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boston university school of medicine

To Educate and Discover The Campaign to Transform Boston University School of Medicine


Boston University School of Medicine today faces a rare opportunity for self-definition. We need bold, sustainable, and innovative strategies to thrive at this time of dramatic advances in science and historic changes in health care. With our partner, Boston Medical Center, we must lead in developing models to provide exceptional evidence-based medical care at the lowest cost. We must improve health through innovations in science and provide quality of academic lifemission to attract and support the best and most our Boston University School of Medicine is dedicated to the educational, intellectual, diverse faculty and trainees. professional, and personal development of a diverse group of exceptional students, trainees, and faculty who are deeply committed to the study and to the practice of medicine, to biomedical research, and to the health of the public. We, as a community, place great value on excellence, integrity, service, social justice, collegiality, equality of opportunity, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

How will we transform Boston University School of Medicine? We must secure increased financial support, from both individuals and institutions, to expand our already exceptional research programs and to invest in new discovery. We must secure additional scholarship funding to make our outstanding educational programs accessible to the brightest students. To support our teaching and our research and to recruit the world’s best faculty, we must secure new endowed professorships, particularly for junior faculty. Finally, we must continue to invest in our campus, both to facilitate learning and enhance the quality of academic life for our students, faculty, and staff. • • • • • To accomplish these ambitious goals, we seek to raise a total of $200 million. Please join us in our effort to continue BUSM’s transformation into a top-20 medical school—an institution that generates powerful new ideas to benefit humanity, and trains tomorrow’s leaders in the health sciences and in healing.

Dear friend of BUSM, In the next few years, our institution will face both tough challenges and exciting opportunities. What challenges, exactly? At the societal level, we have seen a widespread retreat from the social safety net—resources that traditionally have supported underserved patients, who for more than a century and a half have been treated with dignity and respect by BUSM and our affiliated hospital Boston Medical Center, formerly known as Boston City Hospital. Congress is also less willing to fund basic research that leads to fundamental medical breakthroughs—the kind of investigations at which this institution excels. At the local level, our relatively small endowment means that our faculty are paid less generously and our students take on more debt than they would elsewhere. Recruitment of the best faculty and students is thus more challenging. Our opportunities, happily, are far greater. We are making tremendous progress in key research areas: cardiovascular disease, cancer, geriatrics, amyloidosis, addiction, head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease, scleroderma, and others. Given additional resources, we could do far more. It’s a fact: A dollar given to BUSM goes further than at other universities. BUSM was ranked fifth in the country in high-impact research per dollar. Our research is also among the most cited in a recent Science analysis. Thus, supporting BUSM is a good investment. We can incrementally improve the education that we provide to tomorrow’s doctors, in part by reinforcing the mission-driven culture that has defined us for decades. We can keep finding new and creative ways to make a BUSM education more affordable for the outstanding young people whom we choose, and who choose us. But to respond in a far-ranging way to our challenges and take advantage of our opportunities, and thereby to transform the School of Medicine, we need your help. Thank you for reading our story, and for considering our case. Sincerely, Karen H. Antman, M.D. Dean, Boston University School of Medicine

To the extended BUSM community, As I have said in many contexts, Boston University is enormously proud of its School of Medicine. Indeed, it is a jewel in our crown, and we are fully committed to its continued success. We are equally proud of Dean Antman, who recently was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, which recognizes outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Under her leadership, the School has crafted a wise and ambitious plan for moving BUSM forward. That planning process has already borne fruit, in the form of the new Medical Student Residence, which provides our medical students with an affordable place to live—saving them nearly $500 per month when compared with off-campus alternatives—at the same time that it reinforces our already strong sense of medical community. Meanwhile, BUSM’s pioneering research initiatives and mission-driven educational programs continue to hold themselves to the highest of standards. All of us at Boston University are determined to continue that record of success—and to build upon it. Please help us make our outstanding School of Medicine even better. Sincerely, Robert A. Brown President, Boston University


to educate and discover

boston university school of medicine

What is Boston University School of Medicine, and what does it stand for? Capturing the essence of a complex institution in just a few words is difficult. But four words begin to tell the story of BUSM: excellence, innovation, compassion, and inclusion. A place of educational excellence

A place of innovation

BUSM educates more than 700 medical students each year in four classes. We also educate more than 800 master’s and doctoral degree candidates who are actively engaged in the study of the biomedical sciences and medicine.

In recent years, our faculty have led more than 600 research programs supported by some $298 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. While these are record totals, research is far from a new activity. In fact, BUSM faculty members have been on the frontiers of scientific and medical knowledge for more than 130 years.

We receive almost 100 applications for each seat in the entering class. Those applications come from students who are among the most impressive medical school applicants in the world. The medical training we provide is demanding and rigorous. It combines clinical work—at more than 40 sites ranging from hospitals to private clinics—laboratory experience, and lectures. More than a half of our medical students engage in hands-on research projects while at BUSM. This commitment to excellence pays off for our students. In a typical year, 85 percent of our fourth-year students receive one of their top four choices in the National Resident Matching Program. Our alumni tell us that when they moved into their residencies and fellowships, they were fully prepared to meet those new challenges on Day One.

Today, our research teams—in Boston and around the world—are determining the fundamentals of how the human body and its pathogens work. They are discovering new ways to diagnose and treat the most devastating human diseases, from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s to heart attack and stroke. They are studying the genetic signatures of exceptional longevity in humans, and the cardiovascular consequences of metabolic disease. Our productive partnership with Boston Medical Center—as well as with more than 20 other institutional partners—provides our clinical faculty the opportunity to treat diverse patient populations, and also provides patient-centered training to our students. Our research programs are closely tied to our clinical programs, which helps our innovations find real-world applications.



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Since 1971, BUSM faculty—in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute— have led the Framingham Heart Study, initiated in 1948. Originally aimed at identifying factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease— principally heart attack and stroke—the focus of the study has continued to expand as the children and grandchildren of the original subjects are added to the study. Today, it is recognized as a model of rigorous epidemiological research, and one of the richest longitudinal medical databases in the world. BUSM also hosts a National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL), which represents a major step forward in the School’s efforts to advance public health and biomedical research. Its mission is to develop diagnostic drugs, vaccines, and treatments to prevent and cure life-threatening infectious diseases. We are disciplined and strategic in the allocation of our research dollars. As a result, our researchers are among the most productive in the country. For an in-depth look at our fundable research programs, please visit:

A place of compassion At the heart of our educational philosophy is an ambitious goal: to create a community of future physicians and other health care professionals who are patient-focused and skilled in caring for patients from cultures that differ from their own. In keeping with that goal, our students begin to see patients in the first week of the first-year curriculum. Working directly with a physician, they do intake interviews, take vital signs, and begin to learn how to put the patient first.

Much of this training takes place in Boston Medical Center, where an amazingly diverse patient population seeks expert care. But BUSM’s compassion and caregiving also extend much farther afield. For example, our Geriatrics and Home Care program provides home visits for housebound citizens in Boston. Again, this is nothing new; we’ve been making house calls— and taking compassionate care into our community—for more than 130 years. In January 1997, a group of BUSM students launched a service-learning initiative called the “Outreach Van Project.” OVP provides basic necessities to medically underserved populations, connecting them with primary medical care and community services, and giving our students hands-on experience working with them. Compassion at BUSM reaches beyond the individual to the societal. In today’s world, disparities in health quality and disease outcomes exist across socioeconomic, racial, and geographic lines. Many of our clinical departments have international programs that provide medical care in places ranging from Lesotho to Vietnam, and at the same time provide international experiences for our students. Beginning close to home—in our partnership with Boston Medical Center and our other local and regional affiliates—and moving outward around the globe, we work to overcome health disparities. To view BUSM’s major hospital affiliations, please visit:

boston university school of medicine

BUSM faculty conducted $298 million in research in 2011.

The Clinical Skills and Simulation Center was created at BUSM in 2003, giving students a way to practice their clinical skills while being observed by classmates and instructors.

The celebrated BU/Framingham Heart Study—now in its second half-century—has yielded more information on how to prevent heart attacks than any other research program in the world.



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A place of inclusion BUSM was formed in 1873, when Boston University merged with the New England Female Medical College, and thereby became the first coeducational medical school in the United States. Well before that merger, the New England Female Medical College had made history as the first institution in the United States to train women in medicine. Integrated in 1864, we graduated the first black female physician and the first Native American physician. Inclusion and accessibility have been touchstones of Boston University since its founding. These principles are also embraced and embodied by BUSM. In a recent and typical class, our students came from a total of 38 states. Ranging in age from 19 to 31, they represented a wide variety of backgrounds, and included many first- and second-generation Americans from 19 countries of origin.

Our commitment to inclusion extends to the community, as well. Beginning in 1992, we pioneered an innovative science-education outreach program called CityLab, designed to provide inner-city and under-resourced public school systems with access to state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratories and teaching materials. High school students and their teachers come to two on-campus labs for a unique learning experience; we also go to them via our MobileLab, which takes the laboratory to the school. More than 70,000 students and 2,000 teachers have benefited from CityLab. In addition, universities in California, North Carolina, Washington, and Glasgow have replicated the CityLab model. At BUSM, inclusion has long been not only the right and fair approach, but also the only way to deliver on our mission of service to a society that is constantly changing and evolving.

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David Rodriguez exclusive—and inclusive I am of Mexican descent. My parents live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city just across the border from El Paso, Texas. They’ve always believed in the American Dream. About a year before I was born, my parents started saving money for my mother to get her prenatal care and have her delivery in El Paso, so that I could be a U.S. citizen. At age 18, I returned to the States to enroll at the University of Texas at El Paso as a premedical student.

something I learned firsthand, since I know how much they invested in me during my years in the EMSSP. The educational opportunities and support that the School of Medicine has provided me with are nothing short of exceptional. Coming from where I come from, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to study medicine in a city that is, arguably, the mecca of medicine—and to do it at a school with such a strong sense of mission and history.

BUSM actively promotes an environment in which diversity and pluralism can thrive. During my sophomore year in college, I found out about a joint program between UT and the Boston University School of Medicine: the Early Medical School Selection Program (EMSSP), which tries to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine. And although I was quite intimidated by the thought of moving to a city like Boston, I decided to apply and was admitted to this program. During my senior year in college, I transferred to BU. BUSM actively promotes an environment in which diversity and pluralism can thrive. They walk the walk—

When you read the statistics about admission to BUSM— more than 11,000 applicants for fewer than 150 spots— you might conclude that getting a medical education here is an exclusive experience. On the contrary: BUSM is an extraordinarily inclusive place. It embraces you regardless of your accent, your race, your ethnicity, or your gender identity. And that’s one of the many reasons why I’m proud to call myself a medical student at Boston University School of Medicine. David Rodriguez graduated from BUSM (MD) in the spring of 2012. He is currently doing his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in anesthesiology.



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Michael J. Critelli approaching research holistically I first got involved with Boston University School of Medicine’s research activities about eight years ago. My brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Green, who was heading the School’s Alzheimer’s disease research program, knew of the high incidence of Alzheimer’s in my family, and thought I might be interested in trying to help advance the field. He was right.

BUSM is opportunistic, but it is also strategic. Many research institutions make the mistake of letting their research strategy be driven by convenience—that is, going where they think it will be easiest to find grant money. BUSM has largely stayed out of this trap. More than most institutions, it takes the long-term perspective. It is also willing to invest seed money in promising new

Today, BUSM is a world leader in the field of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. I support research at BUSM because the institution looks at neurological disorders holistically. Working together across discipline boundaries, the BUSM researchers arrive at joint findings. A direct result of this collaborative approach is that they are in a position to find the treatments that work across multiple medical conditions. They are also in a position to think and act opportunistically. For example: the Alzheimer’s work led to an initial investigation of brain injuries to professional athletes. Today, BUSM is a world leader in the field of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

research ventures—something our society is going to need much more of in the future, if we’re going to achieve breakthrough solutions and ultimately control the cost of health care. Michael J. Critelli is the CEO and president of Dossia Services Corporation, former executive chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes Inc., and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.

boston university school of medicine

Detecting Alzheimer’s and searching for diagnostic tools Several years ago, Lee Goldstein of Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center made an extraordinary discovery. He found, in the lens of the eye, the toxic protein that triggers Alzheimer’s—the first time the disease has been detected outside the brain. The discovery could change forever the way the disease is diagnosed and treated. Thanks to research like Goldstein’s, there is new hope for an early-detection Alzheimer’s test—one that could be given to people in their forties or younger, long before noticeable symptoms appear. In the long term,

this might prove to be a lifesaver, if people can be diagnosed and treated before the disease has inflicted its cruel damage. “We are trying to develop a diagnostic procedure,” says Goldstein, “that will yield an inexpensive, non-invasive test that doctors can administer in their offices when patients come for routine physicals. If we can get to that, we’ll be making real progress.”



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Studies by BUSM researchers have found that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of breast cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, and numerous chronic and infectious diseases—and that pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to have Caesarean sections.

Collaborating with investigators from the University of Utah, BUSM researchers discovered a new approach for identifying smokers at the highest risk of developing lung cancer, opening the door to personalized cancer chemoprophylaxis and therapy.

A BUSM research team is now conducting a major National Institutes of Health funded trial of a promising new antifibrotic scleroderma drug using biomarkers.

boston university school of medicine

Fighting amyloidosis: saving lives and improving treatments “Not so long ago,” says David C. Seldin—professor of medicine and microbiology, and director of the Amyloidosis Center at BUSM—“a diagnosis of systemic amyloidosis was a death sentence.” The systemic amyloidoses include acquired bone marrow disorders, hereditary disorders, and secondary diseases. Until fairly recently, patients with amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis—the most aggressive form—were usually expected to die from their disease within a year or two of their diagnosis. In 1994, however, physicians at BUSM’s Amyloid Treatment and Research Program succeeded in eradicating abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and replacing them

with healthy blood stem cells from the same patient. That first patient is still alive today. In the years since, more than 600 patients have come to Boston Medical Center to receive this potentially lifesaving procedure. The Center continues to research transplantation and other therapies for amyloid diseases. “Survival is dramatically better today for patients who receive a timely diagnosis,” reports Seldin, “but for many it’s still a terrible disease. We have come a long way, but additional research is badly needed to understand these diseases and to improve treatments.”


boston university school of medicine

Linking head trauma and neuro-degenerative diseases The medical profession and scientific community have long been aware of the risks of repetitive brain trauma. For example, since the 1920s, boxers have been described as becoming “punch drunk.” More recently, concern has been growing that many athletes, as well as military personnel, may also be at risk for developing the same progressive degenerative disease of the brain—today known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)—which may include symptoms ranging from memory loss to dementia. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE)—founded by Robert Cantu, M.D., Ann McKee, M.D., Chris Nowinski, and Robert Stern, Ph.D.—is an independent academic research center located at BUSM. Its researchers collaborate with other

institutions, partners, and academic researchers to create new knowledge about CTE. In recent years, CSTE researchers have collaborated with the National Football League and the NFL Players Association, both of which have helped fund the CSTE’s brain-trauma research. Going a step further, individual players have pledged to donate their brains upon their deaths to the CSTE, and 100 former players are participating in the CSTE’s NIH-funded DETECT research study. “CTE is the only fully preventable cause of dementia,” say Cantu. “By studying athletes throughout their lives, as well as examining brain tissue through our expanding CSTE brain bank, we will be able to determine the specific risks factors for CTE, and potentially develop effective treatments.”


boston university school of medicine

Research and Education: Our Opportunities and Challenges On the research front As we look forward on the research front, we start with significant momentum and advantages. First, our partnership with Boston Medical Center and our more than 20 other institutional partners creates an unusually fertile ground for research. These partnerships help define and inform the kind of investigations that BUSM researchers pursue. Our patient population presents not only the most prevalent health challenges facing our society today—for example, diabetes and obesity—but also brings to us a wide range of rare ailments and conditions. Many scientists choose to become BUSM faculty because they know that means partnering with clinical researchers. Together, they develop better treatments for these patient populations. Another BUSM advantage is a strong institutional culture of interdisciplinary collaboration—true of Boston University in general, and of our faculty in particular. For decades, researchers at leading research institutions like BUSM have been “taking things apart”—that is, investigating the building blocks of life, all the way down to the subcellular level, asking questions like, How does information get inside a cell, and how does the cell respond? A key challenge today is to integrate that information into a new understanding of how the whole body works, and how its component systems interact.

This is increasingly difficult, but our collaborative philosophy helps us enormously. Our researchers are less turf-conscious than many. They are determined to do their best work with colleagues who can help them the most—no matter what their discipline base or their school affiliation. Our researchers work with the brightest people down the hall, across the larger Boston University campus, and on the other side of the world. One reason for this fluidity is structural: BUSM has no formal tenure system. Our researchers at every level—from the most junior to the most senior—can pursue their interests without worrying about whether a “slot” exists for that particular passion. They can collaborate, rather than compete, with talented peers. In today’s scientific universe, collaboration is not an option, but a necessity. Many current scientific advances are the result of a breakthrough in engineering combined with an insight far removed from the confines of that discipline. BUSM’s advances in the neurosciences, including addiction studies, are a compelling case in point: New imaging tools are allowing us to “look into” the brain and explore the biology of behaviors. An emerging technology promises to allow researchers to watch an injured spinal cord regenerate in real time. This amazing prospect has near-term therapeutic implications. But these new tools are extraordinarily expensive—and although they are indispensable today, they will almost certainly be outmoded by newer and better tools tomorrow. To do our best work, we must keep updating our research



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infrastructure, especially the expensive instruments needed to conduct today’s and tomorrow’s investigations. Of course, we make strategic choices. The challenging economics of the last few years compel us—and other leading research institutions—to concentrate our resources on key initiatives. We have embraced and implemented this core component of Boston University President Robert A. Brown’s strategic plan. Our successes in amyloidosis, coronary disease, and obesity research in part grow out of this focused approach. Nevertheless, if we are to serve society more effectively, we need to expand our research effort, carefully and judiciously. We must provide the kind of seed money that allows research teams to take on new and promising initiatives, particularly today, with federal support for new initiatives now harder to secure. One of our most important jobs—important both for BUSM and for the future of the U.S.

economy—is to help train the next generation of scientists. We need to give our PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows the kind of financial support that allows them to persevere over time. The only way to achieve all of these ambitious goals is to create new partnerships with individuals and institutions who are willing to support our work. One exciting recent example came in 2010, when Shamim (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87, and a member of the BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board) and her husband Ashraf Dahod made the single largest individual gift in the School’s history: $10.5 million to establish a breast cancer research center and support our new Medical Student Residence. The research activity at BUSM has a small endowment base compared to those of our peers. We deploy our limited resources wisely and effectively—but now we need to build for the future. For an in-depth look at our fundable research programs, please visit:

boston university school of medicine

In education BUSM has long been the medical school that has given a chance to unconventional applicants. This tradition dates back to 1848, when the New England Female Medical College began training the first women doctors in America, and to the origins of BUSM, which accepted students of both genders, all races and religions—a century before many other medical schools. It is still true today. And our tradition of open doors is, in turn, part of a bigger picture. Throughout our history, we’ve been an institution that has viewed the world a little differently—and our idea of the proper way to prepare physicians has also been distinctive. Early on, for example, our predecessors pioneered clinical methods of instruction. (They also put men and women physicians-intraining together in clinical settings and laboratories, causing no small scandal.) They imposed high standards for admission, and were among the first to expand medical education from two years to three, and (in 1890) from three years to four. They required each senior student to spend a month caring for patients in Boston’s South End, then a crowded immigrant neighborhood beset by poverty and disease. A six-year AB/MD program failed to take root when it was first offered in 1908; a half-century later, it flourished, and set the pace for medical schools across the country. These last two innovations point to enduring traditions at BUSM. First, our medical education has always focused on care for our community. It does so today. Many of the students who come to us do so because they are interested in urban and international urban health.

Second, we are committed to providing multiple pathways to a medical education. In addition to earning their MD degree in a traditional four-year program, our students can pursue a range of other degrees on a variety of educational tracks. Offering a world-class education along multiple tracks is challenging, especially when a diverse and rich clinical experience is built into the education. It is also an expensive proposition. This is equally true from our students’ perspective. Like our research endowments, our scholarship endowments are small, and our operating budgets are tight. Prospective students considering a BUSM education have to consider our relatively high tuition and fees, the high cost of living in Boston, and our relatively modest scholarship budget. In a recent year, we distributed $3.5 million in scholarships to our medical students—a substantial increase over the previous year. This reflects both economies in our operating budgets and the generosity of donors who have established and supported scholarship funds. And with the larger University, we have also made a major financial commitment to our new Medical Student Residence. This facility will provide convenient, safe, and affordable housing to generations of BUSM students to come. But despite these efforts, many of our students are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in educational debts. This limits their career choices, and in many cases affects their emotional and psychological well-being. Clearly, we need to do far more, both to ensure BUSM’s continued competitiveness and to do the right thing by our students.


MaryAnn Wilbur getting the chance I struggled for a long time to get into medical school. But it was the only thing I ever wanted to do, so I just kept trying. I had worked full time through most of my undergraduate years, and I burned up most of my savings just to pay for my applications to medical school. In short, I needed a chance—I really needed a chance— and BU gave me that. And I flourished on the BUSM

the next. I know the indignities of growing up poor, the sacrifices and vulnerabilities, and all the ugliness. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anybody—and yet, it’s mine. I’m really, really proud of how far I’ve come, and where I am now. I’m eager to take those hard lessons that I learned and apply them to being a better physician.

I’m really, really proud of how far I’ve come, and where I am now. campus. That was an incredibly pleasant surprise for me, given how hard it was for me to get admitted in the first place. I look like most of my fellow medical students, both here and around the country. But in fact, I’m very different from many of my peers. I come from a blue-collar town south of Boston, and my family was not even as well off as the rest of the families in town. In a good week, we lived paycheck to paycheck—and most weeks weren’t good weeks. Childhood was very hard. I know what it’s like to be the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. I know what it’s like to not know where you’re going to sleep from one night to

I’ve chosen women’s health as my focus. I love talking to my patients. I love asking them the really personal questions, and getting good answers. I love it when they understand that I’ve been there, that I’m not judging them, and that I just want to help. MaryAnn Wilbur graduated in the spring of 2011 from both BUSM (MD) and the Boston University School of Public Health (MPH). She is currently doing her residency at Johns Hopkins University in obstetrics and gynecology.


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boston university school of medicine

Lighting up the disease to design next-generation vaccines How do you track the spread of a virus from one cell to another and image disease within a living organism without destroying that organism? Can you make current vaccines more effective in the developing world by delivering them by novel routes? BUSM researcher Paul Duprex, Associate Professor of Microbiology and the Director of Cell and Tissue Imaging at NEIDL, is grappling with such questions, using green fluorescent protein (GFP) to track how viruses enter and manipulate the cells they infect. This is important to groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which wants to develop novel approaches to vaccination in the developing world. “It’s only by dissecting how the really useful existing vaccines work,” explains Duprex, “along with

comprehensively understanding the diseases they have helped to protect us from, that we have any hope of intelligently designing the next-generation vaccines and delivering them optimally.” Bringing together basic and applied research follows in one of BUSM’s proudest traditions. “So much of what we currently do to understand viral diseases,” says Duprex, “has been enabled by the pioneering studies of [BUSM faculty] Osamu Shimomura, and it’s no surprise he won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for his seminal work in developing GFP. Using GFP literally turned virology into science in motion. Think of it this way: Instead of looking at a series of stills from a movie and trying to guess the plot, we now get to watch the movie in real time, and understand the story from beginning to end. It lets us illuminate infections as never before!”



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boston university school of medicine

Fighting today’s addictions Pietro Cottone—Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, and co-director of the BUSM Laboratory of Addictive Disorders—is one of only 12 researchers in the United States to receive the prestigious National Institute of Mental Health Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS). He has a succinct way of phrasing one of his lab’s central challenges: “Over millions of years, humans evolved complex neurocircuitries to forage for energy-dense food, and thereby to fight scarcity. But in the developed world today, the problem is the opposite: We are nowhere near as well equipped to fight the abundance of fatty and sugary foods.”

One challenge that grows out of this mismatch between brain and environment is compulsive eating, which Cottone describes as a “widespread addictive disorder” in Western countries. “The classic addictions, such as heroin, have been widely studied,” he explains, “but more research effort is needed to gain a better understanding of compulsive eating. That’s our challenge.”


boston university school of medicine

BUSM’s Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute faculty have identified a protein involved in regulating metabolic dysfunction in obesity, and a related Science article received international attention.

BUSM was one of the first winners of the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges, reflecting the School’s longstanding tradition of outreach to the people of Boston and New England.

In recent years, close to 4 in 10 of the members of the BUSM graduating class have chosen primary care residencies.



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The Medical Student Residence—the result of successful fundraising on the part of BUSM’s alumni, parents, and friends—opened in the fall of 2012. It provides affordable living spaces close to where our students study and work, while also creating a new sense of cohesiveness among the members of the BUSM community. Middle right: the Dahod Family Lounge, which honors Shamim (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87) and Ashraf Dahod, who generously supported the Medical Student Residence.

boston university school of medicine


Campaign goals and priorities Our fundraising goals fall into six priority categories:

Research $ 70 million Capital projects

$ 50 million

Scholarships $ 40 million Endowed professorships

$ 30 million

Educational initiatives

$ 5 million

Support for faculty and student programming

$ 5 million

Total $ 200 million

As detailed below, all of these priorities are mutually reinforcing. Improving in one area helps us progress in others. Collectively, an infusion of resources on this scale—with both academic and financial implications—will transform BUSM.

Research This is by far our biggest goal, comprising more than a third of our fundraising total. Broadening and deepening our research effort will lead to many positive academic outcomes. Most important, research will lead to discoveries that enhance diagnosis and treatment. Those discoveries, in turn, will lead to new research opportunities—both for students and faculty. They will enhance the School’s reputation and help with faculty recruitment and retention—all critical to our continued success. A stronger research program also fosters positive financial outcomes for the School. Philanthropic

dollars most often go to successful programs and institutions. Increased philanthropic support, moreover, reduces our dependence on NIH and other government grants, which in recent years have contracted sharply. We can’t allow our work—in many cases, lifesaving work—to be undercut by economic cycles and policy shifts. Donors can support research at BUSM either by contributing to a specific center’s research fund—or, for longer-term support, by creating an endowment that will provide research funding in perpetuity. Goal for research support: $70 million

Capital projects Our proposed capital projects target educational infrastructure, quality-of-life issues, and the high cost of living in Boston. BUSM has recently renovated a floor of classrooms at a cost of $4 million, providing state-of-the-art educational technology.


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Merwyn Bagan, MD, MPH supporting great students When I went to medical school here, back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, BUSM was a relatively homogeneous place. Today, the School is far more reflective of the world in which we live, and that is a significant improvement. Every aspect of the School—from the curriculum to the buildings to the faculty to the use of technology—has changed dramatically, and for the better.

likes to say, “It’s wonderful to be of a certain age and have your head cracked open.” We learned far more than we taught. Carol and I began giving to BUSM in the 1980s, when Dean Chobanian created a student revolving loan fund. Eventually, when how much debt the students were

Every aspect of the School—from the curriculum to the buildings to the faculty to the use of technology—has changed dramatically, and for the better. I spent 23 years as a neurosurgeon in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1993, I retired from my practice, and decided to pursue a degree in public health at our sister school at BU. While I was still taking courses in public health, my wife Carol and I had the opportunity to work in Nepal, at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu. They were trying to develop a neurosurgery unit at that hospital, and they asked for my help to create a neurosurgical program. At that time, there was only one Nepalese neurosurgeon for 23 million people. We lived and worked in Nepal—an amazing experience. As Carol

accumulating became clear, we turned it into a scholarship fund. And we’ve continued to contribute as much as we can to that fund, year by year. These are great students. Last year, 40 percent of the graduating class went into residency or further training programs focused on primary care. These students need and deserve our support. BUSM Class of 1962; BU School of Public Health Class of 1995; member, BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board

boston university school of medicine

We have also renovated one of three floors of the library into quiet study space for students. But more work remains to be done. For example, other classrooms and library floors have not been renovated since the construction of the building in 1968. We need capital to continue investing in our educational facilities. Ultimately, we will need to build a new instructional facility. By improving our classrooms and offices, we will enhance faculty and staff retention. And although our new Medical Student Residence will address part of our housing problem, a second such facility is needed to accommodate the remaining students who need an affordable place to live close by. The University typically pays for up to half of the cost of new buildings; we need to rely on philanthropy for the balance. Goal for capital projects: $50 million

Scholarships BUSM thrives when it attracts the most talented students. The educational experience is enriched, and—as the word spreads about our outstanding students—we are better able to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, and the next generation of students. Most students, and especially the very best, have educational choices. But most have no choice when it comes to financing a medical school education: They have to go where they will receive sufficient aid to minimize their future debt. If we can extend more scholarship aid to our students, we will be more competitive with other

top medical schools. If fewer scholarships have to come out of our operating budget, we will also be less reliant on tuition, and can thereby minimize tuition increases. Longer term, institutional generosity generates a virtuous circle. Supporting our students today will encourage them to be engaged and generous alumni in the future. Goal for scholarships: $40 million

Endowed assistant and full professorships To help recruit and retain the best faculty, we need professorships both at assistant and full professor levels. Other leading medical schools use endowed chairs to help in their hiring process; we must do the same. Endowed professorships provide our faculty with incremental research support, as well as recognition and prestige. They also enhance BUSM’s standing in the academic medical community, which again helps with recruitment. Assistant professorships provide support to launch the career of new faculty. They are particularly productive since they are recycled every three to five years for a new assistant professor, thus providing support to recruit a series of new faculty in a given area of research. Goal for assistant and full professorships: $30 million



to educate and discover

Educational initiatives and student programming One of the distinctive teaching resources at BUSM is the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, founded in 2003. Equipped with innovative simulators and other learning tools, it provides a place for students to practice their clinical skills while being observed by classmates and instructors. We have recently invested in venipuncture and spinal tap simulations, cardiovascular simulators, and patient simulators, among other tools. With heavy use by 700 medical students, such equipment needs to be upgraded and replaced regularly. The Center has proven its educational value, and now needs to be expanded and supported through endowment. There are literally dozens of student-run organizations on the BUSM campus—ranging from arts groups to outreach programs— and approximately 85 percent of our students participate in one or more of these groups during their four years at BUSM. The School also supports a wide range of service-learning opportunities, as well as programs that foster faculty-student interactions and student cohesiveness. These programs, too, need support. More than half of our medical students participate in formal research programs, either during the summer between their freshman and sophomore years or during fourth-year electives. Stipends must cover living expenses over the summer, and research expenses include supplies and equipment.

Finally, about half of the students choose international electives, which substantially deepen and broaden their medical education. Immersion programs in Latin America, for example, enhance their ability to communicate with patients during their residency. All of these activities require and deserve ongoing support. Goal for education and programming initiatives: $5 million

Support for faculty development Our faculty need continued education in the art and craft of teaching—not something that is generally taught in graduate or medical school. In addition, faculty are experimenting with research studies of student learning, and with assessment before and after educational innovations. No funding source exists to support such pilot educational initiatives. Pilot grants starting at $20,000 can provide such support to our teaching faculty. An endowment of $1 million would support two such projects per year in perpetuity. Increased funding for faculty development will enable our teachers and researchers to attend additional conferences, acquire new skills, and learn new ways of thinking. Investing in our faculty at all levels is one of the best tools for recruitment and retention. Goal for faculty development: $5 million

boston university school of medicine

Sherry Leventhal learning about busm I became involved with the School of Medicine when my two daughters were students there. Sarah, who was interested in ob-gyn, and Emily, who wanted to specialize in dermatology, each had an extraordinary experience at BUSM. After they became residents in their respective fields, they both reported that the School had prepared them extremely well for their post-grad specialties. Both of my daughters feel that their clinical training at Boston Medical Center, with its diverse patient population, was an invaluable part of their medical education. In contrast to many other medical schools, BUSM students are given a great deal of responsibility, almost from the first day of their clinical program. Relating to patients in a personalized manner and communication skills are emphasized at BUSM, helping to develop the students into the compassionate physicians that we need more of in this day and age.

I have learned so much more about the medical school during my time on the Dean’s Advisory Board. I am particularly impressed by the diversity of the student population and the desire of the students to help the underserved everywhere in the world. I am also aware of the challenges that the School faces, the most pressing of which is the overwhelming debt loads carried by the students when they graduate. We need to find ways to reduce the financial pressure on BUSM graduates. I am hopeful that through increased and targeted fundraising, we can make real progress in that direction. Chair, BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board Parent of two BUSM graduates

I am particularly impressed by the diversity of the student population and the desire of the students to help the underserved everywhere in the world.



to educate and discover

Changing the pathways: targeting cell signals to fight disease “When you want to cure a disease, rather than just a symptom, you have to figure out how to change the basic pathways,” says Chair of the Department of Biochemistry David A. Harris (center). That’s exactly what he and his new recruits— Assistant Professors Valentina Perissi and Bob Varelas—are doing. They’re studying cell signals, hoping to target those signals to treat cancer in its early stages. Concurrently, in an effort to treat diabetes more effectively, they’re looking at how genes express themselves in cells and how that leads to obesity.

They’re also examining how basic biological processes relate to Alzheimer’s, birth abnormalities, and other diseases. And rather than being grouped according to which disease or process they study, the department’s members pursue all these efforts side-by-side, ensuring that collaboration happens on the spot, in real time.

boston university school of medicine

Shamim (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87) and Ashraf Dahod

a personal stake

We are both strongly committed to the success of BUSM. Why do we feel this commitment? There are many reasons. Shamim has known that she wanted to be a doctor since she was in the eighth grade. She always had a passion for medicine, and always intended to go to medical school at BU. Ashraf’s family has many, many ties to BU. So our connections with the University are strong and of long standing.

Philanthropy is an investment in a better world. We support those institutions that will help create that better world—and BUSM is one of those institutions. In 2008, the Dahods pledged $10.5 million to BUSM to establish the Shamim and Ashraf Dahod Breast Cancer Research Center at the School of Medicine, to endow assistant professor and international scholar positions at the Center, and to support the BUSM Medical Student Residence.

We made our gift to establish the Dahod Breast Cancer Research Center for two basic reasons. First, we knew world-class work was going on at BUSM, and we wanted to help advance that work. Second, we had a personal stake in battling this disease, because there have been incidences of breast cancer on both sides of our family.

We knew world-class work was going on at BUSM, and we wanted to help advance that work.



to educate and discover

In December 2008, BUSM researcher Osamu Shimomura (above, left) received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery in 1961 of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea aequorea, and for identifying its chromophore in 1979. Today, GFP and its homologues are indispensable in biomedical research, because these proteins contain a fluorescent component that can be expressed and tracked in living organisms. When introduced into those organisms either by breeding, injection with a virus, or cell transformation, GFP facilitates biological research at both the cellular and molecular levels.

boston university school of medicine

Why support BUSM? There are many causes and institutions with compelling reasons why they need and deserve support. With so many good philanthropic options, why should you choose to support the people and the work of Boston University School of Medicine? To restate the argument made in the previous pages, there are at least four good answers. Your support will help expand medical knowledge. Each new discovery by BUSM researchers opens a door to new frontiers in diagnosis and treatment. We need to walk through those doors. Your investment in BUSM will help educate the next generation of physicians. Our researchers and clinicians are also outstanding teachers, dedicated to helping produce the healers of tomorrow. Your gift to BUSM will help ensure that the benefits of medical education continue to be accessible to the best and brightest candidates, and that the benefits of appropriate health care are available to all Americans. Most medical students nationally come from the upper 40 percent of the population, in terms of family income. Many very talented students from less affluent families do not feel that they can afford to become a physician. The health care policy debate continues at the national and state

levels; meanwhile, we work hard on closing the gaps and disparities that arise in today’s health care system. Finally, your philanthropic support of BUSM is an investment in accomplishment. Our dollars are invested where they will be well spent: bringing together the best students with outstanding teachers, and bringing forth creative new ideas from a wide range of disciplines. According to a survey summarized in The Chronicle of Higher Education, we have been ranked the fifth most productive medical school in the country, in terms of the cost of high-impact research publications. Our medical education funding is equally efficient. A dollar donation to BUSM goes a lot further, in both research and education, than it might go elsewhere. We depend on the support of individuals, businesses, foundations, and other organizations. Today, as medicine embraces new technologies and confronts new challenges, we need that support more than ever.

Please join us in our effort to raise $200 million, to transform BUSM’s education and research programs— and to change the world.



to educate and discover

BUSM’s annual White Coat ceremony—at which entering students receive their white physician’s coats and take the Hippocratic Oath—signifies the formal induction of medical students into their chosen profession.

boston university school of medicine

Photography: Boston University Photo Services, Corbis Images, Jonathan Kannair, David Keough, Brooks Kraft, Michael Malyszko Design: Carter Halliday Associates Printing: Universal/Wilde Copyright Š 2012 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. 0812 UW 1.5K MED12002


For further information, contact: Boston University School of Medicine Office of Development 72 East Concord Street, L-219 Boston, MA 02118 617-638-4570

Boston University School of Medicine case statement  

Case statement for The Campaign to Transform Boston University School of Medicine: To Educate and Discover

Boston University School of Medicine case statement  

Case statement for The Campaign to Transform Boston University School of Medicine: To Educate and Discover