SMHS Legacies Shared During Annual Brunch
First-year George Washington University (GW) MD student Hoon Min determined in undergraduate school that he wanted to study history, specifically Czechoslovakian literature under communist rule. The only problem was he couldn’t speak French, or German. “My professor told me kindly that it would be a difficult journey for me,” he recounted during the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Legacy Brunch.
So he turned to his father, Hoki Min, MD ’91, for advice, who joked “if you can’t study history, why not take a [patient’s] history instead?”
Min said it was one of his father’s typical “terrible dad jokes,” but one that ended up meaning a lot more. He applied to his dad’s alma mater, and this summer moved from California to Washington, D.C., to begin his medical education.
The Legacy Brunch, an annual event held by the SMHS Office of Development and Alumni Relations, started in 2010 to honor ongoing alumni connections to the school and to celebrate family legacies in medicine at GW. The brunch offers alumni the opportunity to reflect and share the role SMHS played in their own medical school experience.
The families were welcomed to the brunch by Richard Simons, MD, senior associate dean for MD programs, and Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, MD ’85, MSPH, senior associate dean for clinical public health, Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, and professor of medicine at SMHS.
“Part of why we love doing this event [is] because there’s amazing legacy in this room and in Ross Hall,” Deyton said. “We get to share the joy and beauty of training and medicine at GW and we get to pass that legacy on.”
Each of the incoming MD students spoke of the feeling they got walking onto GW’s campus and meeting with leaders of SMHS: A feeling that in coming here, they’d be part of a family.
“What brought me to GW was the diversity they present, and if the past three days [of orientation] was any indication of the next four years, I’m in store for something special and looking forward to seeing where the journey takes us,” said Ryan Mortman, his father, Keith Mortman, MD, director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery and an associate professor of surgery, nodding along to his son’s comments.
In addition to father son duos, the event also welcomed sets of siblings.
Maya Rao, sister of fourth-year MD student Vinay Rao, joked that from her time at Case Western Reserve University for undergraduate school to GW, she’s been following her brother for eight years straight. “I’ve been getting a lot of flak for that,” she said, laughing. “But he picks good places, clearly.”
Rao said GW emerged as a clear favorite for her because of the health policy track offered at the school.
She remarked that one of her most formative experiences at Case Western was running for student body president and winning — winning against her boyfriend, who was sitting next to her at the table at the brunch, smiling.
“That experience made me very interested in the policy and advocacy aspects of health care,” she said. “So I’m really excited to be here and I don’t think there’s any place better to pursue this. Ryan [Mortman] said it best, if orientation showed me anything, it’s that this is a really special group of people and I think we’ll all support each other on this path to medicine.”