2013 Legacy Brunch
Multiple families gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., to celebrate, not only their established bond to GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), but also their continued connection to the school through one of this year’s 177 first-year medical students, donning their first “white coat” that day.
Each family came to Washington, D.C. to witness this momentous occasion for their first-year medical student, but the 2013 Legacy Brunch provided a brief moment for alumni and faculty to reflect upon the role SMHS played in their lives – and how it will play an important role in the lives of the next generation of SMHS graduates.
Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD ’85, Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, vice president for health affairs, and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, welcomed each family to the brunch and provided a brief overview of the exciting things taking place within the school.
“The enhancements at SMHS, including the digitization of the pathology lab, the establishment of the Center for Neglected Tropical Diseases of Poverty, and the expansion of the CLASS Center, enable us to honor a long tradition of training excellent clinicians and gives us the ability to elevate the school to a higher level,” said Akman.
He shared his connection to the school as a faculty member, alumnus, and legacy – telling the story that his cousin, Leonard Akman, M.D. ’43, not only provided mentorship but also gifted him his microscope that he used in medical school. Akman explained that he has a longstanding and meaningful connection to GW SMHS and invited the other families to reflect upon their experiences at GW.
While all of the families at the brunch had a connection to one of the students participating in the white coat ceremony that day, several of the attendees had multiple family members who had attended the university. “GW runs in my blood,” noted Kerry Kuhn, M.D. ’73, whose sister, daughter – Dana Kuhn, M.D. class of 2014, son – Jordan Kuhn, M.D. class of 2017, and niece are all part of the GW family. “You can always tell who the GW grads are,” said Kuhn, noting that solid medical education provides them with a good foundation that helps reinforce their judgment.
Throughout the brunch, each family stood up and spoke about their experiences at GW – including J. Richard Ludgin, M.D. ’79, RESD ’80, who told the story of meeting his wife, Cynthia Austin, M.D. ’79, on their first day of medical school. This year, their daughter Jennifer Ludgin is a first year medical student and because of the stories she’d heard about GW throughout her childhood, she expressed her excitement about participating in Follies, among other annual traditions.
Jonathan Matz, M.D. ’86, relayed his favorite memories at GW SMHS which included “cookies” – a time for first- and second-year medical students to get to know each other. “I always felt that SMHS faculty spent time with us as students and were intent on ensuring that everyone did well,” said Matz and was pleased that his son, Ethan, would be experiencing that same GW culture.
The Legacy Brunch was a great opportunity for the new medical students to witness the incredible connection that alumni and faculty members have to the school. To begin their journey as a first year medical student – and before they walked on stage and signed the oath of a medical practitioner – the brunch enabled them to reflect on the journey that others have taken and that they are about to embark upon.