College of Medicine Reunion 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

As a child and adult psychiatrist with the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center in New Haven, Dorothy Stubbe, MD, understands the importance of paying attention to one’s feelings.

That may explain, at least partly, her decision to attend this year’s reunion.

“I got very nostalgic for my old classmates and the University of Arizona, and I still have some family in Arizona, so I’m delighted to be here,” said Stubbe, who graduated with the Class of 1985.

“I love it. It’s exciting to be at my alma mater,” she said.

This year’s reunion weekend kicked off with our third annual Continuing Medical Education course, “Innovative Medicine: New Approaches to Old Challenges.”

The three CME presenters and their topics were:

• Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, Class of 1992, director of the Pima County Health Department, and College of Medicine – Tucson Alumnus of the Year, speaking on current screening and vaccination practices for cervical cancer prevention.
• Leigh Neumayer, MD, professor and head, Department of Surgery, reviewing barriers to optimal care in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
• Peter Rhee, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burns and Emergency Surgery, on new ways to care for penetrating traumatic brain injury, which have produced improvements in survival and outcome, at reduced costs.

The course evaluation form asked participants what changes they would make in their practice as a result of the presentations. Here’s a sample of the replies:

• “Encourage more of my adolescent patients to receive HPV vaccine. I already recommend, but will push harder.”
• “Sharing information with my spouse, a counselor for breast cancer patients.”
• “As an anesthesiologist, I do not have the opportunity for long-term patient care. However, I now have more information to share with my patients, family and friends.”
• “New mammogram guidelines: I will be better able to discuss treatments with patients.”

Following an informal lunch, alumni spent the afternoon in Med School 2.0, which included:
• learning about the College of Medicine curriculum, which is now structured in basic-science “blocks” that allow students to concentrate on one course at a time;
•  a tour of the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (ASTEC) where students get their first experience with laparoscopic surgery and other procedures;
• a tour of the Gross Anatomy Lab with legendary instructor Norm Koelling;
• joining first-year students in a clinical reasoning class;
• a visit with College of Medicine administrators who updated alumni about the College and its partnership with Banner Health.

Friday evening’s cocktail reception and buffet dinner was held at Tucson Country Club, where alumni enjoyed catching up with classmates.

Our 2015 Reunion and Homecoming Weekend concluded on Saturday with a tailgate party hosted by the University of Arizona Alumni Association, and the homecoming game with the Washington State Cougars. We will just say that was the only part of the weekend that did not go exactly as we would have liked. But there’s always next year.

Reunion not only brings former classmates together, it allows alumni to reconnect with some of their favorite professors and mentors.

Marlys Witte, MD, professor of surgery and founding faculty member of what is now the Department of Surgery, shared her thoughts about reunion:

“The annual COM reunions are a time of great pride for me, both in how much our alumni/ae have accomplished in their professional and personal lives, but also how much they valued their COM educational experience at the time, and looking back.  This is especially true of the earliest alumni/ae. This year, that was the two classes of 1975 A and B.  Seeing so many of them again in 2015 – after 40 years – reminds me of when the school was so much smaller – both the faculty and student body – and  the camaraderie was in the air.  All this makes me more determined than ever not only to remember our roots but also to try to recreate that intimate atmosphere of mutual faculty-student mentoring and engagement, no matter how big the COM and the University of Arizona Health Sciences become.”

By Jane Erikson