Spring 2016

Mindful of Our Past

A message from the president of the alumni association

140616_14362_hedges090.jpgWhen I was a medical student in the 1970s, there were certain attending physicians at the New England Medical Center (as it was then called) that we students held in awe and to some extent fear, since clinical teaching by intimidation was still the norm. Those among my generation will recall Louis Weinstein, Sidney Gellis, Alice Ettinger, Alan Callow and Seymour Reichlin, who were among the many with international reputations.

When I joined the hospital staff in 1980, it was even more awesome to be a colleague of some of these individuals, especially those who had attended Tufts Medical School. This group included Henry Banks, ’45, an innovative pediatric orthopedic surgeon who served as dean of the medical school from 1983-90; Thomas Sabin, ’62, renowned Boston nephrologist; Andrew Plaut, ’62, an internationally respected gastroenterologist, and Sherwood Gorbach, ’62, infectious disease expert and discoverer of c. difficile.

Among this cohort, Jane Desforges, ’45, deserves special mention. She was the second woman, and one of only six women ever to be elected president of the American Society of Hematology. She received the medical school’s Outstanding Teacher Award for 13 consecutive years and was the first woman to earn the American College of Physicians Distinguished Teaching Award. She served on the editorial board of the journal Blood (founded by the Tufts hematologist William Dameshek) and was also associate editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Many of you may recall what a great clinician Jane Desforges was. Indeed, I think one might say that she represented why our institution is so great. It is here that great discoveries can be made, but where patient care always remains most important. Individuals like Jane have inspired many of us to pursue careers in academic medicine.

This year at our reunion in early April, we once again celebrated those individuals who have contributed to the eminence of our school through retrospective talks by the biochemist David Stollar, Sol Gittleman, formerly the longtime provost of Tufts University, and me. By reminding you of those who came before and those who mentored us as students, we want to encourage you to pay your alumni association dues and contribute generously to the school’s annual fund to ensure that future physicians also get a great start at Tufts School of Medicine.

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

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