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President’s Message

There are many changes underway at the medical school, including the direction and function of the National Medical Alumni Association Board. On Saturday, August 10, the Executive Committee of the board met in Chicago for a half-day retreat. Our objective was to brainstorm ideas to chart a new course for the Alumni Board, with input from Feinberg Dean Eric Neilson and Vice Dean for Development Alan Krensky.

One result of our discussions was the development of a new structure that focuses on increased involvement and action, with four pillars to guide our activities― fundraising, engagement/communications, mentoring/networking, and strategic initiatives.

Our progress will be presented to the full National Board at our fall meeting on November 15-16 and we will then decide how to implement. Here I share a few of the details, including a proposed Mission Statement.

We believe the purpose of the National Alumni Board of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is to foster, among its members, a spirit of loyalty, professional interaction, mentoring and philanthropy so as to help ensure the continued success of the School as a leader in education, patient care, and research.

The officers, who will each serve two-year terms, include the President, President-Designate, and Immediate Past President. The Executive Committee includes the officers, Chair of the Mentoring Committee, and Member at Large. The Executive Committee and the Board will meet twice a year.

In addition, we will be forming committees to represent the four pillars, and I would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to join what I envision will be four very active groups. Those involved will work with alumni relations and development staff to create new opportunities and implement new programs of interest to all of our alumni and students as well. Visit our newly revamped Medical Alumni Association website for more details about the pillars and how we plan to build upon them.

Another recent change at the medical school was the August 31 retirement of Ginny Darakjian, assistant dean of alumni relations. I’d like to recognize her many years of dedication to all matters concerning alumni. She was instrumental in putting in place new tools (see story here) to help keep alumni connected to one another and to the school and led the team that planned many events and activities on our behalf.

Ginny has been a great friend to us over the past 23 years, and we will miss her guidance and support. However, she left us in good stead―before her departure she paved the way for her replacement, ML Farrell, senior associate director of alumni relations.

ML has spent her career in higher education, working at several academic institutions including, most recently, Johns Hopkins and Brown University. Over the years, she has worked with medical alumni, students, grateful patients, donors, and physicians on special events, alumni programs, and fundraising activities. Her breadth of experience will be extremely helpful as she leads alumni relations at the Feinberg School of Medicine. I look forward to working with ML as the Alumni Board takes a more active role in support of the medical school.


All the best,

David Winchester, MD ’63