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Dear UNC Medical Alumni—
A few weeks ago, my medical school classmates and I celebrated our 50th year class reunion here in Chapel Hill during Spring Alumni Weekend. It feels like only a few years ago that we were all walking the halls of MacNider.
We kicked off this year by welcoming 160 new medical students at the White Coat Ceremony. The Class of 2013 has already accomplished a great deal and their futures are bright for their years ahead as physicians – the Class of 2010 can assure them their remaining three years of school will be gone before they know it.
The Class of 2010 received their match results in March and was honored earlier this month at commencement. We are proud of their countless achievements across North Carolina and throughout the world. They were taught by some of the best and brightest faculty in the country — some will go on to serve institutions in a similar role.
When mentioning our wonderful faculty, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the losses we suffered this spring. Mr. Larry Keith, a pioneer in recruiting minority students into the health professions, passed away in February. He served the University since receiving his master’s degree in 1985, mentoring hundreds of students along the way. Dr. H. Robert Brashear, Jr., Professor Emeritus passed away in late March. Dr. Brashear joined UNC Orthopaedics in 1953 and his legacy of excellence in teaching of orthopaedic residents and medical students remains with our training program today. Most recently Dr. Thomas Barnett, the first faculty member and chief in Pulmonary Medicine passed away. We are honored these men were a part of our medical school and they will be missed greatly.
I thank you for being a part of our Medical Alumni Association and for your commitment, as an alumnus of the UNC School of Medicine, to the future of medicine. Have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you at Fall Alumni Weekend in October.
James R. Harper, M.D. '60
Alumni Spotlight: Robert Gibson, M.D. '66 and Suzanne Burlone, M.D. '07
Building Loyalty: The story of a newfound friendship between alumnus donor and scholarship recipient.
Dr. Robert Gibson, class of 1966, set out early on to create a professional life which would be a testimony to the experience he had as a medical student at UNC and make it possible for him to help give new medical students the best possible opportunities. Thus, when he and his wife, Martha (a 1966 graduate of UNC’s School of Nursing) decided to make a contribution to the UNC School of Medicine with a Loyalty Fund Scholarship, they did so in memory of Dr. Gibson’s sister, Aimee, a 1964 UNC graduate.
In 2006, Suzanne Burlone — then a fourth-year medical student — was the recipient of the Aimee Gibson Memorial Loyalty Fund Scholarship. When Suzanne matched the following year in Portland, Oregon, she had the opportunity to meet Dr. Gibson and develop a scholarship donor-recipient relationship. Since 2007, Suzanne and Robert have cultivated a wonderful friendship and system for professional insight and support as Suzanne continues her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Gibson says Suzanne is “…an outstanding physician, and it has been very rewarding and satisfying to us to watch her progress through her residency. She personifies the best hopes of those of us who are nearing the end of our medical careers and are making way for the younger generation of physicians.”
We asked Suzanne Burlone exactly what it is about her UNC School of Medicine experience as a Loyalty Fund scholar that’s made her educational and post-graduation professional experiences so special.
Suzanne, how did your scholarship shape you as a physician, or impact you during and now after your years at UNC School of Medicine?
SB: Receiving such a generous scholarship as a student instantaneously fosters a sense of community and camaraderie amongst the institution, donor and recipient involved. Being the recipient of a Loyalty Fund scholarship honed my desire to forever support UNC School of Medicine, and gave me a lasting friendship with the donors.
Why do you feel it is important for alumni to financially support their alma mater?
SB: Passing on the non-tangible learned approaches to life and medicine are important, but they can only persevere if the alma mater can sustain itself. Part of sustainability is financial support from previous graduates and financial viability, but furthermore involves a demonstration of dedication to an institution’s cause. Particularly for graduates who live remotely and can’t be involved in daily activities, financial support is a way of showing moral support.
Since you both live on the west coast, what keeps you tied to UNC School of Medicine?
SB: I have several classmates who live here in Portland… but I also stay in touch with several who are living all over the country. I continue to be somewhat involved with UNC’s Honduran Health Alliance. I also have hosted UNC medical students who have come to Portland to interview for various residencies.
Dr. Suzanne Burlone will marry her fiancé, Hector Solis, this September. She plans to continue to enjoy time with the “outdoor activity buddy” she has found in Dr. Gibson, who has taught her important lessons “about balancing family, daily doctoring duties, and time dedicated to international medical work.” Dr. Robert Gibson continues to practice cardiology and critical care in Portland, Oregon, where he and his wife, Martha are continually grateful for “great family, outstanding colleagues and good health.”
Student Program Feature – Your Dollars in Action
Currently there are more than 40 recognized student organizations in the UNC School of Medicine. Each year many of these organizations submit proposals to the Medical Alumni Office, either directly or through the Whitehead Medical Society, requesting Loyalty Fund support for specific projects deemed to be important to the academic experience. Funding is provided for student activities in a range from $200 to $6,000.
These student programs leave their mark on the students and the domestic and global community. Here is an example of your dollars in action.
Proyecto Puentes de Salud — “Project Health Bridges” — is a student-run organization, serving Hispanic communities in our state and in Guanajuato, Mexico.
The founding goal of Proyecto Puentes de Salud (PPS) is to ameliorate health care inequalities by serving as a “health bridge” between underserved Latino communities – both in North Carolina and in Mexico – and needed health services. The organization has adopted a twofold approach including providing quality medical attention to underserved and disadvantaged communities in Guanajuato, Mexico and conducting ongoing meaningful research in order to inform effective future intervention programs. Current areas of research include nutrition, obesity and diabetes, renal disease, cardiovascular disease and geriatric health.
PPS has been serving the community of Juventino Rosas since the summer of 2006. This year, however, PPS is expanding not only efforts in Juventino Rosas, but also to a new project in the town of San Miguel de Allende, also in Guanajuato. Six students will work with Dr. Salvador Quiroz, a nephrologist at San Miguel’s Hospital de la Fe, on a project focused on diabetes and renal disease. In Juventino Rosas, PPS will initiate several new service projects, including a series of community gardens in surrounding villages, a network of depression support groups for women and a system to increase access to primary care in nearby rural towns.
The hope of the students and faculty working with PPS is to better understand the medical needs of the communities abroad and, by extension, future Latino patients here in North Carolina. The state of Guanajuato was the unique choice because of its status as a principal source of immigration, accounting for 11-12% of all Mexican immigrants to the United States. Additionally, the program intends to promote an existing, long-term Sister-City relationship between Juventino Rosas and Carrboro, NC, and establish a lasting affiliation between the UNC School of Medicine and the community of Guanajuato.
Honor Roll of Loyalty Fund Donors 2009-10
Click here to view the preliminary list of donors which will become the 2009-10 Honor Roll of Donors. This list includes alumni who have made a cash gift to the Loyalty Fund between July 1, 2009 and April 16, 2010 – it does not include pledges. Please check the list for accuracy. Please contact the Medical Foundation with corrections or questions – Jason_Moon@med.unc.edu, Marie_Baker@med.unc.edu, or 800.962.2543. If you do not see your name and would like to be included in our Honor Roll of Donors, please simply make a gift to the Loyalty Fund by June 18, 2010.
E. Jackson Allison, M.D., M.P.H. '75 reports on his experience in Haiti
E. Jackson Allison, M.D., M.P.H. of the class of 1975 was one of many Carolina medical alumni who brought medical relief to Haiti after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit in January. Dr. Allison’s article “Medical Relief Mission to Haiti” was published in the American College of Emergency Physicians newsletter in March. To read about his experience, click here.
Fall Alumni Weekend
October 29-30, 2010
We have recently confirmed the dates for Fall Alumni Weekend and we'll be celebrating Homecoming with the rest of campus that weekend as the Tar Heels face William & Mary in Kenan Stadium that Saturday.
Details on the weekend's activities will be announced later this summer, but make plans to join us for the alumni and scholar dinner on Friday and alumni tailgate Saturday before kick-off.