Fall 2015

A Tradition of Care

A message from the president of the alumni association

140616_14362_hedges090.jpgYou and I come from a long, proud tradition. In the 1920s, the Boston Dispensary, forerunner to Tufts Medical Center, was providing medical care in several neighborhood clinics, as well as maintaining the nation’s first lung clinic and the first venereal disease clinic, among other distinctions. Tufts School of Medicine had survived the Flexner Report commentary on the state of American medical education in the early 1900s, but still did not have its own hospital. A new leader was needed to consolidate these centers of medical activity, and Joseph Pratt agreed to become chair of medicine at Tufts and the Boston Dispensary in 1927.

Pratt had always been concerned for the less privileged. For example, he arranged for tents to be constructed on the rooftops of tenements to simulate conditions the more affluent were receiving at spas to treat tuberculosis. Pratt once said, “Never forget that patients are persons. There is too much tendency to overlook this… you cannot treat your patient without considering his emotional life, all his surroundings—everything that bears on his life either as a well or a sick person.”

Here at Tufts we carry on the example of Joseph Pratt by instilling his spirit in our medical students, offering them opportunities to serve the less fortunate among us.

Our student-run clinic, Sharewood, remains a successful enterprise where uninsured people can receive free health care. “Stepping Out of the Shadows” is a program where medical students provide HIV education to Boston high school students. The IDEAS in Medicine program sponsors medical students who mentor students at Chelsea High School who are interested in health careers. In addition, the medical school is now recruiting facilitators for a new course in ethics and professionalism. These are some of the activities that are funded through your annual Alumni Association dues. You can pay them online at giving.tufts.edu/med (click on Alumni Association in the drop-down menu for “Select an Area”). Or mail a check, payable to Trustees of Tufts University, to Tufts Medical Alumni Association, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111.

Please consider participating in these programs, and give what you can to the annual fund but first of all, remember to pay your dues. If each alum paid his or her, dues, we would have more than $1 million—enough to fund many more projects for students and make a difference in many more lives.

Thomas R. Hedges, ’75
President, Tufts Medical Alumni Association

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