Temple Med Community Comes Together for Reunion and Alumni Weekend
This spring marked the return of one of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s most beloved traditions. The 2022 Reunion & Alumni Weekend, April 29-30, welcomed more than 200 alumni and friends, who joined together to celebrate the past as well as the school’s exciting advances in medical education and research.
It was the first in-person reunion since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic and marked the first celebration that included all alumni – not just those celebrating milestone reunions – since the school’s centennial celebration in 2001.
The weekend’s events began with a Golden Owls Dinner at the Independence Visitor Center for alumni celebrating a 50th reunion or above. Meanwhile, members of other alumni classes gathered nearby, at the Independence Beer Garden, to reminisce and to raise a glass of cheer. All were invited to campus the next morning, which began with a program to honor a brilliant master professor, the late Carson Schneck, MD ’59, PhD ’65. Dr. Schneck tended the medical school’s gateway Gross Anatomy course for 52 years and left a lasting imprint on thousands.
Following the celebration of Dr. Schneck, alumni enjoyed lunch, then took tours of the Medical Education and Research Building led by medical students and faculty.
Penny Garcia (Director, Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety), and Jane Cripe, BSMT (Professional/Technical Director), provided the tour of the Simulation Institute. Steven N. Popoff, PhD (the John Franklin Huber Endowed Chair and Department of Biomedical Education and Data Science Chair) and Nicole Griffin, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Education) gave tours of the Schneck Anatomy Lab. Finally, tours of the Innovation Lab were led by Nick Perilli (Innovation Librarian) and Olamide Sowole (College of Public Health Student).
Later that evening, alumni celebrating Reunions gathered for a signature celebration and Alumni Awards presentation at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. During her remarks, Amy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS, Interim Dean of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, told the alumni gathered for the event that their “alma mater is doing robustly well” and that “education, the keystone of our mission, is in full bloom.”
“We are enhancing our research enterprise. We are very strong in basic science, with R1 research status and $90 million in extramural funding. Premier journals publish our work. Hot on our agenda is to expand our clinical research portfolio, and to prioritize tech transfer, patents, licensing agreements, and startups,” she said.
She noted that the School’s CRISPR gene-editing technology for eradicating HIV DNA from host cells was moving into human trials, and that this year the school became only one of five in the nation to provide first-year medical students with point-of-care ultrasound devices and education.
In thanking the alumni for their help with reducing student loan debt, she noted that last year the medical school raised more than $6.8 million in new scholarship dollars and increased the school’s scholarship endowment to a record $56 million.
Joan Zeidman, MD ’87, incoming president of the Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors, joined Dr. Goldberg in presenting the 2022 Alumni Awards. This year’s slate of honorees:
Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Alumnus of the Year Award
Frank A. Rumore, MD ’67, practiced adult and child psychiatry in the San Francisco Bay area for 45 years, leading a distinguished and multi-faceted career that had a far-reaching impact. His influence spread from his leadership roles at several psychiatric hospitals, teaching at Stanford University, private practice, and consulting for multi-national tech firms in the Silicon Valley.
Honored Professor Award
Abhijit S. Pathak MD ’91, Professor of Surgery, Director of Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Temple University Hospital, and Program Director of Temple’s Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. Dr. Pathak has practiced and taught Temple’s signature style of medicine for more than two decades
Emerging Leader Award
Mitzie-Ann Davis, MD ’07, a gynecologic oncologist at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Fayetteville, Ga., who has shown a deep commitment to providing comprehensive cancer care to women.
Alumni Service Award
Arthur M. Bobrove, MD ’67, a California rheumatologist whose career spanned 30 years of clinical practice and teaching. He also has an inventor’s touch and has been awarded six patents for medical devices and therapeutics. In 2020, he and his wife, Helen, established the Bobrove Family Endowed Scholarship at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine in gratitude for the financial aid he received at Temple during his student days.
Alumni Achievement Award
Jay T. Backstrom, MD ’82, has dedicated his career to advancing novel and innovative therapies, successfully shepherding multiple treatments from research ideas in the lab to practice-changing medicines for patients. He has brought new treatments to the marketplace for many conditions, including acute myeloid leukemia, non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic pancreatic cancer, and cardiovascular disease. He has held key leadership positions at Merrell Dow, Celgene, and other major companies.
Alumni Achievement Award
Eileen C. Helzner, MD ’72, served as Vice President of Medical Affairs, Medical Devices, and Diagnostics Group at Johnson & Johnson and in multiple therapeutic drug areas, helping to bring to the over-the-counter market such commonly known drugs as loperamide, ibuprofen, and famotidine. She also served as Vice President of Global Medical Affairs, Women’s Health, for the former Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
Drs. Helzner, Bobrove, and Rumore all serve on the medical school’s Board of Visitors, its chief advisory board.
Following the awards presentation and dinner, the evening was topped off with live music and dancing – a fitting way to conclude an uplifting weekend celebration of the Temple traditions our alumni share.
A gift to support scholarship in honor of our Reunion Classes will help give more Temple medical students the opportunity to pursue their calling, with an education rooted in the values of excellence and service to the community. Thank you for investing in the next generation of Temple Made physicians.