The eternal bonds of medical school
Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2022
By Michelle Read
The hugs were warmer and the smiles wider as Faculty of Medicine alumni classes reconnected over food, wine and camaraderie earlier this month.
Three years of absence did indeed make the heart grow fonder, with a sense at this year’s Homecoming that bonds had grown stronger than ever.
Medicine is a journey that continues long after studies come to an end. But despite life pulling alumni in different directions, each year we welcome the opportunity to come home, catch up, and celebrate the caring, sharing and support of our global Faculty family.
Sharing pride in our successes
On the opening Friday evening, peers, classmates, alumni, learners and faculty mingled atop the Westin Ottawa at venue TwentyTwo—getting re-acquainted, swapping stories and achievements, and meeting faculty members and Dean Bernard Jasmin.
Dr. Jasmin acknowledged the event’s occurrence on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and the Faculty’s support of Indigenous rights and freedoms.
“Through initiatives like the Indigenous Program, the faculty recruits, supports and creates opportunities for Indigenous students with interests in traditional healing methods and working in health care systems in Indigenous communities,” he said.
He went on to highlight two of the new initiatives that the Faculty is proudly embarking on.
“The new Advanced Medical Research Centre will address the urgent need for new research and innovation infrastructure, training programs to support talent pipelines, knowledge translation, and development of new start-up companies,” he said, “and will also house the Ottawa Health Innovation Hub.”
He also touched on the creation of the Ottawa Academic Health Network, noting a vision that “seeks to enhance the existing relationship between stakeholder institutions to share information, resources and expertise.” The network will be an important a partnership between Ottawa’s five academic health science centres and the faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Contributing to excellence together
The dean expressed his pride in our alumni’s successes on Sunday morning, the final day of the weekend’s celebrations as he kicked off the Farewell Brunch at the Shaw Centre with cheery praise.
"You are fulfilling your dreams by advancing patient care, by having a real impact on your patients' lives and by giving back to others," he said. "You are the strength of this wonderful community of former classmates and colleagues.”
The dean next recognized alumni celebrating 40, 50 and 60 years since graduation by presenting them with an exclusive anniversary year pin featuring the Faculty seal. Recipients from the classes of 1961, 1967, 1971 and 1982 were some of those who accepted their special recogntion pins on stage.
Certificates were presented to classes celebrating 20 to 35 years since graduation and included recipients from the classes of 1987, 1997, 2000 and 2002.
Helping hands uniting in support
During Sunday’s brunch, Dr. Jasmin expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Faculty for those classes who have participated in the Class Giving Program over the years.
“Thank you for your tremendous dedication to medicine and the greater community we are all a part of,” he said.
“Learners at the Faculty of Medicine rely on the generous and meaningful support of their alumni and mentors who choose to give back to the next generation. After all, only you understand intimately the challenges that they may face throughout their medical education.”
Dr. Jasmin shared examples of how classes in our Faculty family have created class giving projects in support of students who could use a hand on their journey.
- Class of 1961: Started their class fund in 1992, right after celebrating their 30th anniversary. The fund provides financial assistance to students in the MD program.
- Class of 1967: Created their class fund, “Bridge-to-Medicine Scholarship,” in celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2017, to help MD students realize their full potential.
- Class of 2002: Launched their class fund, “Class of 2002 Uttam Sungkur Memorial Scholarship,” in memory of a classmate. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to combine athletics with their academic and personal life.
“The impact of your contributions resonates across campus and your support helps students fulfill their own dreams,” said Dr. Jasmin.
Hearing these stories has inspired many alumni and graduating classes to consider creating a class fund of their own in support of medical students, giving future physicians the opportunity to make their own contributions to medical innovation.
“These awards and scholarships often help young students who are barely making ends meet in pursuit of their formal education,” said Dr. Jasmin. Classes wishing to discuss an idea for a fund may be in touch with Kerry Winnemore.
Here’s to cherishing bonds that can never be broken. It was nice to have you home again!
Main photo: The Faculty of Medicine class of 1967, celebrating 55 years this year, poses in front of a view of the Parliament Buildings from the Shaw Centre on October 2, 2022. Photo credit: Mélanie Provencher
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