His fellow third-year medical students greeted their families, friends, and one another amid the din of highspirited conversations and flash of cellphone cameras.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Jackson, MD, advised students not to dwell on past disappointments.

The Class of 2024 processes into their White Coat Ceremony, which was delayed two years due to the pandemic.

SUMMER 2022 | 19 ceremony meant to the assembled students and their loved ones, even two years later.

“It was really special for us to be able to meet together and say the Hippocratic Oath to remind us of the career we’re embarking on,” said third-year medical student Sara Shoushtari of San BUMCDiego.Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, noted that Monday was just the second time the class had gathered, the other occasion being for an ice cream social at the beginning of their second year.

“Your unique experiences in medicine, which you certainly did not anticipate when you applied to medical school, required cre ativity, adaptability, and commitment—all traits that will undoubt edly make you better physicians,” Antman concluded. n

Guest speaker Jessie Gaeta, MD, assistant professor of medi cine and chief medical officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, said the white coat “with its crisp outline and square shoulders; the bright bold patches on the sleeves” represented seriousness, solemnity, knowledge, and expertise, especially to the suffering patient.

The ceremony was timed to mark another key transition, the beginning of the third year, when studies transition to clinical rotations. Antman cautioned students that they would experience some unsettling cases that could deeply affect them.“The faculty worry if students don’t react to what they see in their transition from student to physician,” she said.

“The coat even resembled, to my young eye, a superhero cape,” she said. Gaeta challenged the students, who will now spend most of their time with patients, to overcome the images of doc tor privilege, paternalism, and racism that the coat has also come to represent in the eyes of the underserved and the homeless.

BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, addresses the class. Students recite the Hippocratic Oath for the first time as they prepare to start their clinical rotations.

DNA sequencing results of TERTp mutations were not finalized in time to be included in his thesis, but Cello continues research at the Bi Lab to be reported in future publications.


20 Boston University School of Medicine CAMPUS WNEWS

Born into a military family in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cello completed his childhood education in upstate New York before pursuing a BS in biology from Providence College (PC) in Rhode Island. At PC, Cello was a full-time ROTC scholarship cadet and an NCAA Division I varsity swimmer for the Friars. His father, a dentist, and his great-uncle, an MD, both attended Providence and served in the military, too. Cello’s ROTC scholarship required him to serve full time for four years as an army officer upon graduation, but he chose to serve for almost nine years, a decision known as “doing your fullHiseight.”military service brought him across the country and the world, from Fort Lewis in Seattle, to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From there, he deployed to Afghanistan for nine months before spending his remaining three years at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia.

In 2016, Cello’s mother-in-law was treated for a glioblastoma at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She ultimately succumbed to the tumor. In an email, Cello wrote, “I spent several weeks of leave while in the army in that hospital while she was being treated, and it had such an emotional impact on me that I determined that the best place to begin my journey into medicine was right where it began.”

Today, Cello works as a graduate research student and clinical research coordinator under Dr. Linda Bi’s skull-base tumor lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a position in which he plans to continue after graduation.

Greg Cello


hether it’s for his family, his soldiers, or his future patients, service to others is the fabric of Greg Cello’sThatlife.dedication to service is ultimately what drew the May 2022 MS in Medical Sciences (MAMS) program graduate to Boston University two years ago.

Cello credits his BU advisors, the perseverance he developed in the service, and his family for helping him overcome the challenges he faced upon returning to school.

By the time he completed his service in 2019, Cello had advanced from leading a platoon of 30 soldiers to taking charge of almost 250 people, supporting 30 organizations and 3,500 soldiers worldwide, and managing a $55 million asset account and a $5 million annual operating budget. His ultimate goal in the military was always to command a company.

Cello’s leadership prowess and dedication to his community continued upon his return to civilian life. His years as a commander building relationships with his soldiers, several of whom had significant medical issues, and a particularly emotional experience for his family reinforced his passion to pursue medicine once his military service ended.

His graduate thesis highlighted his work at the Bi Lab, focusing on identifying high-risk meningiomas: tumors that are more likely to occur early, with higher potential of malignancy. Cello explored telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter (TERTp) mutations and the loss of trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone 3 (H3K27me3), both of which have been associated with more aggressive meningiomas.

GMS Student Spotlight:

Following rigorous months of systematic review and metaanalysis, Cello confirmed that H3K27me3 trimethylation loss was linked to a worse prognosis, particularly in lower-grade meningiomas, with an increased chance of early recurrence and aggressiveness. However, the immunohistochemical technique for identifying H3K27me3 loss varies per institution, and must be standardized before it can be deemed a trustworthy biomarker.

Starting in his second year at BU, Cello worked alongside center director Glenn Markenson, MD, to promote the University in supporting military members and encouraging them to consider BU for their continued education.

The Center for Military Health works to improve the health of veterans and service members in the BU community through research, clinical innovation, and military medical programming.

Cello credits his BU advisors, the perseverance he developed in the service, and his family for helping him overcome the challenges he faced upon returning to school. Cello and his wife of almost six years, who works full time to support their family, have two children, a daughter born at the beginning of Cello’s first semester in MAMS and a son born at the beginning of his second academic year. Of his wife, Cello said, “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.”

He values his experiences in the last two years in the MAMS program, including overcoming challenges, finding academic success, and working to build strong communities of fellow students and veterans. As rigorous as the time was, he found it fulfilling to discover just how far he could push himself, ultimately realizing that he could pursue his dream. What he’s learned up to this point—in the military, in the classroom, in the lab, and in service—will shape a medical career built on compassion, understanding, and humility.

“The doctors I worked with really drew me to aligning with how special that is, to help someone regain their bodily functions,” Cello said. “It brings to light the quality of life that you can lose when you lose the ability to do things you love.”


For Cello, whose military background is atypical compared to most graduate students in his program, finding that community presented another major challenge. He describes feeling isolated, especially when he couldn’t meet with others in person during the pandemic.Cello’sadvisor,

Cello has also served as the physiology tutor coordinator throughout his second year in MAMS, where he works with J. Fernando Garcia-Diaz, PhD, to place first-year MAMS students with second-year MAMS students for tutoring. This has allowed Cello to offer first-year students advice and mentoring services while connecting with his fellow secondyear classmates.

Tackling graduate school after 10 years away from college was no small feat for Cello and brought with it a host of challenges, several physical ailments brought on from years of military service among them. An avid athlete, Cello found it difficult to perform several activities he enjoyed, like swimming, running, lifting, and hiking. Balancing treatment for these ailments with his schoolwork and family life was time-consuming and began to take a toll on his mental and emotional health.

WHAT’S NEXT? Following Commencement, Cello will continue his work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and shadow physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center, the same physicians who helped him restore his own physical faculties upon leaving the military. Most important, he’ll spend the next year gaining valuable time back with his family before he kicks off his journey to medical school.While Cello has plans to apply to medical schools this year, he already has one in mind. “Boston University would be wonderful,” he says. “I’d love to stay here and continue to build upon what I’ve already started.”

Long before Cello’s thesis had ever crossed his mind, he had to decide where to continue his education. Ultimately, the rich history of the MAMS program and its affiliation with Boston Medical Center and the BU Center for Military Health decided for him.

Cello worked alongside physical medicine and rehabilitation clinicians at VA Boston Healthcare’s Jamaica Plain Medical Center to restore his physical faculties. His time there inspired him to consider pursuing physical medicine and rehabilitation in his future medical school career.


There is another important side to graduate school that extends far beyond the classroom and the lab: it offers a strong community of students and mentors.

Vickery Trinkaus-Randall, PhD, connected him with other veterans in the MAMS program to help him build that network at the beginning of his studies. TrinkausRandall, who describes Cello as a natural leader with a real drive for learning, says, “He’s one that really wants to give back to the That’scommunity.”whatinspired Cello to take on a mentorship role in the Military-Affiliated and Veteran Students (gMAV) network through the C3 Community Catalyst Center at GMS, which promotes a deeper sense of belonging and recognition for these individuals by providing resources and hosting events and workshops.

Knowing how difficult it can be to connect with others as a member of a unique community, Cello immediately seized the opportunity to help his classmates ease the transition to graduate school. Through gMAV and the Center for Military Health, he has worked alongside Markenson and the Physician Assistant Program’s Associate Director of Didactic Education Dan Tzizik, both of whom Cello describes as “phenomenal people, leaders, and“Imentors.”think[the C3 Center] does a wonderful job,” he says. “I think that once we continue to move beyond this pandemic, it’s really going to flourish.”

To incoming students, especially those with similar experiences and backgrounds, he says, “To come through it to this point was rewarding. I think that if anyone’s that passionate about going after something medicine-wise, and they come from somewhere so different . . . it’s entirely possible.” n

SUMMER 2022 | 21

Appointments, Honors & Awards

22 Boston University School of Medicine combine the high-tech skills of cuttingedge medicine with the high-touch skills of effective communication, empathy, and compassion.Anassistant professor of medicine who has served on the faculty since 2013, Ko is codirector of the Breast Cancer Program as well as a medical oncologist at Boston Medical Center specializing in the care of breast cancer patients. According to a colleague, Ko is an astute and compas sionate clinician with high expectations of her trainees. “She taught me that cor recting a patient’s kidney function or deescalating antibiotics was only a part of my job, teaching me to always see beyond a patient’s problem list. She reminded me to honor the whole patient the way that I would want my own mother or son to be honored.”Esteemed by her colleagues, patients, and medical students alike, Ko embodies the empathetic caregiver and approaches teaching with sensitivity and openness. mission to ensure we always care for those we ask to go in harm’s way,” Woodson said.

From 2010 to 2016, Woodson was assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and director of the Tricare Man agement Activity in the United States Department of Defense (DoD). He was the principal advisor to the secretary of defense for all health and force health protection-related issues and ensured the effective execution of the DoD medical mission.Before his appointment to the DoD by President Barack Obama in 2010, he was professor of surgery and associate dean for diversity and multicultural affairs, and senior attending vascular surgeon at WoodsonBUSM. holds the rank of Major Gen eral, United States Army Reserve, and is Commander of the United States Army Reserve Medical Command in Pinellas Park, Fla. n Naomi Y. Ko, MD, MPH, Receives Leon ard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Naomi Y. Ko, MD, MPH, has received the Leonard Tow Human ism in Award,Medicinepresented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to faculty who best demonstrate the foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care; respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues; and clinical excellence.

Woodson is the Lars Anderson Pro fessor in Management and professor of the practice at BU’s Questrom School of Business and holds joint appointments as professor of surgery at the School of Medicine and professor of health law, policy & management at the School of Public Health. He also established and led the University-wide Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy.

As USU president, Woodson will be responsible for the university’s academic, research, and service mission, which includes more than 2,500 students from the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine and its associated graduate programs in the biomedical sciences and public health; the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing; and the university’s Postgradu ate Dental College and College of Allied Health Sciences. The university has more than 11,500 alumni, many of whom serve the nation as uniformed health provid ers or civilian scientists. Woodson will also oversee more than 15 research cen ters and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute.

Jonathan Woodson, MD, Named President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Jonathan Woodson, MD, was named the next president of the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences, assuming leadership of the school on June 21.

“I am honored and excited to become the seventh USU president. I want to thank the Secretary of Defense for this vote of confidence, and I look forward to working with the talented USU commu nity to build on its accomplishments of the past and chart a great future. Prepar ing the health and medical research lead ers needed for the Military Health System and the nation is an extremely important Esteemed by her teachingthepatients,colleagues,andmedicalstudentsalike,Koembodiesempatheticcaregiverandapproacheswithsensitivityandopenness.

A public, nonprofit organization founded by Arnold and Sandra Gold, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation perpetu ates the tradition of the caring doctor by emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the patient. The foundation helps phy sicians-in-training become doctors who


MacNeil received her degree in physical therapy, summa cum laude, from North eastern University, Boston. Her clinical experience was in neuro-rehabilitation, primarily with traumatic brain injury and pediatrics. She came to BUSM as a stu dent in 2004 and based on her interest

BUSM EducatorsNamesofthe Year The BUSM Awards Committee has honored four faculty members as 2022 Educators of the Year. With nominees selected by students and faculty, the annual awards recognize BUSM educators who provide excellence in teaching and mentoring. & neurobiology, has been recognized with the Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in EstablishedTeaching.inrecognition of the excep tional teaching and devotion to his students exemplified by Stanley L. Robbins, MD, former professor and chair of pathology, the annual award honors an outstanding educator who demonstrates the impor tance of teaching and a commitment to students and to education. It is BUSM’s highest teaching honor.


“Professor MacNeil is a valued member of our educator community,” a colleague said in praise. “She does not draw atten tion to herself or her work, and it is only through working with her for so many years that I have come to understand the scope and quality of her efforts. She is an unsung hero of BUSM and it is beyond time that she is recognized as the truly exceptional educator that she is.” Her work ethic is described as second to none, with consistently high teaching evaluations with many comments such as:

With a lifelong passion for social jus tice, Ko participated in Teach for America followed by volunteer service at the Berkeley Free Clinic after completing her undergraduate degree. She then attended the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Public Health, where she received both her MD and MPH degrees with a focus on epidemiology and bio statistics, to perform health outcomes research for vulnerable populations. After an internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, she performed her fellowship in hematology/oncology at BUSM, which allowed her to specialize in oncology while conducting research in the context of caring for an underserved population within a large safety-net institution. She has consistently sought out meaning ful projects that reflect her passion for oncology, service to the underserved, and academic research.

“This material was pretty challeng ing but professor MacNeil did a nice job establishing continuity with what she had taught previously and distilling things down to the key concepts. Her syllabi are always helpful and well-written.”

“She is so warm and kind, her lectures are clear and concise. Embryology is so hard to understand and she really tried to make it approachable. I appreciate the repetition because it reinforced the topic.”

“I love the level of detail and the care fulness put into these lectures. They give wonderful examples with great videos, and I can always tell that so much thought has gone into them.”

SUMMER 2022 | 23

A nurse and coworker said, “Dr. Ko is the only person who works twice as hard to drop all expectations that her title will automatically gain the trust of her patients. She works for that trust at each encounter in person, during telephone calls, and via messages.”

“ProfessorMacNeilis a valued member of our incolleaguecommunity,”educatorasaidpraise.

The translational focus of her research aims to understand the disconnect between scientific discoveries in can cer treatment and optimal delivery of evidence-based treatment to vulnerable, racial/ethnic minority women with breast cancer. She is investigating how tumor biol ogy, poverty, communication, and medical mistrust influence breast cancer outcomes in diverse breast cancer populations.

n Maryann MacNeil, MA, Receives 2022 Stanley L. Robbins Award Maryann MacNeil, MA, professorassistantofanatomy in anatomy and particularly in research related to the neural response to aging, joined the anatomy and neurobiology department. Her research was in sleep physiology, specifically comparing cir cadian rhythms in young versus aged populations. After completing her Master of Arts degree in 2006, she was offered a faculty position in the department. She completed her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership Management in 2019. Much of her time is spent teaching and working with students. She covers the topics of gross anatomy, medical histol ogy, and medical embryology in courses taught to medical, dental, and graduate medical sciences students.

FACULTY NEWS Appointments, Honors & Awards

Brodeur earned a Master of Forensic Sciences from the George Washington University before gaining forensic case work experience in the areas of mito chondrial DNA and STR analysis. Before joining BUSM, she conducted casework in the criminalistics section of the Boston Police Department Crime Laboratory, which included biological and trace evi dence screening, gunshot residue testing, general evidence examination, and crimescene processing. Her current research focuses on optimizing presumptive bio logical testing and the detection and col lection of evidentiary material from crime scenes.Anominator lauded her dedication.

As assistant dean for research, Layne is dedicated to facilitating, monitoring, and evaluating research experiences for medical students with the goal of expanding and enhancing student research opportunities at the school. Among other enthu siastic recommenda tions, one of Layne’s nominators said, “He epitomizes the mis sion of the award in that he certainly goes above and beyond This year’s honorees are Omar Siddiqi, MD, Pre-Clinical Educator of the Year; Tejal Brahmbhatt, MD, Clinical Educator of the Year; Amy N. Brodeur, MFS, Educa tor of the Year in MA/MS Programs; and Matthew D. Layne, PhD, Educator of the Year in PhD Programs.


Brahmbhatt is an assistant professor of surgery, an acute care and trauma surgeon, and surgical intensiv ist at Boston Medical Center. He earned his MD from Windsor Uni versity School of Medi cine in St. Kitts, West

Siddiqi is an assistant professor of medicine in cardiovascular medicine, pro gram director of the Cardiovascular Medi cine Fellowship Program, and codirector of the cardiovascular module of the BUSM Diseases and Therapies (DRx) course. He earned his MD at Washington University School of Medicine and completed a resi dency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at Boston Medical Center. As director of the cardiology fellowship curriculum, he is credited with developing an academic half-day for cardiovascular medicine fel lows and developing an echocardiography curriculum utilizing the CAE ultrasound, efforts for which he was recognized with two Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Faculty Teaching Awards in 2015 and 2018. His research in medical education includes the development of simulationbased curricula and the integration of team-based learning in teaching electro cardiograms; clinical interests include car diac amyloidosis and echocardiography. He is an attending cardiologist in the BU Amyloidosis Center. According to Siddiqi’s nominators, “He was able to present very difficult top ics in a fun and interesting way through group discussions incorporating reallife examples. The examples presented allowed students to think critically about the information we were learning, making the course even more relevant. He was also very open to feedback throughout the course and made changes accordingly.”

“Professor Brodeur teaches us in a way that feels protective. She is always avail able to talk over assignments, quizzes, and exams, and she reminds us of this frequently. It is very clear during her lectures that she is an expert in her field.

24 Boston University School of Medicine Indies, spent his residency in general sur gery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and completed a fellowship in traumatology, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Phila delphia. His research interests include trauma and emergency surgery resource appropriation in an environment of dwin dling resource allocation and surgical education.Hisnominators said, “He is a true champion and advocate of his students and residents. He is an outstanding edu cator and mentor and a strong supporter of women going into surgery.”

Brodeur is an assistant professor of anatomy of neurobi ology and associate director of the Biomed ical Forensic Sciences (BMFS) program, coor dinating classes and supervising research projects in the areas of crime scene investiga tion, forensic biology, physical evidence comparison, and bloodstain pattern investigation. She also administers and maintains the forensic biology labora tory, oversees the admissions committee, and is responsible for ensuring the BMFS program continues to meet the standards required to maintain accreditation.

Professor Brodeur often has to cold-call us in class because we tend to be a little quiet; this is a terrifying feature in a professor, but with her it feels more like she is boosting our confidence. Very few professors have this talent and it makes her constructive criticism all the more valuable.”Layneis an associate professor of bio chemistry and earned his PhD at BUSM. His laboratory focuses on identifying novel pathways that control extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and assembly as they relate to fibroproliferative and con nective tissue diseases. Fibroproliferative responses are similar to wound-healing processes involving accumulation of con tractile myofibroblasts and ECM secre tion and assembly.

One of


Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics Clint Makino, PhD, a Cornwall recruit, toasted Cornwall, noting that “wherever Carter travels, he’s got one suitcase for personal items and a second filled with wires, nuts and bolts, and an occasional oscilloscope” ready to provide service far and wide. Cornwall was on the cusp of becoming a member of the department’s R01-50s club, having enjoyed 46 years of NIH support. Among his future plans, he will continue to assist Makino in research and advise students and junior Physiology & Biophysics faculty members.

“Carter is a wonderful colleague, excellent teacher, and esteemed researcher who has made fundamental contributions to the field of visual transduction. Beyond his own scientific contributions, Carter’s scientific impact is also reflected by the number of eminent academic researchers, both in the US and abroad, he originally trained,” Lehman said.

Carter Cornwall, PhD, Appointed Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Biophysics

SUMMER 2022 | 25 expectations for our teaching mission. He challenges our students to acquire skills critical to their development as scientists and delivers exceptional education to them, as his commitment to their learning is unrivaled.”

ing rates. More than 800 patients have enrolled in the program, with screening completion rates above 85 percent and 90 percent of surveyed patients stating that they would not have completed the procedure had it not been for the pro gram. Calvino has worked closely with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to pass a bill in Rhode Island that would remove financial barriers to colorectal screening. Cancer caregivers have been recognized through the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award since 1998.

With colleagues at Roger Williams Medical Center, he developed and launched a community outreach and navigation program for Hispanic people in Rhode Island focused on increasing colorectal and breast cancer screen

Abdul Saied Calvino, MD, MPH, Receives American Cancer Society Award Abdul Saied Calvino, MD, MPH, assistant professor of surgical oncology and associate director for the surgery clerkship, has received the 2021 American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award. The award recognizes individuals who consistently provide excellent and compas sionate care, and also address the complex needs of cancer patients and their families, by going above and beyond the expected to ensure a “warm hand of service,” a concept Lane W. Adams emphasized when serving as executive vice president of the American CancerCalvinoSociety.earned his MD from the Uni versity of Panama School of Medicine and his MPH from the University of IllinoisChicago. He completed his surgical resi dency at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a two-year fellowship in complex sur gical oncology at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a BUSM clinical affiliate where he currently serves as a surgical oncologist. He was chosen for his insight, advocacy, and unwavering commitment to patient care for underserved populations in Rhode Island. He and his team have worked to edu cate and increase awareness of colorectal cancer screening, treatment, and prevention by holding more than 20 outreach events for Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and Native American communities.

n Paul Tornetta III, MD, Named to AAOS Board Paul Tornetta III, MD, has been named second vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) board of direc tors, a position he will assume following the AAOS 2022 annual meeting in Chicago. His role is the first in a four-year volunteer commitment that will include serving as president of the academy in 2024–2025.

The Department of Physiology & Biophys ics celebrated Carter Cornwall’s appoint ment to professor emeritus at a department meeting held in December 2021. Chair ad interim William Lehman, PhD, thanked Cornwall for his valued service to the department and School of Medicine.

Chair of orthopaedic surgery at BUSM and chief of orthopaedic surgery and director of orthopaedic trauma at Boston Medical Center, Tornetta describes himself as a “blue-collar surgeon” who takes pride in promoting a shared decision-making model with patients and fostering lifelong professional learning in surgeons. His reputation for fairness and transpar ency has earned him longtime recognition as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor every year since 1999 and a Boston Magazine “Top Doc” since 2006. He is past president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association and served on the executive committee of the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) for more than a decade. n Kenneth Grundfast, MD, Receives 2021 Jerome Klein Award for Physician Excellence Kenneth Grundfast, MD, has received the 2021 Jerome Klein Award for Physician Dr. Tornetta is renowned for his teaching prowess and training.orthopaediceffortsunflaggingtoadvanceeducationand


According to his letter of recommenda tion signed by 12 of his colleagues, “We can think of no other person at BMC who better embodies the values of persistence and dedication that are described in the Klein award. Grundfast has made important contributions to clinical care, leadership, education, and research on our campus for so many years. Throughout his tenure, he


Ravin Davidoff, MBBCh, former senior vice president and chief medical officer at BMC, presented Grundfast with the award, saying, “Ken has always been so proud to care for our patients and to ensure that we welcomed every patient who wanted to get care at ‘the BMC.’ His department was ahead of so many by opening up slots each day for add-ons, for keeping appointments open for patients seen in the ED the day before, and for promoting a real sense of team in his department . . . he believed BMC could and should compete with any of our neighbors in Boston and elsewhere and that we delivered the best care possible.

Burke has been prac ticing for more than 30 years, nearly all of them at Boston Medical Center (BMC). He joined the BMC/BUSM community in 1999 and was appointed to chief and promoted to professor of surgery in 2008.Ahighly respected clinician and col league, Burke excels in all aspects of academic medicine. In recognition of his many contributions to BMC, he received the hospital’s 2019 Jerome Klein Award for Physician Excellence. He is returning to basic science and clinical research integral to his work as a surgeon-scientist. Tracey Dechert, MD, succeeds Burke as chief of acute care and trauma surgery. Dechert joined BMC/ BUSM in 2010 as assistant professor of surgery and was promoted to associate professor in 2018. Her established record of clinical excellence, superb teaching, and leadership led to positions of increasing responsibility, including her appointment in 2019 as director of BMC’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) and chief of surgical critical care. Committed to edu cation and mentorship, she previously served as associate director of the General Surgery Residency Program and currently serves as director of the Surgical Critical CareTejalFellowship.Brahmbhatt, MD, will succeed Dechert as SICU director, chief of surgical critical care, and director of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. n Excellence at Boston Medical Center (BMC) in recognition of his commitment to educa tion, mentoring, and clinical excellence, and for his dedication to BMC’s mission and most vulnerable patients. Established in 2010 to commemorate Klein’s 50 years of service, the Jerome Klein Award for Physician Excellence is presented annually to a physician who shares Klein’s dedication to excellence and commitment to service. Winners are nominated by their col leagues and chosen by department chairs.

has been a beacon of professionalism and collegiality.”

BUSM/BMC commu nity for 22 years, Grundfast has served in numerous roles at both institutions, includ ing chief and chair of otolaryngology; lead for BMC’s physician training for patient experience; assistant dean of student affairs; academy medical educator; and chair of the faculty appointments and pro motions committee at BUSM. He also has served on 32 Medical Campus committees and a wide variety of committees in his specialty societies and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, 37 book chapters, and two books.

A Double Terrier (CAS’87, MED’87) and lifelong member of the BU community, Rich joined the BUSM faculty in 1993. Rich had an international reputation in both alcohol and drug addiction research; his mantra was “follow the evidence.” His landmark article, “Individualized Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal: A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Trial,” changed practice regarding the approach to treat ing the common problem of alcohol with drawal syndrome. At his core, Rich was a dedicated physician committed to his patients and to our mission. He directed Boston Medical Center’s Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit for more than a decade, was coprincipal investigator of BU’s Clinical and Translational Sciences

26 Boston University School of Medicine FACULTY NEWS Appointments, Honors & Awards

“I have marveled at your dedication and contributions to this medical campus and our patients, and you are so, so deserving of thisArecognition.”memberofthe

Peter Burke, MD, Steps Down as Chief of Acute Care, Trauma Surgery; Tracey Dechert, MD, Named Successor Peter Burke, MD, chief of acute care and trauma surgery, stepped down from clinical practice at the end of June. He will remain a member of the Department of Sur gery’s research faculty.

Richard Saitz, MD (MED’87), MPH Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, professor of medi cine/GIM and professor & chair of community health sciences at BUSPH since 2014, passed away on January 15 from pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

SUMMER 2022 | 27 Institute, and chaired an Institutional Review Board. In addition to numerous honors and awards, his work and leadership in the addic tion world included serving as associate editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association , editor-in-chief of the Journal of Addiction Medicine , section editor and sole author of key chapters for UpToDate ® on unhealthy substance use, editor of The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine , editor emeri tus of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice , editor of Evidence-Based Medicine , author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, and former president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse. Rich was committed to advancing junior colleagues and served as a mentor to many, both in the US and internationally. His critical, thoughtful understanding of medical litera ture regarding addressing alcohol and drug addiction issues—particularly as it related to chronic medical problems including HIV infection—distinguished him as a renowned authority in the academic community. His research focused on screening and brief interventions, integrating substancerelated and general healthcare, and improv ing the quality of care, particularly in general health settings. He validated single-item screening questions recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.Inaddition to his outstanding contributions to the Boston, national, and international sci entific communities, Rich was a devoted and treasured friend, colleague, and collaborator. We will miss his warm and engaging per sonality, keen intellect, easy laugh, and zest for life. Our deepest condolences to Angela Jackson, MD, their two daughters Isabella and Tatiana, and to their family, friends, and colleagues.OnApril 4, members of the BUMC com munity joined Rich’s family and friends at a hybrid event celebrating his life. To honor his legacy, BUSM has established the Richard Saitz, MD (MED’87) MPH Memorial Lecture Fund, which will support an annual Medical Campus lecture, “Richard Saitz, MD, MPH Memorial Lecture: Controversies in Medicine—Show Me the Evidence.” Part of General Internal Medicine’s Grand Rounds also will feature speakers who reflect his pas sion of “following the evidence” to address controversies in medicine and public health. n Charles Michael “Mike” Bliss, Sr., MD (MED’63) Charles Michael “Mike” Bliss, Sr., MD, passed away peacefully on June 14 at Boston Medical Center (BMC) after a brief illness. Mike grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1958. A member of the BUSM Class of 1963, he completed his internship at Boston City Hospital, was drafted into the US Army in the middle of his residency, and served in Vietnam as a physician. Upon his return, he completed his residency in Colorado and entered the BU gastroenterology fellowship program, at that time run by Dr. Franz Ingelfinger. Mike joined the BUSM faculty and the medical staff at Boston City Hospital upon completing his fellowship.  Adedicated and beloved attending at Boston City Hospital, Mike was commit ted to his patients. His initial research work was with Dr. Donald Small, founder of the Biophysics Institute. He served his entire career at BUSM and what became BMC after the merger of University Hospital and Boston City Hospital. He served on the BUSM admissions committee for many years and was a beloved friend and colleague as well as a mentor to many medical students, residents, and gastroenterology fellows. He received the 2001 Distinguished Clinician Award from the American Gastroenterology Association. Uponhisretirement, Mike enjoyed spend ing time with his many friends and loving family. Our deepest condolences to his wife Barbara, their sons Chip and Dan, and their grandchildren Ariel, Matthew, Mary, Hannah, and Tucker. n


28 Boston University School of Medicine ofClass2022MD Proactive, passionate, inspiring, resilient, creative, collaborative, gracious. Did we mention resilient? By Corinne Steinbrenner Photos by Sasha Pedro

She says that good doctors know how to make do with imperfect circumstances and uncertainty, and how to respond gracefully in emergencies. “That ability to think quickly, to rework your plans and move forward—this class got a lot of practice with that.”

During their first two years of medical school, members of the Class of 2022 displayed remarkable enthusiasm for collaborating with faculty and shar ing their varied cultures with each other. Then, the pandemic turned their medical education upside down, repeatedly delaying their first major licensing exam and the start of longanticipated clerkships.

“We all had to pivot on a dime to create resources and experi ences for them,” Jackson says. “And they had to do the pivoting as well.” Students accepted changes and disruptions with grace, she says, “and that ability is something that’s absolutely applicable to the rest of their professional lives.”

SUMMER 2022 | 29

When students eventually began clinical rotations, they often did so with extra layers of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the added anxiety of uncertain schedules and possible COVID-19 exposure. “Medical school is hard. It’s hard on a good day,” says Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Jackson, MD, pointing out that medical students not only endure intense academic pres sure but deal with the extremes of human experience. “Emotionally, it’s difficult.”FortheClass of 2022, that emotional stress was compounded by constant changes in plans and protocols as the school tried to keep students learning while also keeping them safe.

Speakers at the ceremony noted the diversity of the class: 50 percent were women, and 22 percent were from groups underrepresented in medicine. Class members were born in 19 countries and came from 36 different states. Almost 85 percent spoke more than one language, and as a group spoke 26 different languages.

“Getting people engaged in the social aspects of medical school is a great way to address the isolation you can feel when you’re studying all the time,” says Jae Cho (MED’22), a social leader of the class. “Having events where you get to form rela tionships is really important. You need that support structure when you’re in a challenging environment.”

It’s especially helpful to build community early in your medi cal training, adds Delia Motavalli (MED’22). “Medical school gets progressively harder; you have less time the farther along you go,” she says. “So, the time that I really valued these relationships was when I was a third-year and had so little time but was on the wards with people who I could talk to and trust.”

Students took time that first year to learn about the interests and cultures of their classmates. A group of dance enthusiasts, for example, started a weekly dance interest group to learn dif ferent choreographies, ranging from Afrobeats to Indian folk dances. In January 2019, the school’s various cultural groups hosted the first-ever BUSM Culture Show, with the dance inter est group featured in the finale.

The school hosted a White Coat Ceremony for the 160 class members on August 2, 2018, after a summer filled with news about immigrant families separated at the US/Mexico border and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding.

The show led to one of Maria Suarez-Gama’s favorite med school memories. As a volunteer for the Delivery Resources, Education, and Advocacy for Moms program, she spent most of that day in the hospital supporting an expectant mother through labor—and nervously watching the clock. The baby was born just in time for her to hurry to Hiebert Lounge to perform.

“It was such a memorable day,” Suarez-Gama (MED’22) says, “to run over and change into my dance outfit and put on my makeup. The show goes on, right?” Using her Spanish language skills to assist with a birth and then sharing her Colombian heritage all in one day confirmed to her that BUSM was where she belonged. “I really felt like I was in the right place, where I needed to be,” she says.

30 Boston University School of Medicine FIRST YEAR

During that first year dominated by cycles of studying and taking tests, class members made an effort to get to know each other.“That was a highlight of first year for me—all the social gath erings with our classmates,” says Max Vaickus (MED’22). “And that was pre-COVID, so socializing could happen then.” Class members held impromptu gatherings in their homes and at restaurants and bars to celebrate and unwind after exams. They also organized ski outings, hiking trips, and skit nights.

COVER STORY | MD CLASS OF 2022 Class members 160 Women 50% From underrepresentedgroupsinmedicine 22% The Class of is...2022 NOUNPROJECT

Members of the Class of 2022 began medical school as most students do, focused on building study habits and social ties. At the time, they couldn’t have known how those habits would be tested, or how important those ties would become.

As the academic year progressed, class members got involved with existing efforts to improve the curriculum, and several students approached deans with new ideas for enhancing medi cal education at BUSM. Megan Alexander (MED’22) asked about better integrating lifestyle medicine—including nutrition, exercise, stress management, and healthy sleep habits—into courses and was thrilled to find the administration receptive.

Alexander’s work has already resulted in changes to the way the school teaches medical interviewing and patient counseling. She’s also working with faculty to update instruction on lifestyle medicine involving hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions

SECOND YEAR Class of 2022 members began their second year of medical school with the increasing confidence of experienced medical students and ended their year facing many unknowns. Members of the Racism in Medicine VIG knew their curriculum-development project would take time, but they wanted to make immediate impact. They spent the summer before their second year creating an enrichment series they Languages spoken 26 Average amount of times students had their Step 1 exams rescheduled 5 States of origin 36 Countries of origin 19 The newly minted physicians recite the Hippocratic Oath, signaling their entrance into the practice of medicine.

A group of social justice–minded students suggested examin ing systemic racism’s impact on the school and its curriculum. Administrators helped the students form a Racism in Medicine Vertical Integration Group (VIG), which later published an exhaustive 139-page report that includes numerous recommen dations for removing racist beliefs and stereotypes from medical education. Their work also resulted in the publication of a paper, authored by numerous members of the class and faculty, “Decon structing Racism, Hierarchy, and Power in Medical Education:

SUMMER 2022 | 31 and incorporate it into standard curriculum alongside pharma ceutical interventions, rather than have it separated into its own module or “That’selective.thereally important idea,” she says.

Guiding Principles on Inclusive Curriculum Design,” published in Academic Medicine in November 2021.

Rachel Rockers (MED’22), who was balancing schoolwork with family responsibilities during her second year, didn’t have time to join her classmates in such activities, but was awed by their energy and passion.

“Severalregroup.ofthese students were canceled, not once, not twice, but—on average—five times to sit for this exam,” she says. “Many

As classes wound down and students were beginning the inten sive study period before their crucial Step 1 licensing exam, the COVID-19 pandemic began, sending everyone into lockdown.

32 Boston University School of Medicine COVER STORY | MD CLASS OF 2022 named Creating Leadership in Education to Address Racism (CLEAR).“Itwas a six-series course that we rolled out over the next semester for students who are interested in learning more about racism in medicine—the history of it, how to identify it, how to combat it, how we even talk about race in medical education,” explains Sabreea Parnell (MED’22). “We had about 40 students sign up for the course, which was incredible.”

“I am shocked and inspired by how proactive my younger classmates are in trying to make the world a better place,” she says. “That my classmates have this type of conviction and aren’t afraid to show it, I think is very inspiring for the future of medicine.”

Many class members used their free time to lead student groups and volunteer in the community, riding the Outreach Van to take hot meals and basic medical care to immigrant communities in East Boston, providing comfort to newborns suffering through opioid withdrawals, and offering tax-filing help to low-income families visiting the medical center’s pediatrics wing.

The Class of 2022 gathers for its first photo, taken during their first-year orientation.

At first, says Vaickus, the quarantine didn’t disrupt students’ lives all that much, as they were already planning to shut them selves inside to study. Then, their tests got canceled and repeatedly rescheduled.“It’ssuch a finely orchestrated study plan that we put together,” Vaickus says. “Everything was laid out and structured, and then COVID threw a wrench into all of that.” When Bostonarea testing centers closed their doors, Paige Curran, assistant dean for student affairs, worked around the clock to help students

The school solicited feedback on its initial virtual modules and then did its best to incorporate student suggestions into later

When students later entered the hospital for clinical experience, most of their rotations were shortened by two weeks but were entirely focused on hands-on learning.

Rockers chose to delay her exam until the fall, which she says was both a blessing and a curse. During spring 2020, she was caring for her ailing mother, mourning the loss of her father-in-law, and without childcare for her newborn and toddler. While she would have liked to cross Step 1 off her list earlier, she says, she appreci ated the opportunity to care for her family during quarantine, knowing she had the flexibility to test later.

Many students managed to take their Step 1 that spring, either at a typical testing center or at temporary testing cam puses that area medical schools worked together to set up at BUSM and Brown University. Others ended up waiting months to take the eight-hour exam, severely testing their ability to retain knowledge and maintain intense study.

Curran was impressed by the grace with which students accepted such a major disruption to their academic schedules and their willingness to collaborate with faculty and staff to make new testing

Faculty worked hard to make the virtual learning period as productive as possible, says Associate Dean for Medical Educa tion Priya Garg, MD, walking students through virtual cases and even mailing them sewing kits for suturing practice.

While creating the two-week virtual modules from scratch on such short notice was a huge amount of work, says Assistant Pro fessor of Pediatrics Rachel Thompson, MD, who directs pediatric clerkships, BUSM faculty didn’t face the challenge alone. “So many people across the country were going through something similar,” she says. “There was an incredible amount of knowledge sharing and sharing of resources on the medical edu cators’ listservs. Places were offering cases they had done; models they had used.” It was heartening, she says, to see such a spirit of sharing in the medical education community.

“Onemodules.ofthe things we learned,” says Thompson, “was that stu dents really wanted more small-group opportunities.” With more than 150 students enrolled in a module simultaneously, however, she recalls that trying to find enough faculty to supervise small groups was mind-boggling until a colleague at Boston Children’s Hospital mentioned that COVID shutdowns had left their fellows with little to do. “So, I staffed a huge number of our small-group sessions with fellows from Boston Children’s who volunteered theirThetime.”virtual modules were a challenge for students as well as fac ulty, especially given the intensity surrounding the summer of 2020.

SUMMER 2022 | 33 showed up at their testing site under the impression that they were scheduled to take the exam, and the testing center was locked.”


THIRD YEAR COVID influenced nearly every aspect of the Class of 2022’s third year of medical school, just as it did nearly every aspect of Ameri can life at that time. A highlight of the medical school experience, third-year clerkships, were set to begin in May 2020. Boston Medical Center and affiliated sites and practices, however, were so over whelmed with COVID patients that it didn’t make sense to begin clerkships then, increasing the density of healthcare workers in limited spaces and putting students at risk of exposure. Assum ing hospitals and practices would be in better shape come fall, school administrators quickly reworked the third-year curricu lum so the class could delay its clinical start but still graduate on time.

“Theplans.fact that they did not lay down and stay down is just remarkable,” she says.

“Some of us were doing virtual rotations on Zoom while trying to juggle studying for Step 1, so that was definitely a chaotic time,” coverage of Black Lives Matter protests made focusing on academics difficult for many students that summer, especially students of color. Parnell remembers how exhausting it felt to be Black in America during that time, and yet still needing to find the energy for hours of online class sessions each day. Even the logistics of taking online courses was challenging for some students. When lockdown loomed in the spring, Meshelle Hirashima (MED’22) booked a flight home to Hawaii.

“There was no way I was going to quarantine in Boston,” she says. She chose to stay safely in Hawaii through the summer, which meant logging in to virtual learning modules at three in the morning. Students were thrilled to finally begin in-person clerkships in late August. Despite their shortened rotations, they had the forma tive experiences typical for third-year medical students, including interviewing patients face-to-face, assisting in their first baby deliv eries, and witnessing death for the first time.

Clerkships are typically a mix of classroom and hands-on learning; for this class, all classroom lectures took place virtu ally over the summer. When students later entered the hospital for clinical experience, most of their rotations were shortened by two weeks but were entirely focused on hands-on learning.

“The biggest barrier with PPE is that we’re communicating with a lot of patients who have sensory and cognitive impair ment,” says Assistant Professor of Medicine Megan Young, MD, who directs the geriatric clerkships. Knowing their patients may struggle to hear and understand them, she says, pushed students to improve their communication skills.

Initially, students weren’t allowed to treat COVID patients or even see patients presenting with COVID symptoms because fac ulty felt they should first be familiar with the hospital and clinical care to be sufficiently prepared for the experience.

“We thought we’d be able to donate 1,000 or so masks,” Kala jian says, “but we got such an outpouring of support from both the South End and Boston University communities that we were able to give seven to eight times as many as we expected. It was so humbling to see a community come together and help a very vulnerable population in our neighborhood.”

“There truly isn’t that much educational value in taking care of COVID patients,” she says, “because you just follow an algorithm, and the cases are usually quite straightforward. So, the residents would say, ‘This is COVID. It’s just risky and not interesting. You should not take that patient.’”

With proper PPE, vaccines, and treatments available to blunt the impact of COVID-19, the Class of 2022 saw a near return to nor malcy in its fourth year of medical school. Students were allowed to see patients with COVID-19 symptoms and schedule “away” rota tions in outside hospital systems. Elective surgeries returned.

Vaughn adds that COVID had much less impact on her clerkships than she initially feared. “I think there’s a sense among doctors that we need to keep prioritizing education even in a pandemic, because if we don’t make time and space for that, we’re going to have a generation of doctors who are unprepared.”Evenwhile busy with clerkships, members of the Class of 2022 found ways to help with pandemic relief. To pay tribute to his grand mother, who died of COVID early in the pandemic, Tyler Kalajian (MED’22) spearheaded a fundraiser to buy masks for the homeless community in Boston’s South End.

“We’ve gotten a lot better emoting with our eyes, since nobody can see the rest of our face anymore,” says Cho, only half-jokingly.

Even while busy with clerkships, members of the Class of 2022 found ways to help with pandemic relief.


The presence of COVID-19 affected some clerkships more than others. Cho says his rotation through minimally invasive surgery (MIS) was drastically impacted by the cancellation of elective“Despitesurgeries.spending a month on MIS, I did not see a single bariat ric surgery, which was crazy because that’s 90 percent of what they normally do,” he says.

The geriatric rotations required of all fourth-year students remained impacted by COVID-19, and students wore gowns, N-95 masks, and eye protection when they made home visits.

34 Boston University School of Medicine COVER STORY | MD CLASS OF 2022

“Accidental exposures happened,” says Motavalli, “but overall, I felt very Stephanieprotected.”Vaughn (MED’22) agrees that BUSM struck the right balance between education and safety, and she appreciated being shielded from COVID exposure.

Rockers, who plans to specialize in pediatrics, says many of her fourth-year patient appointments have been telemedicine visits, at least partially because the Omicron variant of SARSCoV-2 caused a spike in virus cases and a temporary return to cautiousness.“Ithinkthey’re also trying to train us in telemedicine because they realize it’s more convenient for a lot of the patients to do tele medicine,” she says, “so it’s a skill they want us to have.” And despite the initial awkwardness of trying to conduct a child’s neurological exam over a computer screen, she says, she’s become adept at it overGargtime.believes that their ability to master telemedicine is evidence of the exceptional clinical skills these students possess. Because clinicians can’t examine patients during a telemedicine visit, she says, they must rely more on asking patients the right questions. “That takes a lot of clinical acumen, to know what’s the right question to ask,” she says. And phrasing questions in

“I did two weeks of outpatient pediatrics,” says Vaickus, “and they didn’t let us see any person who had a runny nose or an ear infection or a slightly suspicious cough, which is, you know, all kids.”Parnell says her most trying third-year experience was the time she spent in the medical ICU. “In the beginning, there were almost no patients that I could actually see because everyone had COVID,” she says. “I still had patients that I was rounding on in the morning, but I couldn’t go into their rooms, so I’d have to stand outside the door looking through the windows to see how my patients were doing.” COVID especially complicated rotations for students forced to quarantine after catching the virus or being exposed, leaving them to make up lost time during vacation breaks.

“When the current second-year class came in, all group events were canceled; all indoor gatherings were canceled,” says Cho. “The feedback I’m getting from them is they really feel they suf fered in their social connections and in their connectedness to the community as a whole.”

Class members have also volunteered at COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Members of the Latino Medical Student Association spent time in Chelsea, a primarily Spanish-speaking Boston suburb, helping with patient recruitment, education, and registration.

“You’re sitting there in your suit top and your blouse,” says Rockers, “but then you have pajama bottoms on.”

BUSM Student Affairs developed a range of resources, including mock interviews for each student with spe cific

Garg confirms that this class’s passion for helping improve medical education remains strong. Even as fourth-year students in their final weeks of medical school, class members continue to approach her with ideas for curricular improvement.

“I’m just so impressed,” she says. “Many students would have been so fatigued and burnt out by the experiences of COVID and medical school in general, but they just keep going. It gives you a lot of confidence and hope for the future of medicine.”

All interviews happened virtually this year, so instead of booking flights and hotel rooms, students fussed with their lighting, hoped their internet service wouldn’t drop, and tried not to appear fidgety on camera. To help students prepare for virtual interviews,

Members of the Class of 2022 completed their fourth year as all medical students do, balancing their final clerkships with resi dency interviews. But theirs were not typical interviews.

This group of students has always focused on advocacy and equity, says Garg, so she’s not surprised they’ve spent time think ing of ways to make residency interviews more equitable.

“I didn’t directly give out the vaccine,” says Suarez-Gama, “but it was still very rewarding to volunteer there, as I was usually one of maybe two Spanish-speaking volunteers in the clinic, and they very much needed to have bilingual staff.”

SUMMER 2022 | 35 a way that patients will understand requires impressive communication skills. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, members of the Class of 2022 have generously used their time to help underclassmen organize much-needed social and professional events.

“Ifeedback.wasreally disappointed that the interviews were virtual again this year,” says Vaughn. “I’m going to be moving with my partner, and I don’t want to move him somewhere we’ve never been.” On the other hand, she says, virtual interviews saved time and money, valuable commodities for most medical students. Despite their awkwardness and other downsides, virtual interviews may be here to stay. Students say they appreciate that virtual interviews reduced their carbon footprint, made schedul ing easier, eliminated the stress of flight delays, and—perhaps most importantly—helped level the playing field for students of lower socioeconomic status.

n Happy, newly minted MD Michelle Hirashima at the end of the convocation ceremony.

The COVID-19 pandemic put that effort on hold until September 2021, when the search for data science faculty resumed.

“There’s a lot of excitement at BU for data science,” says Nelson Lau, PhD, associ ate professor of biochemistry and director of BU’s Genome Sciences Institute (GSI).

36 Boston University School of Medicine ResearchBUSM BUSM faculty, particularly the genomics research community, asked for help with data analysis in 2020. BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, held a data science workshop in February of that year, the result of which was a decision to create a service core staffed by faculty scientists to provide the level of analysis and bioinformatics—big data analysis of large data sets using computer and statistical analyses on biological data— necessary for researchers to further their work.

“The goal is to have the analytical capa bilities on campus needed to support and advance the biomedical research of the BUSM faculty,” says Andrew W. Taylor, PhD, associate dean for research. “Bioinformatics and biostatistical programmers know how to handle large data sets.”

The new service complements BU President Robert Brown’s vision for the University to become a leader in the data science field, realized in the ongoing con struction of a new Center for Computing & Data Sciences on Commonwealth Avenue.

“Applying data sciences is foundational for advancing our field, and we can’t wait to collaborate with the new core,” says Darrell Kotton, MD, the David C. Seldin Professor of Medicine and director of the BU/BMC Cen ter for Regenerative Medicine (CReM).

“In the biomedicine field we are awash in genomic and sequencing data; even labs that never managed data before find they need to in order to stay current and com petitive. Anyone doing animal or disease research requires genetic sequencing that can involve gigabytes, even terabytes, of data to map diseases back to the genomes

Science Core Opens for Business ISTOCK


Taylor adds that ADSC faculty will also conduct research in their specialty areas.

The Applied Data Science Core (ADSC) is now open for business with Assistant Professor of Computational Biomedicine Chao Zhang, PhD, and Associate Professor of Computational Biomedicine Ignaty Lesh chiner, PhD, who joined Zhang in May 2022.

“Having a centralized data core would cater to a larger group of researchers where they could find one-stop expertise. The ADSC would be able to work together with researchers to really meet what has hereto fore been an unmet need,” he says.

Lau is already working with Zhang on a project, analyzing RNA data sequenced from mosquitos collected at field stations in Con necticut to see what viruses might be pres ent apart from commonly known ones, like West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

“The ultimate goal is to use technology on large-scale data to solve those complicated questions.”Hisspecialty is computational biomedi cine, the application of computer methodol ogy to help in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Zhang says one of the applica tions could be genomics analysis of a tumor sample to find a better treatment specific to that“Apatient.lotofpeople do data science projects that are data-heavy,” said Vasan Ramach andran, MD, professor of medicine and epi demiology at BUSM and SPH, and principal investigator and director of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). He compares the new data center to a community pool where a lot of people can swim without the expense of building individual pools.

SUMMER 2022 | 37 and compare healthy to diseased to get to even a fundamental understanding of what you are working with.”

“Why are people in rural areas challenged in terms of their health?” he asks. The answer may lie in a combination of reasons that involve varied data sources like medical and health records, genetics, and diet that can be stored in entirely different formats.

“Typically, for-profit companies do basic analysis for everyone. We are researchers, and we will try to help them interpret and understand the data; the deeper back ground of the whole story,” explains Zhang.

Ramachandran, who believes there may be as many unfunded as there are funded research andjustinstitution,forInsteadproject]higherLau.forhelpfulinfrastructure.”assumegettinghousedosaysunderwayprojectsatBUSM,thattheabilitytodataanalysisin-mayalsohelpingrants:“Theyyouhavethe“Ithinkitwillbeinapplyinggrants,”agrees“There’sjustachanceof[thesucceeding.ofbegginghelpfromanotheryoucangodownthehalltalktosomeone

“Instead of sending [their data] to an outside company, we have the opportunity to interact with them to get a better result,” says Zhang, who has a doctorate in computer sci ence and a master’s degree in statistics.

“Even with centers as successful as the CReM and GSI, where we have our own bio informatics groups, it would be great to see more labs at BUSM have access to this type of analysis, too,” he adds. Before this new service was available, BUSM researchers without direct access to data analysis specialists either found another researcher to help them or con tracted with an outside company.


on the same team. It’s a more personalized experience.”Ramachandran looks forward to future computerized data analysis that can com bine data from heterogenous sources. For example, Ramachandran’s RURAL Cohort Study is evaluating the underlying health risks in rural areas.

While Lau is trained in bioinformatics and his lab has two bioinformatics specialists, he says that it’s impossible to help everyone who needs specialized data analysis: “Many PIs [principal investigators] like myself have to take care of our own research first.” Lau worked with Taylor and Dean Antman to democratize access.

“The underlying architecture of the data is different befitting the multidimensional nature of the disease,” Ramachandran says. “The information is siloed but understanding risk and building health takes a multifaceted approach and there isn’t one expert who can coordinate the data. The ADSC core hopes to provide a resource with complementary expertise in different domains.”

Chao PhD

According to Taylor, who oversees the running of BUSM cores, the ADSC will be initially funded by the dean’s office, with the possibility of additional funding com ing through data science instruction and student training. “As time goes by, it should be supported by subcontracts and multiple principal investigator grants,” he says. n Lau says it will be great to see more labs at BUSM typeaccesshavetothisofanalysis.

Unex pectedly, mortality from brain and other nervous system cancers was almost four times higher in the former college players compared to the general population.

The study also found positive long-term health outcomes in the former college football players who had a lower prevalence of diabetes during life and an overall lower mortality rate compared to the general pop ulation. Specifically, their death rates from heart, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system disorders, and from lung cancer and violence, were significantly lower. According to the researchers, results of the new study of former college players are overall quite similar to study results of the former professional players. “Similar to studies of other former high-level athletes, we found that former college football play ers have lower overall mortality and lower risk of death from lung cancer and heart disease,” says corresponding author Robert Stern, PhD, director of clinical research for the BU CTE Center and professor of neurol ogy, neurosurgery, and anatomy & neurobi ology at BU School of Medicine. “However, the negative health consequences, espe cially the brain-related disorders we found in this group of former Notre Dame players, are concerning,” Stern adds. n

In a study published in JAMA Network Open, BU CTE Center researchers report on the long-term health outcomes and mor tality rates of former University of Notre Dame football players who were seniors on the 1964–1980 rosters. Compared to a representative sample of same-age men in the general population, former Notre Dame players were five times more likely to report cognitive impairment diagnoses, two-anda-half times more likely to report recurrent headaches, and 65 percent more likely to have cardiovascular disorders during life, based on health surveys completed by 216 of the 375 (58 percent) former players still living.Consistent with reports of former NFL players, mortality due to degenerative brain disease, specifically Parkinson’s disease and ALS, was higher in the former college play ers compared to the general population, but the researchers caution that the difference did not reach statistical significance.

CTE Center Study of Former Notre Dame Football Players Finds College Players Likely


to Have Brain Disorders ISTOCK

38 Boston University School of Medicine


T he link between playing foot ball and a heightened risk of developing later-life brain dis orders like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has received increas ing attention over the past 15 years. While National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to die from CTE and ALS and more likely to report cognitive impairment, behavioral changes, and dementia, similar studies of former college football players have not been reported.

hile COVID-19 significantly impacts many pregnant women, the rates of transmission from mother to baby in pregnancy are very low. A BUSM study published online in the American Journal of Pathology has demonstrated that ACE-2, the receptor that allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells, is found in lower levels in the placentas of women with COVID-19 in pregnancy compared to women with normal (COVID-negative) that when a woman has COVID-19 in pregnancy, the placenta is shedding ACE-2 as a way to block SARS-CoV-2 from being passed to the fetus,” explains co-corresponding author Elizabeth S. Taglauer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at BUSM. The study is a collaborative effort between placental/ perinatal researchers at BUSM, Boston Medical Center (BMC), Ke Yuan, PhD, a lung vascular biologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Hongpeng Jia, PhD, an ACE-2 expert at Johns Hopkins University. It involved collecting placentas from two groups of women who delivered at BMC from July 2020 to April 2021, an effort led by study coauthor Elisha Wachman, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at BUSM and a neonatologist at BMC. The first group of women had normal pregnancies and no report of SARS-CoV-2 infection; the second were SARSCoV-2 positive and had active COVID-19 disease during pregnancy. They then observed the ACE-2 expression in their placentas under the microscope and compared placental ACE-2 expression using genetic and protein analysis techniques.

“Intervention targeting cholesterol and glucose management starting in early adulthood can help maximize cognitive health in later life,” says Farrer. “The unique design and mission of the Framingham Heart Study, which is a multigeneration, communitybased, prospective study of health that began in 1948, allowed us to link Alzheimer’s to risk factors for heart disease and diabetes measured much earlier in life than possible in most other studies of cognitive decline and dementia.”

SUMMER 2022 | 39

gnoring cholesterol and glucose levels as early as age 35 may impact your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life. According to BUSM researchers, lower levels of high-density cholesterol (HDL) and high triglyceride levels measured in blood as early as age 35 are associated with a higher incidence of AD several decades later in life. They also found that high blood glucose measured between the ages of 51–60 is associ ated with risk of AD in the future.

“While our findings confirm other studies that linked cholesterol and glucose levels measured in blood with future risk of Alzheimer’s disease, we have shown for the first time that these associations extend much earlier in life than previously thought,” explains senior author Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD, chief of biomedical genetics at BUSM. Published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the study was conducted using data obtained from Framingham Heart Study participants who were examined at approximately four-year intervals throughout most of their adult lives. Correlations of AD with multiple known risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes (including HDL, LDL, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, smoking, and body mass index) were measured at each exam and during three age periods during adulthood: 35–50, 51–60, and 61–70.

Researchers Discover How the Placenta May Be Blocking SARSCoV-2 Transmission to Babies Pregnancyduring



Lipid and Glucose Levels at Age 35 Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease I

According to the researchers, careful management of these factors starting in early adulthood can lower one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as Alzheimer’s.



he song lyrics “Don’t worry, be happy” may be more accurate than we thought. A growing body of evidence supports an association between optimism and healthy aging, but it is unclear how optimism impacts“Whenhealth.itcomes to dealing with dayto-day stressors, such as household chores or arguments, a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences has found that being more or less optimistic did not make a difference in how older men emotionally reacted to, or recovered from, these stressors. However, optimism appeared to promote emotional well-being by limiting how often older men experience stressful situations or changing the way they interpret situations as “ tests one possible explanation, assessing if more optimistic people handle daily stress more constructively and therefore, enjoy better emotional well-being,” says corresponding author Lewina Lee, PhD, clinical psychologist at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Boston Healthcare System and assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM. The researchers followed 233 older men who first completed an optimism questionnaire; 14 years later, they reported daily stressors along with positive and negative moods on eight consecutive evenings up to three times over an eight-year span. The researchers found more optimistic men reported not only lower negative mood but also more positive mood beyond simply not feeling negative. They also reported having fewer stressors, which was unrelated to their higher positive mood but explained their lower levels of negative mood.


“Stress, on the other hand, is known to have a negative impact on our health. By looking at whether optimistic people handle dayto-day stressors differently, our findings add to knowledge about how optimism may promote good health as people age,” says Lee. n

While studies have increasingly supported the idea of optimism as a resource that may promote good health and longevity, we know very little about the underlying mechanisms.

40 Boston University School of Medicine

Optimism May Promote Emotional Well-Being by Limiting How Often One Experiences Stressful Situations


A growing body of evidence supports an association between optimism and healthy aging, but it is unclear how impactsoptimismhealth.


Researchers Race to Understand Long COVID in National Study

Being able to fully understand long COVID starts with being able to properly define it, says Jai Marathe, MBBS, a coprin cipal investigator on the RECOVER study. She says that’s been difficult since symp toms are so varied.

For medical providers working with COVID long-haulers, “no two patients are the same,” pointing to the urgency of unraveling the mysteries of post-coronavirus conditions and potential treatments.


“Patients with long COVID may present with a variety of different symptoms, and no two patients are the same,” says Marathe, assistant professor of medicine/ infectious diseases. “The important thing to note is that we are learning about long COVID along with our patients—and we are constantly evaluating our treatment recom mendations to address the patients’ needs.

mong the uncertainties and worries that living with COVID19 presents, long COVID— lingering effects of the disease that persist longer than four weeks after an initial infection clears—is a big one. Patients with long COVID, sometimes dubbed “COVID long-haulers,” report symptoms ranging from headaches to chronic fatigue to shortness of breath; the long-term impacts of the condition are largely unknown.

SUMMER 2022 | 41

To answer the many puzzling ques tions about long COVID, researchers at BUSM and Boston Medical Center (BMC) are beginning to investigate “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC),” the medi cal term used for the array of long COVID symptoms. The newly launched project, called the RECOVER (Research COVID to Enhance Recovery) study, is part of a national effort—funded by the National Institutes of Health—that aims to better understand who is at risk, how recovery var ies in different people, and what can be done to prevent the condition and treat patients.

I am often consulted for severe changes in mental status; sometimes strokes, sei zures, and very rarely, other obscure prob lems after a COVID-19 infection. Now, the number one symptom I’m hearing about is fatigue. People talk about persistent fatigue that is totally different from what their baselines were [before they were infected with COVID-19]. People also talk a lot about brain fog, which is experienced differ ently for many people, but often described as feeling scatterbrained, or at a loss for words. There are also a lot of patients who have headaches, either a new onset or worsening headaches, or headaches that started with a COVID infection. There are also a lot of symptoms that dovetail into cardiology, such as where people have abnormal and rapid heartbeats depending on if they are laying down or standing up. All of these neurologic symptoms can be debilitating for some people.

42 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM RESEARCH

“The tough part to date has been that studies have used different definitions of long COVID. A well-controlled cohort like this one, with a large number of patients, can help clarify the biological and clinical features that are hallmarks of PASC,” says Nahid Bhadelia, MD, associate professor of medicine/infectious diseases and founding director of BU’s Center for Emerging Infec tious Diseases. Bhadelia is a coprincipal investigator on the RECOVER study—which will take place over the next three years— and is helping BMC collaborate with five other Boston–area hospitals that are also a part of the national project. To learn more about the study and the effects of long COVID, we spoke with Anna Cervantes-Arslanian, a coinvestiga tor on the project and a neurologist at BMC who works with patients in the long COVID clinic. What has your experience been like caring for patients with long COVID? Cervantes-Arslanian: In my experience, long COVID symptoms are highly varied. Because of my day-to-day practice in the ICU, most of the patients referred to me are following up after they have been hospitalized with severe illness from COVID-19. Many of these patients had symptoms that could be related to being hospitalized or related to SARS-CoV-2.

There is a loose definition of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC, so I think clearly defining this syndrome is very important—future research will depend on us being able to communicate what PASC is. Another key question I’d like to answer is, are these symptoms more common in people with SARS-CoV-2 or not? That sounds like a strange question, but we need to have an answer for this. We need a control group, which the RECOVER study willHavinghave. the long COVID clinic is also important for specialists to evaluate whether concerns a patient attributes to long COVID are indeed related to the infection reaction or potentially signs of another illness that needs attention. As an example, I had a patient who went to her primary care doctor with a headache after getting COVID-19, and then her doctor referred her to me. Once I saw her, I immediately saw she had a serious problem, possibly a brain tumor, that likely by coincidence appeared after getting COVID. In your opinion, why is studying long COVID urgently needed right now? This is a brand-new, novel virus that has impacted the whole world. It’s important for us to understand the acute complications— how the virus impacts the body during an infection—and what the long-term effects are going to be. We know that after the flu pandemic in 1918, there was an increased risk for a type of post-viral Parkinson’s disease, so [the long-term effects] are something the medical community is thinking about. What we really don’t know is: Will infected kids have long-term medical problems? Will this impact middleaged adults when they get older? We just don’t know. I’m very interested from a place of curiosity, as well as getting the information as the starting point. What is most important right now is that we are really paying attention to these patients, because people feel dismissed. Women are more likely to have these symptoms than men, and women are more often dismissed [in medical settings] for vague symptoms.

What do we know about whether the vaccine has any impact on the likelihood of developing long COVID? So far, it seems that being vaccinated makes you less likely to develop long COVID symptoms, but we don’t know for sure. There are a lot of reasons to get vaccinated, so possibly being less likely to develop long COVID is another reason. Long COVID could also be more associated with particular virus variants, but again, we don’t know. There were also stories of some people experiencing improvements in long COVID symptoms after getting the vaccine, which some people point out could be a placebo effect. But there are reasons to think that the immune system is involved with long COVID, so it’s logical to think that providing the spike protein for the boosted immunity can help in the other processes involved. n Being able to fully understand long COVID starts with being able to properly define it, says Jai Marathe, a coprincipal investigator on the RECOVER study.

What are you and the research team hoping to accomplish by the end of this study?

Now, we’re seeing more people coming to the [long COVID] clinic who were not hospitalized to begin with, some who didn’t even have a respiratory infection.

For some, [symptoms] are mild, but can be debilitating for others.” Marathe is also the founding director of the ReCOVer Long COVID Clinic at BMC, a multidisciplinary clinic with specialties that include neurology and behavioral health and currently has about 85 patients under its care. The RECOVER study will recruit from the clinic and also have a control group of people who are not displaying signs of long COVID.

• Rahul S. Anand, MD (MED’01) and Meredith Anand

• Thomas R. Insel, MD (MED’74) and Deborah J. Insel

Lori A. Jurado and Xavier Jurado

• Bernard E. Kreger, MD, MPH

• Clare L. Dana, MD (MED’69)

• John F. O’Brien, MD (MED’59)

• David J. Salant, MD and Anne Salant Mercury Members

• Marvin J. Hoffman, MD (MED’47)

• Elliot M. Bloom, Esq. and Anne P. Bloom

• Mark S. Michelman, MD (MED’67) and Susan F. Michelman

Peter T. Paul Bronze Members

• Pedram Salimpour, MD (MED’00) and Stacy Weiss, MD n

Paul Franco, MD (MED’22) delivers remarks to those gathered for the Keefer Society dinner. Dillon Karst, MD (CAS’18, MED’22), right, and Helen Soh, MD (MED’22), left, provided musical accompaniment during the cocktail reception. Bernard E. Kreger, MD, MPH, receives his plaque from BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, and Dean’s Advisory Board Chair Donald M. Kaplan in recognition of his membership into the Chester S. Keefer, MD, Society.

• Hubert W. McDonald and Ann S. McDonald

SUMMER 2022 | 43 BUSM

Keefer Society Inducts Class of 2022

Platinum Members

M embers of the BU School of Medicine Chester S. Keefer, MD, Society, which recog nizes donors who have sup ported the school with lifetime gifts totaling $50,000 or more, gathered in person for the first time since 2019 for a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. After a cocktail reception, Keefer mem bers and their guests heard welcoming remarks from BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, and Donald M. Kaplan, MD (MED’73), chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board, and guest speakers, BUSM students Lauren Berry, MD (MED’22) and Paul Franco, MD (MED’22).

• I. Howard Fine, MD (MED’66) and Victoria Fine

• Lisa B. Caruso, MD, MPH

• David P. DiChiara, MD (MED’84) and Maria J. DiChiara

• Ronald S. Gabriel, MD (MED’63) and Pamela Hobbs

Dean Antman then introduced the Keefer Society Class of 2022:

44 Boston University School of Medicine

The Konefals are impressed with the unwavering commitment these recipients demonstrate in choosing a field challenged by a pandemic that has brought physicians personal risk, unprecedented demands, and high levels of stress, all amidst the negativity generated by what has become a politicized medical condition.

S everal years ago, Joe and Karen Konefal returned to Boston from their Virginia home to celebrate the birth of a grandson. As they walked along the banks of the Charles River—both the MIT side where their son was in graduate school and the Boston side where they had lived as young newlyweds in the 1970s—a rush of memories swept over them from the days when Joe was a medical student at BUSM and Karen was a nurse at University Hospital (now Boston Medical Center).“Itwas a special time in many ways. I remember sitting on a bench beside the Charles, looking out at the familiar Boston skyline, feeling happy to be back in Boston, and realizing that Karen and I had come full circle,” said Joe, who graduated from BUSM in 1977 and is now retired after a long, fulfill ing career as a urologist. Although Konefal completed his medi cal residency in Virginia, then worked and raised his family there, he and his siblings grew up in Medford, and their father, Stanley Konefal, a surgeon and 1947 BUSM gradu ate, practiced at Massachusetts hospitals. Their local roots ran deep. Stanley Konefal and his wife Catherine initiated what has become a generational tradition of supporting BUSM students by contributing to the School of Medicine’s annual fund for many years before establish ing the Stanley H. and Catherine M. Konefal Student Scholarship Fund in 1991. When he passed away in 2015, Stanley Konefal bequeathed a large gift to his scholar ship fund to continue that legacy. Wishing to continue the tradition of philanthropy his father and mother began, Joe encour aged other family members to donate to the scholarship fund, and subsequently renamed it the Konefal Family Scholarship Fund in 2016. Joe and Karen hope their fund sends a message of generational appreciation for the career choice made by the future physicians they support. Recalling his private practice as well as being an assistant professor of urology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, he notes that a career in medicine is a big commitment. Physicians work long hours that include nights, weekends, and holidays, and often must come to the hospital on a moment’s“Becausenotice.ofthe many demands and sac rifices it entails, you have to love it,” he says. The demands of medical school, resi dency, and private practice impact the fam ily as “Spouseswell. in particular must be under standing and supportive,” says Karen.

The Medical Student Scholarship Fund, a Konefal Family Tradition

For the last five years of his practice, Konefal worked in a poor, rural area on the eastern shore of Virginia, which helps him relate to BUSM students who also treat underserved patient populations through their clinical work at Boston Medical Center.


“We’re well aware of the astronomical cost of medical school, and I worry about the students,” says Joe. “It’s sad to think that insufficient financial resources can stand in the way of young men and women aspir ing to become physicians. With knowledge of physicians’ current salaries, I question a young primary care doctor’s ability to pay back significant medical school loans.”

Because the Konefals know firsthand how much medical students, physicians, and their families must sacrifice, they hope their scholarship recipients feel that they are val ued for their dedication to the medical field.

Joe remains grateful for the foundation that BUSM provided him almost 50 years ago, and is optimistic that the BUSM schol arship recipients will experience as many rewards from their medical careers as he did.Joe and Karen especially enjoy meeting and interacting with their students person ally at the annual BUSM Scholarship Dinner, and Joe credits the challenges and rewards of his medical education, training, and career with adding to his personal connec tion with the scholarship recipients.

Konefal says he was fortunate that his parents paid his way through his undergrad uate education and half of medical school; after his marriage, he struggled to pay his own medical school tuition for his last two years at BUSM. Karen recalled working many extra shifts at the hospital and even tually working two jobs to pay their bills. Because of their experience, Joe and Karen felt a personal connection to BUSM students in need of financial assistance and hope that their family scholarship fund will enable BUSM students in need to graduate without burdensome loans to repay.

“It’s wonderful to get to know them and to see their energy, enthusiasm, and dedica tion,” Karen adds. “Whether personally or through virtual communication, we continue to be in awe of these highly motivated BUSM students, especially at a time in medicine that brings additional challenges imposed by COVID-19.”

“Caring for underserved patients was practicing medicine at its best; the way it was meant to be,” he says. He forged a deep connection with patients who were grateful for the medical care and remains in contact with many of them today.

“We have every confidence in the success of these future physicians to ultimately make a positive difference for their patients and their communities.” Karen says. “We feel cer tain they will always make us proud.” n

Joe and Karen Konefal

She began developing a strong sense of loyalty for BUSM while working for Peters, recalling, “He ran a very collegial, open, sup portive department.” Wilson knew that open ness was not always the case in research institutions, where colleagues can be secre tive and not inclined to share information.

In part due to her student-focused approach and use of technology, Wilson received the prestigious Metcalf Cup and Prize in 2013, Boston University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. Serving on the admissions committee for 17 years and as an assistant dean of admis sions for 10, Wilson saw the student body change over time from a largely homoge neous population in the ’90s to one more representative of the diverse world in which we live today. The school also has adopted a holistic approach to admissions that consid ers the desire to help others in addition to academic talent and drive, and strives to keep student debt as manageable as possible.

“WeEngland.havea lot of students who come to BUSM because they are interested in urban healthcare and the issues faced by people who’ve had lives very, very different from what most students have experienced,” sheShesays.recalls a first-year medical student who wanted more than classrooms and clinical work: “She said, ‘You know, I could spend all my evenings studying gross anatomy, but I have to go out and work in the community to help me realize why I am here.’ I think we see more of that type of student, and scholarships help us enroll someone who otherwise might not be able to attend a private medical school.

“I believe we should do what we can do to help our students achieve their goals.”

She was an early adopter in the use of virtual microscopy, examining digitized slides using a computer as a microscope. In 2001, Wilson published an atlas of histology with the Oxford University Press that included an interactive videodisk.

Wilson gave Boston University School of Medicine her all for 49 years, working long days as a researcher, educator, and assistant dean of admissions. Completely dedicated to her profession and the University, she served on BU and BUSM key committees; shepherded in new educational technolo gies, and helped further the dreams of gen erations of medical students on their way to medicalWilson,careers.whorecently married, is more familiar at BUSM as Professor Emerita of Anatomy & Neurobiology Debbie Vaughan. She retired nearly two years ago, and now spends her days cooking, exploring new inter ests, and tending to her gardens and pets with her husband, retired dentist and child hood friend John Wilson.

Like many researchers at BUSM, Wilson also taught medical and graduate school classes. By the mid-1990s, she curtailed her research work and took on a full-time teaching position in both histology (micro scopic examination of tissues) and neuro sciences for the Anatomy & Neurobiology department. Over the years, she’s seen the medical school education focus shift from lecturer to “Teachingstudent.wasn’t about me, it was about making sure the students succeed,” says Wilson. To that end, she created online vid eos and interactive modules to help students approach the basic material in a different way, and flipped the traditional teaching methodology, instructing students to under take lab work first so that they had firsthand exposure to a topic before they learned more about it through classroom lectures.

BUSM capital projects like the Medical Residence and the Godley Digital Media Studio, as well as student scholarship funds. Upon retiring, she initiated her own student scholarship.“Ascholarship fund was something that I believed in, and thought I should do,” said Wilson, who saw the scholarship as a way to show students that she continued to care about them and their goals.

T he interview is wrapping up when Debbie Wilson rises, unprompted, from her desk and turns her lap top to face the large windows of her Maine vacation home. The web camera captures a slope of beach grass with a board walk leading to a broad panoramic sweep of the Atlantic Ocean. As Wilson settles back into her seat, the camera reveals the phrase “Dreams Really Do Come True” painted in ribbon calligraphy, like a thought balloon, overhead on the wall behind her.

“Being a medical school educator, I devel oped an appreciation for what an outstanding group of young people we engage with. It was a real privilege to work with our students,” sheWilsonsays.

continues to support them through the Deborah W. Wilson, PhD, Endowed Scholarship, established nearly two years ago, which helps one or more medical stu dents annually who are residents of her native home state of New Hampshire. Throughout her teaching career, Wilson donated money from her paycheck to help A History of Making Dreams Come True In Retirement, Debbie Wilson Continues to Show Her Commitment to Students through the Wilson Scholarship Fund

SUMMER 2022 | 45

In her long career at the University, Wilson interacted with students in many ways. As a graduate student, she completed her PhD in biology at the school of Graduate Arts and Sciences in 1971, followed by a postdoc fellowship in neuroanatomy with renowned BUSM neuroanatomist Alan Peters, PhD, studying the effects of aging on the central nervous system.

“We have a lot of students who are good at learning and memorizing,” she says. “But teaching is about generating understanding.”

Wilson notes that many BUSM students are attracted to the opportunity to admin ister to the underserved at Boston Medical Center, the primary teaching affiliate of BUSM and the largest safety-net hospital in New


Debbie and John Wilson

Alumni US: If you have news, announce ments, or creative works you’d like to share with your fellow alumni, please write to the BUSM Alumni Association at 72 E. Concord Street, L120, Boston, MA 02118 or email us at

46 Boston University School of Medicine


AssistantHeatherSincerely,MiselisDeanfor Alumni Affairs and Friends,

To make a gift, please scan. Greetings Alumni

W e are looking back and mov ing forward at BUSM: Match Day and the White Coat and Commencement ceremonies were held in person for the first time in two years. As assistant dean for alumni affairs and a core medi cal educator, it truly felt great for me to celebrate student achievements in person and meet the par ents and loved ones of students I have taught and mentored over the years. As Associate Dean for Medical Education Priya Garg, MD, said on Match Day, the Class of 2022 went through clerkships and clinical rotations during the COVID pandemic and proved to be more than resilient. Their focus on social justice, gender, and health equity have produced collaborative suggestions for curriculum changes to advance medical education at BUSM BUSM will celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2023. As a way to begin marking the yearlong celebration, we have initiated the Alumni Story telling Project. Beginning with this issue of Boston University Medicine, alums will share glimpses into their lives and careers in medicine and sci ence. Patricia Roberts (MED’81), David Penson (MED’91), Ralph Sacco (MED’83), and Artemis Simopoulos (MED’56) share their stories to start the project off. Over the coming years, we look forward to more storytelling to connect alumni with peers as well as current students. As we continue to be inspired by our alumni, we also recognize that our students are doing amazing things. For example, Kendall Jenkins created an online space for students to share supportive messages with peers who struggle with mental health through If You’re Reading This, a national organization that strengthens student support networks “by having friends and peers come forward first and share the responsibility of being vulnerable.” Jenkins, a third-year student, said she created the BUSM chapter because her classmates and faculty members felt there was an “incredible sense of isolation” throughout the 2020–2021 school year when classes were held overAlongZoom.the same lines, during the pandemic recent graduates Isa Gell-Levey and Janet Monroe created an online Out and Ally List to help make connections among the school’s LGBTQIA+ community. The directory of clinicians, faculty, practitioners, researchers, staff, students, and trainees across the Medical Campus identify as LGBTQIA+ or as allies for the LGBTQIA+ commu nity and make themselves available to LGBTQIA+ students who are looking for mentors, guidance, and academic or nonacademic support. As always, we greatly appreciate your insights and service to the BUSM community. We are wishing you the best and look forward to staying connected with you!

Harold1968Ginzburg of Norman, Oklahoma, writes, “Living in Oklahoma is almost like living in the northeast, except more torna does, wind, earthquakes, and summers that can easily be over 100 degrees. Someone has yet to explain to me what “burnout” is. I spent more than 20 years in the US Navy/ Uniformed Public Health Services, about 20 years in private practice as a forensic psychiatrist in New Orleans dealing with industrial accidents, and the past dozen or so years working as a psychiatrist for the Cherokee Nation and then the VA in East Oklahoma and, since COVID, as a VA tele psychiatrist in West Texas. Maybe that is the answer: change jobs and seek out new challenges. My next challenge is figuring out what retirement is. My children did not follow me in medicine; I am very proud of them for their seeking their own career paths.”

S.1955Allan Hurvitz of Los Angeles, California, writes, “I am a retired thoracic surgeon. I live in Los Angeles, California, with my wife, Barbara.”

Robert1963 Boltax of San Diego, California, writes, “In 2023 it will be 60 years since we graduated from medical school. I retired from vascular surgery and the staffs of Yale New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St Raphael in 2003. Retirement didn’t suit me, so I took a position with Morgan Stanley, becoming a fully licensed financial advisor after a year of study. That was a six-year career followed by a second retire ment, which was then followed by becom ing a docent at the Yale Center for British Art. Four years ago, I moved to San Diego to be near my daughter, an OB/GYN pro fessor at UC San Diego, and her husband, a dermatologist and half-time adminis trator at Kaiser Permanente. My son is a pulmonologist at University of Utah and his wife is an internist working at the VA and specializing in addiction medicine.

James1972Brasic of Baltimore, Maryland, writes, “I enjoyed roping a bull in Chicago last summer. I continue conducting and teaching clinical translational research of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. I welcome opportunities to col laborate on ongoing and new projects with colleagues around the world. I look forward to renewing friendships and developing new ones.” Refugees at the Border, a painting by Robert Boltax, MD (MED’63)


Another son lives in Maryland—he escaped medicine—and my other daughter is a nurse in Connecticut. I have 10 grandchil dren and one great-grandson. Currently I am a docent at the San Diego Museum of Art; with all the studying about paintings I thought it a good idea to take drawing les sons and then, painting classes. I have a studio here in San Diego, and if I can figure out how to attach a photo to this email, I will include a painting, titled Refugees at the Border .”

Alvin1952Eden of New York, New York, writes, “As I approach my 70th anniversary BUSM reunion, I have recently published two books, my memoirs, A Look Back, and my favorite dirty jokes, An Anthology of Filth Added to my previous seven childcare books this equals nine, not a bad number to stop. I would very much like to hear from any and all classmates of the great class of 1952.”

Daniel1956Powers of Potomac, Maryland, writes, “Even during the worst part of the pandemic, I was less afraid than at the start of my senior year at BUSM. My first assign ment was in 1955 at the infectious disease hospital in the midst of the polio epidemic in Boston. I was not vaccinated and there was no test for polio immunity. One of my jobs was to disimpact patients whose stool was loaded with the virus; I slept at the hospital and woke each morning checking my mus cular ability. Though later in life I did receive the Salk and even the oral Sabin vaccine, I knew it was not needed, as I must have been immune already.”


Gaudrault of Topsfield, Massachusetts, writes, “I have had a wonderful retirement after my years in pediatric practice in Topsfield, Massachusetts, that followed my internship and residency at the Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Children. I wrote a book in French with the help of a French friend that was published in Paris in 2010 titled Deux ans en Amérique. I subsequently translated the story into English; this version is titled Two Years in America and was published in Paris in 2013. I have traveled extensively with my wife and have delighted in following the progress of my six children in their own careers and of my four grandchildren in their young lives as they move along in their schooling. BUSM has served me well. It has been a great ride and the journey continues.”

Gilbert1957 Norwood of Peabody, Massachusetts, writes, “Retired pediatrician, living in a senior living facility with lots of young older folks in Peabody, Massachusetts. Still on com mittees at Beverly Hospital. Play trumpet in five dance/jazz bands five times a week and have met some fine musicians and have lots of fun. Also, there is a small music group here. I miss my wife, who passed 10 years ago, but I am surrounded and supported by great new friends. Very great, active place that makes you feel welcomed and alive. Still, lots of love for BU School of Medicine and the alumni! Thank you.”


Greg Cheung of San Jose, California, writes, “Retired from Palo Alto Medical Foundation Family Practice Department in 2013. My retire ment vocation has been visual artist. I had the opportunity to paint the utility box across the street from eBay headquarters in Campbell, a mural representing the City of Saratoga at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and a mural for the library renovation at the San Jose Masonic Center.”

The medical therapy of Crohn’s dis ease was completely altered by his seminal paper that appeared in the May 1980 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Treatment of Crohn’s Disease with 6-mercaptopurine. A longterm, randomized, double-blind study.” His bibliography encompasses every aspect of the chronic and debilitating diseases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In addition to being a bedside scientist, Dr. Korelitz was a kind and car ing physician who empathized with his patients and spent hours by their side, feeling their anxiety and pain and work ing to heal them. Patients were devoted to him and he kept in touch with many of them right up until his passing. Burton Korelitz lived in Manhattan and enjoyed a country home in Westchester, New York, with his wife of 67 years, Ann, a family therapist. Ann and their daugh ters, Jean and Nina, are greatly comforted that he was so fulfilled by his life in medi cine and left so great a legacy.

Bruce Shapiro of Owings Mills, Maryland, writes, “This is my first class note since I graduated in 1972. Needless to say, there is a lot to update. Following graduation, I did my internship and residency at what is now Children’s Hospital National Medical Center. The next stop on my return to New York was in Baltimore, where I did a fellowship in child development at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. My journey ended there because I found that you did not have to wait in line for ball game tickets. I have been in Baltimore since 1975 and have focused on teaching neurodevelopmental dis abilities. I was the director of the Maternal and IN Memoriam Burton I. Korelitz, MD, passed away on January 8, 2022. Dr. Korelitz was proud of having graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine, where he earned the privilege of becom ing a member of Alpha Omega Alpha through his scholarship and leadership among his colleagues. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on June 30, 1926, he left home to attend Duke University, returning to New England for medical school and a fellowship in gastroenterology. He trav eled to New York for his internship and medical residency and, after GI training, settled there, raising a family, doing clini cal research, writing medical papers, pub lishing a series of books, and eventually becoming a world-renowned expert in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. He served as chair of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation National Scientific Advisory Committee and was elected president of the American College of Gastroenterology while receiving many honorary lecture ships, titles, and accolades, among them the BUSM Distinguished Alumni Award. It was during his 1953–54 fellowship at Beth Israel in Boston with Benjamin M. Banks, MD, and Louis Dressel, MD, that he first became interested in patients with colitis and ileitis, later working with Burrill Crohn, MD. He did his fellowship in gas troenterology before the advent of flexible endoscopy and colonoscopy and was later mentored by Jerome Waye, MD, a fellow BUSM graduate. As was the custom during an era when full-time academic physicians were rare, Dr. Korelitz entered solo private prac tice, specializing in colitis. He joined the staff of Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, subsequently becoming director of gas troenterology while maintaining close ties with his colleagues at Mount Sinai and maintaining a teaching appoint ment there. During this time, Dr. Korelitz published over 300 scientific papers and wrote and edited several books on inflammatory bowel disease; he also became a full professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Revered by his many GI fellows, many of whom have authored papers published in peer-reviewed jour nals, Dr. Korelitz maintained contact with them throughout his retirement.

48 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM Alumni CLASS NOTES CLASS NOTES

James Brasic stands next to a bull statue. A mural painted by Greg Cheung, MD (MED’72).

Johan1978G. (Hans) Blickman of Hingham, Massachusetts, writes, “Semiretired, I still consult in, among others, Suriname, Iceland, and Sri Lanka on imaging depart ment workflow/QA matters. Wrote a few books, many chapters on pediatric imaging as well, while active as chair of radiology at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester New York, from 2009 to 2019 and Radboud UMC Nijmegen, in my native home the Netherlands, from 2000 to 2009. Just recently made honorary member of the Sri Lankan College of Radiologists. I guess, slowing down slowly!”

Meredith Halks and Terry Miller, MD (MED’75), left, and family.


Steve Rosenberg of Torrance, California, writes, “Still practicing OB/GYN in Torrance and living in Redondo Beach. Slowing down a bit, however. My oldest son (Josh) is finish ing his third year at Temple Medical School; middle son (Kyle) is in his third year at Northeastern School of Pharmacy and living on Boylston Street, a five-minute walk from where I lived while in Boston. My youngest daughter (Naima) graduated from UC Santa Barbara and is living at home while doing pre requisites for nursing school.”

Child Health Bureau Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disorders program, established the first Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–approved residency in neurodevelopmental disabilities, and am a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. Currently, I am trying to reduce my hours to 20 per week, editing a textbook on neurodevelopmental disabilities and spend ing more time with my wife of 51 years, three kids, and six grandchildren.”


Lauren1980and Keith Lerner of Terrace Plantation, Florida, write, “Still living hap pily ever after in South Florida. Keith sold his practice and remains working there; Laurie retired due to the pandemic and is loving the new life, painting, piano, volunteering, writ ing a novel, and doing medical legal work. We have one grandchild and one on the way. What a joy!”

Ruth Strauss of Los Angeles, California, writes, “While I would never wish this scourge on anyone, COVID has afforded me a welcome respite from 30 years of cardiol ogy, critical care, etc. I’m doing pared-back telehealth and staying out of my hospital

William1973 Kelley of Henrico, Virginia, writes, “Last October I was honored to receive the Excel Award from the Society of Laparoendoscopic and Robotic Surgeons, given annually to a surgeon who has made pioneering advances in the fields of laparo scopic and/or robotic surgery.”

Meredith1975 Halks & Terry Miller of Lahaina, Hawaii, write, “Aloha, Classmates! Terry & I are now semiretired. We sold the house in California that we built 37 years ago and moved to a house that we just built on Maui with views of the ocean and rainbows almost every day. Besides each of us working remotely about 10 hours per week, I spend time gardening and cooking; Terry swims and snorkels. The only downside is that our son Zach and his family moved to Florida, so we are very far away from our two delight ful granddaughters! Our daughter, Elana, is a psychiatrist (like her dad) and practices integrative psychiatry in Los Angeles. Terry & I have both had very fulfilling careers, his steady (in private practice and associate director and now, consultant for the Stanford VA Alzheimer’s Center) and mine always changing (neuropath to pharma to molecu lar cancer diagnostics). For me, it has always felt like a blessing to be a doctor entrusted with patient care and well-being, even if only remotely as a pathologist. We wish every one our best and hope to see you all in a few years at our 50th class reunion.”

Philip1977Barie of East Northport, New York, writes, “I retired in June 2021 from Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan as profes sor of surgery (with tenure) and professor of medical ethics in medicine. I spent my entire career—44 years counting surgery residency and time in the lab—at Cornell, where I prac ticed acute care surgery (trauma, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care), a subspecialty to which I committed before it existed formally. My research focused on the immunobiology of host defenses and clinically, on surgical infectious diseases, while I maintained a full clinical load. I espe cially enjoyed teaching and estimate that I heard at least 250,000 patient presenta tions by residents and students through the years; they rewarded me with five teach ing awards. Along the way, I was invited to lecture worldwide more than 400 times and was published about 850 times, including six textbooks. One textbook, Surgical Intensive Care, was recognized as the “Best New Book-Medical Science” by the Association of American Publishers. Other awards include the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the BUSM Distinguished Alumnus Award. I was named a Master of Critical Care Medicine by the American College of Critical Care Medicine and a Master Surgeon Educator by the American College of Surgeons and was honored to be elected president of five medical professional societies in three disci plines, including the New York State Society of Surgeons, the Halsted Society, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the Surgical Infection Society. Pro bono, I serve as the executive director of the Surgical Infection Society Foundation for Research and Education. I’ve retired to Long Island with my wife Lynn. As professor emeritus of surgery at Cornell, I teach occasionally through Zoom, still enjoy writing, and mentor the 300-plus residents and fellows I trained. I play golf (poorly) and enjoy (greatly) our Labrador retrievers. All in all, not a bad run for the kid from the last row in the lecture hall.”

Schatar Sapphira White Collier, daughter of Cynthia White, MD (MED’80).

Jordan1981 Leff of Sharon, Massachusetts, writes, “Thirty-seven years after graduation in 1981 and pediatric residency at Brown from 1981–1984, I was upset to learn that pediatricians were being paid about 30% less than other primary care docs within the organization, so now I work at Village Pediatrics in Brockton with an old friend and feel valued and fairly paid. I am enjoying work and will continue for five or 10 or more years if it suits me. I hope to see classmates in the future and stay safe and healthy.”

Robert Lincer, MD (MED’81) performs bedside tracheostomies in the ICU early in the pandemic.

Robert Lincer of Stamford, Connecticut, writes, “Three years ago I started at Garnet Medical Center in Middletown, New York, as program director for general surgery resi dency and the director of surgical services. Garnet Medical Center is the first new hos pital built in New York State in 20 years. It is a great opportunity to build new services and impart almost 40 years of knowledge and experience (as well as use my MBA) to improve healthcare for this community. Being north of New York City, we were hit just like New York City by COVID. I’ve attached a picture from early on in the pandemic, when I would perform bedside tracheostomies in the ICU. As we expand our robotics program, it’s hard to believe how far we have come from the open surgery we did as students. Fortunately, I am able to make time to see my two grandsons and continue almost 25 years as a summer camp physician.”

Cynthia White of Las Vegas, Nevada, writes, “We made it. My journey took me from a steady path towards pediatrics to psychiatry. I have recently been a medical director on a psychiatry unit for adolescents and then, children. I work with adults, inpatients and outpatients as well. I still live and breathe the passion of healing and helping. The picture I have included is my daughter, Hottie to her fans, and Schatar Sapphira White Collier to the rest. Schatar became famous after she tried to cook a chicken in a microwave on VH1 dating show; she used to hang out at the school with Kim Holland’s daughter Attica Holland Edwards and they remain friends to this day. Thank you BUSM for continuing the strong legacy of medicine. My mother Flora Belle White graduated with an MSW from Boston University in 1974 at age 53.”

Stephen1982 McColgan of Newport Beach, California, writes, “After 20 years of general surgery, I founded and am chief medical officer of Vivera Biosciences based in Newport Beach, California. I obtained my MBA at UCI and have faculty Andres Costas-Centivany, MD (MED’84) at the Hoover Dam.


50 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM Alumni CLASS NOTES because it has been full of COVID and I am actually in the higher risk group due to my level of ‘sophistication.’ So, I’m getting to do everything I missed all these years like politi cal stuff, films, and being a news junkie. If this is what retirement is like, it will suit me fine, though I’m not planning to retire yet. I miss all of you—no one would believe that one of the most fun times of my life was med school. Our class was just the best; humorous, irreverent, but committed as well. Take care everyone— stay healthy and I hope we will be able to reune in not too long.”

Jennifer Mieres, MD (MED’86), right, with fellow alumnae Stacey E. Rosen, MD (MED’85), middle, and Lori M. Russo (LAW’85), left.

Charlotte1991 Grayson of Fayetteville, Georgia, writes, “Investigator in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, released online in December 2021.”

Nelson Branco, MD (MED’95) pauses for a sandwich break during a bike ride.


Andres1984 Costas-Centivany of Las Vegas, Nevada, writes, “I have retired from my 29-year career in anesthesiology and pain management, including 11 years as depart ment chair at the Las Vegas Level I Trauma Center and County Hospital. I had the privi lege to serve on medical missions to Mexico. I am reexploring the arts and keeping fit through yoga and swimming. Barbara and I feel profound gratitude for the precious gift of a fulfilling and useful life.”

appointments at University of California Riverside School of Medicine and California University of Science and Medicine.”


Jennifer1986 Mieres of New York, New York, writes, “This year marks my twenty-ninth year as a cardiologist and my tenth as a member of the Katz Institute for Women’s Health (KIWH) at Northwell Health system in New York. I am truly honored to work with my dear friend and colleague, fellow cardiolo gist and BUSM 1985 alum Stacey E. Rosen, MD, who leads the KIWH. We continue to work together to advance women’s health and provide women with the knowledge and tools to improve their heart health. With Lori M. Russo, JD (LAW’85), we have coauthored the recently published book, Heart Smarter for Women: Six Weeks to a Healthier Heart. For more info, visit and Looking forward to our next class reunion. Cheers!”

Jai1993Parekh of Towaco, New Jersey, writes, “Coming up on 30 years since graduation and grateful for our education. After a nice stint as chief medical officer of Allergan Eye Care and the AbbVie transaction, I continue to maintain a boutique eye care practice in ophthalmology, focusing on surgery and cor nea/glaucoma. Still enjoy the macro of medi cine with hospital leadership, for-profit and nonprofit boards, private equity, and fund raising! Love teaching at NYEEI/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and living the ‘emptynester’ syndrome with Swati and our two dogs. Kids are off working hard and building impactful careers. I see Rob Rothman a lot and would love to see more of you in 2023!”

Annie1987Fine of Brooklyn, New York, writes, “Hello to all! Who knew back in 1987 that I would find myself front and center as a public health surveillance and informatics practitioner, managing data while battling the pandemic in New York City? Lives take strange turns! Now I am helping to improve our national public health data infrastruc ture, working at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. All exciting and necessary but looking forward to kicking back soon. I have two kids, 21-year-old twins in college, and a wonderful partner. We live in Brooklyn and just got over mild cases of COVID like most other people I know. Lovely community and neighborhood and many friends. Feeling very lucky but certainly wor ried on the political and environmental front. May you all be happy and well, in the deep est sense of the words.”

Edward1990 Gosselin of Bridgewater, New Jersey, writes, “Hello, all. After nearly a third of a century practicing emergency medicine, I continue to practice as a locum tenens provider. The last of our children just moved out, but all live within 10 minutes of us and Gerianne and I have our first grandchild, which is awesome! After many years as an employee and emergency department direc tor, I am also working as an emergency med icine expert witness, which keeps me busy. We are still based in New Jersey, although I currently spend half my time working in Arizona.”

Kalman1983 Watsky of Woodbridge, Connecticut, writes, “Thirty-plus years in private practice of dermatology in New Haven have been flying by. Despite the pan demic and my senior status, I’m very much engaged with work and grateful to be seeing patients in a new office. Our children are both partnered and we’re hoping for grand children but not sitting still. Life is too pre cious and short.”

Nelson1995 Branco of San Anselmo, California, writes, “It’s been 27 years since I moved from Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area for residency at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, and except for three years living and working on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, I’ve been in the Bay Area the whole time, working in different settings, including an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) in urgent care and as a pediatric hospital ist. For the past 16 years I’ve worked at and served as the managing partner of an inde pendent pediatric practice in Marin County. It’s been an interesting challenge, especially during the pandemic, with lots of changes

Dorette2002Noorhasan of Dallas, Texas, writes, “I am truly excited to share that I have pub lished two books. Miracle Baby: A Fertility Doctor’s Fight for Motherhood documents my journey as both a fertility doctor and patient hoping to have a child. In this book, I describe what it really means to stand in my patients’ shoes. My second book, The Fertility Manual: Reproductive Options for Your Family, equips patients with the basic fertil ity knowledge they need to ask their doctors the right questions and feel empowered in their own care.”

Samuel1998 Frank of Wellesley, Massachusetts, writes, “In March 2022, I was elected chair of the American Academy of Neurology Experimental Neurotherapeutics section!”

Jesse Sethi, MD (MED’99) and his three children.

Jesse1999Sethi of Paradise Valley, Arizona, writes, “After 15 years of private practice, I retired in July 2021 from the first and only job I took post-residency. After graduation I went on to complete cardiology and electrophysi ology (EP) fellowships at New York University in 2006, after which I joined a high-volume single specialty private practice in Arizona. I was blessed to perform over 10,000 EP procedures (device implants and cardiac ablations) over 15 years, serving some of the sweetest and friendliest patients I could have ever known. I am now spending time with my wife and three kids as well as spending more time on my passions, which include traveling the world, skiing, and scuba diving.”

52 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM Alumni CLASS NOTES over the years. I’ve also been involved with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in various ways and am currently the presi dent for AAP California Chapter One. Nell and I have three children, a 21-year-old who is graduating from college this year and twin 17-year-olds who are graduating from high school. Living in Northern California means I get to ride my bike outside year-round, and I’m coming back to Massachusetts in August to ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge for the sixth time and enjoy some Fluffernutters. I’d love to reconnect with my BUSM class mates and hope that everyone is doing well.”

Patricia Ronald Riba of Corona del Mar, California, writes, “Our team, together with Serving Kids Hope and a host of incredible people from the entertainment world, has cre ated Dr. Patricia’s Health Club: Being Healthy from A–Z (DrPHC) to help young children of three to seven years—and also those with special needs—begin to heal and thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic. A flock of feathered friends helps us promote nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, literacy, health, science, nature, and math while fostering social-emotional development; content spans multiple mediums. Our vision of inspiring a healthier generation of children is more impor tant than ever with the collision of the obesity and COVID-19 pandemics, which are looming over the physical, social, mental, and academic health of our children’s futures. We aim to catapult the knowledge of our highly skilled, compassionate, resourceful, and successful team beyond the four walls of a medical office. This transmedia delivery of health promotion will break down inequities in access to care and expand our reach to children and families in need. Being Healthy from A–Z is an enter taining, inspiring, thoughtfully developed, and yet simple, scalable way to empower young children, with core materials (including ACEs buffers) that we already know work. Frederick Douglass once said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than repair broken adults.’ Every gen eration deserves a healthy future, and the time to help children eat, exercise, cope, sleep, and learn is now. We are finishing our set for pro duction of our vignettes and sewing original puppets this month. Content is free, so feel free to share with any children in this age group who want to learn how to use the letters of the alphabet to develop some healthy habits. Did I mention that healthy hab its give you superpowers?”

Ronda Rockett of Wellesley, Massachusetts, writes, “After practicing family medicine for 12 years, I decided to make a change. I thought I was going to stay home with my three young children but I found something even better. For the past seven years, I’ve been coaching CrossFit out of my garage and absolutely loving it! We have approximately 50 members and every one of them is like extended family. I’m still in the wellness industry but now my work is even more focused on prevention. Come see us sometime at CrossFit Launchpad.”

Patricia Ronald Riba, MD (MED’98) with the Dr. Patricia’s Health Club: Being Healthy from A–Z, which helps young children aged 3–7, and also those with special needs, heal and thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic.


Davis of Riverview, Florida, writes, “I am a board-certified OB/GYN for Women’s Care Florida currently working in Brandon, Florida. I am also core faculty for the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Healthcare/University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine OB/GYN Residency Program at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital.”

Tyler2015Robinson of Albany, New York, writes, “After five years of living in beautiful upstate New York, I’m about to graduate from general surgery residency at Albany Medical Center. My wife Basia and I just welcomed a new baby boy, Tadeusz (“Tadek”), who is already infatuated with his indefatigable three-yearold brother, Henryk (“Henyo”). This sum mer, we’re moving to Portland, Oregon, for a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Oregon Health & Science University. We can’t wait for adventures in the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest!” n

Brian2006Gill of Pembroke, Massachusetts, writes, “I am currently working as a gastroenterologist at South Suburban Gastroenterology in Weymouth, Massachusetts.” Genevieve Sweet of Granite Bay, California, writes, “Busy urology practice in northern California. Recently elected chief of surgery at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, a level 2 trauma center, and starting a surgical resi dency this summer. Three sons and busy on the school board and their swim team board of trustees. Just got a Lab puppy to round things out!”




Lauren Davis, MD (MED’13)

Anthony2012 Walls of Ventura, California, writes, “I have been working as a family doc in Ventura, California, since completing my residency there. I currently work both as a hospitalist for the local county health care system and as a primary care doctor in a nonprofit clinic that my wife, a family nurse practitioner, and I cofounded in 2019. The clinic provides free primary healthcare to victims and survivors of human traf ficking and domestic violence in our local community. It has been such a rewarding experience. I love to spend time with my wife, three kids, and dog, and train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). In fact, I have taken such a liking to BJJ that I recently wrote a justpublished children’s picture book titled Rolling into Bed about using it to help kids face their fears and learn about respect.”

Sweet, MD (MED’06) and her family.

Jason2007Hinman of Porter Ranch, California, writes, “In 2021, was appointed vice chair of research and associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Board-certified in adult and vascular neurology and a core member of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center, treating patients with stroke and vas cular brain injuries. NIH-funded laboratory works on advancing diagnostics and thera peutics to treat vascular cognitive impair ment and dementia and is also the founder and president of Sage Cerebrovascular Diagnostics, Inc., a next-generation diag nostics start-up company focused on brain health based in Los Angeles.”


Two books published by Dorette Noorhasan, MD

Starting that day, Roberts began telling everyone that she wanted to be a surgeon. After graduation, she was drawn to colon and rectal surgery, a field she says requires both a good sense of humor and an eye for innovation. For the past 33 years she has worked at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, in the division of colon and rectal surgery, the center’s first woman senior staff surgeon and chair (she previously served 11 years as chair of the division of colon and rectal surgery before becoming chair of the department of surgery from 2012 to 2019).


Boston remainsUniversityprominent in Roberts’ life. She met her husband at BUSM, her daughter recently graduated from BU with a degree in takingthetheanthropology,biologicalandshecontinuestostudyatUniversityusingevergreenstudentprogram,recentlyaclassaboutthehistoryoftheSupremeCourt.


Patricia Roberts (MED’81) Patricia Roberts, MD (MED’81) thinks that surgery is the fun part of the day.

“It was interesting going back to campus after having been there many, many years ago, and seeing all the unbelievable changes,” Roberts says.

“You know, no one wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I want to be a urologist’,” notes David Penson, MD (MED’91), chair of urology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He jokes that to this day, his mother wishes he’d gone into plastic surgery.

“There’s something truly magical about the operating room,” the former chair of surgery at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center explains. “It’s truly a privilege to care for patients. The trust patients have always amazed me . . . it’s really, really wonderful.”Robertsdiscovered her passion for medicine at a young age, when her firstgrade teacher brought in a cow’s heart to class. Intrigued, she started sketching and studying the organ. “It sounds really weird,” she admits. “But I was just fascinated by the anatomy of it.”

Lahey’s chair emeritus of surgery, Roberts is a fellow at Stanford University for the 2021–2022 academic year. She was the only woman in her program when she graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1981; growing up with three brothers, she was familiar with the feeling. While she generally felt supported by BUSM staff and her fellow students, there were inevitably some challenges. During one hospital rotation during her residency, changing rooms were designated “surgeon” and “nurse” in the wholly incorrect assumption that all surgeons were male. “There was the nurses’ dressing room and the surgeons’ dressing room,” Roberts recalls. “So where do you getShechanged?”alsotook questions about her age in stride, replying to any hesitation over a young surgeon with, “Yeah, I’m the youngest one—I can go get the old guy with shaky hands if you want!”

“What I always tell people is, the patients remind me of my father,” he says. “I connect with them. I feel like I can talk to these people, because it’s like talking to my dad, and I want to help people like my dad.”

54 Boston University School of Medicine

Although she is originally from New York and always intended to return there after graduation, her affinity for Lahey has kept her in Massachusetts. “It’s really an incredible team of people. I love the people that I worked with and I continued to find it a stimulating and wonderful place to practice,” she says. Her husband, a trauma and acute care surgeon, also works at the hospital. She also explains that from the first day she set foot in Boston, she became attached to it and over the past three decades, that hasn’t changed: “I really love the city.” n David Penson (MED’91)

AlumniAlumni Alumni Stories

Boston University remains prominent in Roberts’ life. She met her husband at BUSM, her daughter recently graduated from BU with a degree in biological anthropology, and she continues to study at the University using the evergreen student program, recently taking a class about the history of the Supreme Court.

Ralph Sacco (MED’83) When Ralph Sacco, MD (MED’83) learned he’d been accepted to Boston University School of Medicine, he thought it was a prank. He’d already been accepted to Rutgers University in his home state of New Jersey, and had even attended student orientation.

“I recall being awoken by my father who said, ‘There’s some dean on the phone from BU’,” the neurologist said. “When I picked it up, I thought it was somebody playing a joke on me.”

As an undergraduate, Sacco was interested in science and studied bioelectrical engineering with the goal of attending medical school; he became interested in neurology during a workstudy position at BUSM with Philip Wolf, MD, one of the principal investigators at the Framingham Heart Study and a BUSM faculty neurologist. “That’s when I was first exposed to neurology,” Sacco recalls. “Then I got involved with the Framingham Heart Study, studying stroke, which ultimately became my profession.”WhenSacco moved into his residency at Columbia University, he began working with a more diverse population (the town of Framingham was predominantly white) and eventually started researching racial

Penson received the American Urological Association’s Gold Cytoscope award in 2006, given to urologists who make outstanding contributions to the field.

yourewardingandbetweenrelationshipurologistpatientisbothandchallenging:“Patientsarereallydependentontogetthemthroughaverydifficulttimeand . . . tohelpdeliverbothbadnewsandgood.”

SUMMER 2022 | 55 BUSM Alumni

Penson explains that the

“That’s really what I want to be remembered for, the people I train, because that’s your legacy,” he says.

Penson explains that the relationship between urologist and patient is both rewarding and challenging: “Patients are really dependent on you to get them through a very difficult time and . . . to help deliver both bad news and good.”


Penson, who originally resisted a medical career path, recalls, “When I went to college, I tried to do everything but medicine.” He started as a psych major and city planning minor. “In the end, it was something I really wanted to do. I always felt like it was a good way to give back. You know, you want to go to work every day and impact people.”

Penson, who received the Veterans Administration (VA) career development award in 2001, recalls the relationship between BUSM and the VA hospitals as being particularly influential in his own life and career. “I love the fact that we went to the VA. It teaches not just clinical care in a different population, but I also think it teaches a different sort of compassion and way of looking at things,” he Improvingsays.the quality of life for his patients has always been his priority. As director of the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research at Vanderbilt’s Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Penson helped develop a standardized set of patient-reported outcome measures for the International Consortium for Health Outcome’s advanced prostate cancer panel. He says that clinicians and surgeons should focus not only on “prolonging the quantity of life, but on maintaining a patient’s quality of life as well.” In 2007, Penson received the American Urological Association’s G. James Gallagher Health Policy Scholar award, given to urologists with a demonstrated commitment to health policy.Although Penson hasn’t lived in Boston since he attended BUSM, he often returns to watch his beloved Boston Red Sox play at historic Fenway Park. Despite being a native New Yorker, Penson describes himself as a “rabid Red Sox fan” and every summer, he embarks on a baseball-watching pilgrimage with his son, who shares the “disease that is Red Sox mania”—which Penson says he inherited from his own father. “We went to see the Sox when they played the Dodgers in the World Series,” he says. Of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his family, including his wife, three children, and his work family. Penson refers to his mentees and colleagues as part of his “family tree.”

“When I do surgery, I help one person. If I train another surgeon, I’m helping all of their patients as well.”

The son of a restauranteur, Sacco was the first in his family to attend medical school. His aunt, who worked in a physician’s office, told him stories about what it was like to work with a physician. “She was planting the first seed in my head about medicine.”

Upon graduating from Boston University School of Medicine in 1991, he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a surgeon because of the long and unpredictable hours. “But you know, after I tried surgery, I thought that I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.”

56 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM AlumniAlumni Alumni Stories disparities in stroke risk. The founding principal investigator of the Northern Manhattan Study, he coauthored a paper in 1991 on the high rates of stroke among African American and Hispanic residents in northern Manhattan. He also helped launch the “Power to End Stroke” initiative with the American Heart Association, which focused on increasing awareness for stroke symptoms in the African American community; Black Americans have twice the risk of mortality from stroke as white Americans. “It’s critical to this day—not enough of the public knows the warning signs for stroke like they know heart attack,” Sacco says. Sacco’s experience with the Framingham Heart Study increased his interest in public health. “Although I enjoyed the clinical practice of neurology, I’ve really felt driven to try to make broader contributions to our knowledge of preventative neurology,” he Insays.2010, Sacco was the first neurologist to become president of the American Heart Association (AHA), forging a partnership between the fields of cardiology and neurology. “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” he says. “We’ve gotten better at keeping people alive and free of heart disease— the brain was the next frontier for the AHA to protect and they have now fully embraced the concept of improving brain health.” He also served as president of the American Academy of Neurology from 2017 to 2019 and continued to advance the concept of preventative neurology, address neuro-disparities, and expand the pipeline of medical students pursuing careers in neurology.

In 2022, Sacco also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Florida-Puerto Rico collaboration to reduce stroke disparities. The project, which started with a National Institutes of Health grant, grew into a statewide stroke registry that collects data from 160 hospitals around Florida and focuses on reducingimprovementqualityandstrokedisparities.

Sacco is currently the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, Miller Professor of Neurology, Public Health Sciences, Human Genetics and Neurosurgery, and the executive director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of InMedicine.the15years that Sacco has chaired the department of neurology, he’s doubled the faculty and made it one of the largest training programs in the country. He believes in the power of team science and collaborative leadership both in his research projects and in running a department. “I love it when people come and visit,” he says. “They all notice the camaraderie and how well we get along, and I like to take credit for some of that because my approach has always been based on distributed leadership and encouraging collaborations.”

“Boston is the Athens of the US.” That’s what Artemis Simopoulos, MD (MED’56) was told when she was a student at Barnard College in New York. Her advisor told the native of Greece that she should consider going to summer school at Boston University, which eventually led her to Boston University School of SimopoulosMedicine.traveled from Greece to attend Barnard when she was just 16. Although she came from a family of physicians, “All the other doctors in our family were men,” she says. “I was the only girl who expressed interest in medicine.” At the time, there were few research labs in Greece, many of them having been destroyed by bombs during World War II. The number of research opportunities in the United States appealed to her.

In 2022, Sacco also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Florida-Puerto Rico collaboration to reduce stroke disparities. The project, which started with a National Institutes of Health grant, grew into a statewide stroke registry that collects data from 160 hospitals around Florida and focuses on quality improvement and reducing stroke disparities. “It’s been gratifying to see the Florida stroke registry grow,” he says. Personally, Sacco describes himself as a “beach person” who doesn’t miss the New England weather. “My fellow neurology residents at Columbia made fun of me because I always had a tan,” he remembers. “They called me the George Hamilton of neurology.”

n Artemis Simopoulos (MED’56)

The call to medicine continues in her family; one of her three daughters is a physician and a granddaughter has expressed interest in the field as well. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in medicine not to hesitate to go into it,” Simopoulos says. “BUSM is one of the best medical schools in the country. I felt that I had a first-rate medical education and that I could compete and accomplish my goals even in the highly competitive environment of the NIH, where there were only two other women at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the time. I think medicine is the best profession.” n

“The idea of coming to a place that would offer a great deal of knowledge and opportunities for research was very exciting,” she recalls. Simopoulos studied pediatrics first—at the time, most of the pediatricians in Greece were women and she’d always had an interest in children. When she came to BUSM in 1952, there were 68 men in her program and just four women. At the first-year banquet, Simopoulos and Ruth Alexander sat across from two classmates, Robert Berger and Alan Pinkerson; the four decided to work together in the anatomy lab. On weekends, Simopoulos would dine out at Greek restaurants with other Hellenic students from Harvard, MIT, and BU. Simopoulos and Alan Pinkerson married on January 10, 1957, six months after graduation. In 1961 she became assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine, with appointments in both obstetrics and pediatrics and her focus started shifting to endocrinology, which was mostly ignored in pediatrics when her career began. By the time Simopoulos became the director of the newborn nursery at George Washington University hospital, however, she encountered some children with congenital anomalies, others with low blood sugar levels, and still others with thyroid disease, prompting her to investigate the endocrine system more thoroughly. “I began to think more in terms of metabolism in neonatal life,” she remembers. Later, she would leave neonatology and look at lifelong metabolism. “I realized that if I really wanted to understand diseases throughout the life cycle, I couldn’t limit myself to just neonatology or pediatrics,” she says. She became an endocrinology researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the endocrinology and hypertension branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—the largest endocrinology lab in the country, with eight metabolic beds—where she studied how food and nutrition influenced metabolism. “We had children and adolescents, then adults and the elderly,” she says. “So, you could see the development—or evolution—of a disease. And I found it very exciting.”

She has written several books on nutrition, as well as a television series called Eat Well Be Well . Her most recent book is The Healthiest Diet for You: Scientific Aspects

Simopoulos has received numerous honors and awards, including the first Presidential Award for Studies in the Field of Obesity and Weight Control, the Humanitarian Award from the American College of Nutrition, and the Great Thinkers Award Lecture at Hunter College in New York City for her work on the omega-6/omega-3 ratio.

Simopoulos believes that to bring the scientific information to the public in the areas of food and physical activity, people need to spend more time understanding the science involved in their healthrelated decisions.

Simopoulos chaired the Nutrition Coordinating Committee of NIH for nine years. “Increasing public awareness about nutrition is a priority. We need to make sure that the food industry is producing foods that are consistent with those which we evolved,” she explains. She studied the Mediterranean diet extensively and specifically, the Crete diet, about which she wrote in scientific journals as well as in her book The Omega Diet , which has been translated into 12 languages. “It’s just a matter of putting more emphasis on public policy so we don’t end up with a food supply that is detrimental to health,” sheDuringsays. her tenure, the committee participated in the development of the Federal Dietary Guidelines, which are continuously updated every five years by the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.Shefounded the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids and the International Society for Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics, further expanding her interest in genetic variation and nutrition, as well as the role of nutrients in gene expression. Her research focused on the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Upon leaving the NIH in 1989, she established the nonprofit Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health, of which she is president.

Simopoulos has received numerous honors and awards, including the first Presidential Award for Studies in the Field of Obesity and Weight Control, the Humanitarian Award from the American College of Nutrition, and the Great Thinkers Award Lecture at Hunter College in New York City for her work on the omega-6/ omega-3 ratio.

SUMMER 2022 | 57 BUSM Alumni

Most recently, the American Nutrition Association Awards Committee presented her with the Alexander and Mildred Seelig Award, which recognizes a highly esteemed scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of nutrient research.

Outright gift of an asset

Charitable gift annuity No matter what happens with the economy, your payments are secure and fixed at a rate that will never change. You will receive a tax-saving charitable deduction, and a portion of your payments could be tax-free.

Here are some ways you can turn tax dollars into charitable dollars and support the cause at BU that matters to you.

58 Boston University School of Medicine BUSM Alumni

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the BU Planned Giving O ce at 800-645-2347 or

Invest in Boston University’s future with a planned gift—and reduce your tax burden today.

By making a gift of stock, real estate, or other appreciated assets, you may avoid paying capital-gains tax on the transfer and receive a tax-saving charitable deduction.

Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) Persons aged 70 1/2 or older can direct up to $100,000 from an IRA directly to a qualified charity like BU. This may lower your income and your taxes.

To learn more about how you can make a charitable gift in your will to support BU, contact Boston University Planned Giving at 800-645-2347 or, or visit

Education is a gift. Pass it on.

“BU had a wonderful faculty, and provided an incredible clinical experience, especially at Boston City Hospital, which at the time was a mecca for teaching,” he says. Back then, he explains, the city’s three top medical schools all had medical services there. “I learned from the greats,” he says.

For Robert Novelline, attending Boston University School of Medicine set him on a career path that embraced his twin passions: biology and the visual arts.

An accomplished artist, Novelline grew up in the Boston area and studied at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as a teenager. Early on, he thought he might become a painter.

Now, he says, he wants to give back, so he has made a bequest intention to endow a scholarship for a fourth-year student with a preference for those specializing in radiology.

Attending BU led to a fantastic career that’s not only been successful, but brought me great joy and happiness.”

“And then, in the third year at medical school, when I read my first radiology book and learned about the importance of radiology in clinical care, I realized that this was the career for me because it put my two great loves together: the visual and the science.”

Novelline is a professor emeritus of radiology at Harvard Medical School and former director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Emergency Radiology, among other leading roles. He is also the author of numerous books, including the fourth through seventh editions of Squire’s Fundamentals of Radiology, the world’s most popular radiology textbook for medical students.

“BU made all of this possible,” he says. “For the first time in my life, I could focus on medicine, which was my goal in life and my dream.”

Robert Novelline (MED’69) A BEQUEST INTENTION

USNonprofitPostage PAID Boston MA Permit No. 1839 72 East Concord Street Boston, Massachusetts 02118 50th Reunion Celebration Alumni Family Picnic and Games Student-led Tours of BUSM Reunion Reception SEPT. 30 Calendar 2022 OCT. 1