Some 1,700 miles stood between Lisa Kutner, MD’88, and Alumni Weekend 2013. But distances near and far seemed easily overcome by those faced with an opportunity to reconnect.
“I came back for the chance to see old friends and what’s new on campus. My husband and I just toured the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and I was simply astounded,” said Kutner, a psychiatrist living in San Diego. “It looks like the entire campus has changed since I was last here.”
With a full schedule of events April 19-20, more than 600 alumni, guests, faculty, and students took part in the annual celebration of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine graduates.
Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, welcomed members of the community from as far back as the Class of 1943. Standing some 500 feet from the planned site of the medical school’s new research facility, Neilson gave his unique insight into how the medical enterprise will grow.
“On our campus sit three U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll hospitals, placing us in the center of a very unique environment,” Neilson said. “A $1 billion-plus commitment to research means we will remain focused on issues regarding neuroscience, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more, while also cultivating as much intellectual diversity as possible.”
In introducing keynote speaker Rear Admiral David J. Smith, MD ’81, FACOEM, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection and readiness, Neilson commended Smith for his numerous high level posts within the Department of Defense and thanked him for his service overseas.
Recounting his 2010 deployment to the warzone in Afghanistan, Smith discussed how lessons learned in the battlefield are saving lives around the globe.
“More soldiers are being saved even as the severity of injuries is increasing,” Smith said. “If you arrive alive at one of the facilities in theater, you have a 98 percent chance of surviving.”
Smith credits some of those gains to a realization that the use of tourniquets should not hold to the old dogma that they be used with precaution.
“The combat-application tourniquet is clearly saving lives on a daily basis in Afghanistan,” he said. “Today, every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine that is deployed has one of those tourniquets as well as combat gauze in their first-aid kit.”
Building on Memories
Absent mid-April snow showers, Betty Hahneman, MD’52, GME’56, would have walked to Alumni Weekend.
Living about a mile from campus, Hahneman has always maintained an affinity for the Windy City, ending her career as an adjunct associate professor in preventive medicine at Feinberg and helping the school earn accreditation for its Master of Public Health program.
In retirement, she finds herself building new memories at Feinberg as often as she relives the old.
“I graduated 61 years ago, so a lot has changed. The only building we had to begin with was the Ward Building and there was a lawn and trees growing where we stand today (inside Method Atrium),” she said. “Alumni Weekend is a great time to see people from out of town, as well as to find out what’s going on at the medical school. I particularly enjoyed the speeches by Rear Admiral Smith and Dean Neilson.”
Friday’s events were highlighted by the dean’s medical school update presented in front of a capacity crowd inside Hughes Auditorium and punctuated by the annual class dinners.
Saturday began with a panel discussion featuring some of the medical school’s top scientists discussing new paths being chartered at Feinberg.
“The Continuing Medical Education event gave alumni an opportunity to get updates on some exciting areas of research underway at the medical school,” said Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies, who moderated the discussion. “The quality of the presentations by some of our leading researchers stimulated a great deal of discussion. Many of the audience stayed even after the formal program had ended to have informal discussion with faculty presenters.”
At the annual Commitment to Scholarships Luncheon, the 50-year-reunion Class of 1963 was honored as they officially created the Class of 1963 Endowed Scholarship to help future medical students fund their educations.
Throughout the weekend, those in attendance remembered alumni who have recently passed away, including Cliff Raisbeck, MD’53, GME’61, who was class representative for the past 60 years.