Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ACC Celebrates a Momentous Milestone

On December 2, 2013, over 400 people came together to celebrate the Abramson Cancer Center’s 40th Anniversary of being designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. This momentous milestone granted us the opportunity to celebrate achievements in cancer research, patient care, and education during the last four decades that continue to bring hope to patients and their families affected by cancer.

We were pleased to award Bert Vogelstein, M.D., world-renowned geneticist from the Johns Hopkins University, with the inaugural Abramson Award and hear his special lecture, Cancer Genomes and Their Implications for Research and Patients.

A special thank you goes out to our generous sponsors who are helping to ensure that we will reach even more milestones over the next 40 years!

From left: Dean J. Larry Jameson, M.D., Ph.D., Alan J. Wein, M.D., FACS, Ph.D. (Hon), 
Noele Wein, and Daniel J. Keating, III, Chair, ACC Director’s Leadership Council.

 From left: Bonnie Gray, Leonard and Shari Potter, Mindy Gray, and Michele Jameson.

 From left: Geraldine Rosato, Jeffrey A. Drebin, M.D., Ph.D., Rafe and Tony Rosato.

 Founding donors, Leonard (far left) and Madlyn Abramson, Bert Vogelstein, M.D., 
and ACC Director, Chi V. Dang, M.D., Ph.D.

Visit for additional highlights and a full list of our generous sponsors who made this event possible.

Celebrate the 250th!

Medical Alumni Weekend 2015 to Feature Black Tie Gala, Saturday, May 16

All alumni are invited to for a black-tie gala in honor of School’s 250th anniversary on May 16, 2015, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A symposium on the future of medicine will be held during the afternoon on Friday, May 15. Plans for both, including ticket prices, will be forthcoming.

Please note that Class Reunion events will occur on Friday night in 2015.

We hope you will save the date and help make this an occasion to remember.

Brotherly Love: Kennedy Twins Reunite at Penn Medicine

Identical twins Will and Greg Kennedy spent most of their lives together through college. But after their 2012 graduation from Princeton University, slightly divergent interests in medicine led to an ocean-wide separation.

While Will began his medical education at the Perelman School, Greg traveled to the United Kingdom for a master’s degree in the history of medicine at Cambridge University.

Greg Kennedy, M'17, and Will Kennedy, M'16, at Greg's White Coat ceremony on August 16, 2013.

Throughout their college years, the Kennedy brothers worked in an oncology laboratory at the Mayo Clinic, with both clearly intrigued by research. Will first became interested in the Perelman School during a medical school information session in his freshman year at Princeton. The Penn Medicine contingent, including faculty and a student panel composed of Princeton alumni, trumpeted the team-based learning environment, early clinical exposure, and expansive opportunities for research and service.

A year-and-a-half later, Will has found all of this to be true. He counts his learning teammates (the group with whom each Perelman student is matched during the first week of the first year) among his closest friends. Also, one of his research projects was accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Ear, Nose, and Throat Advances in Children. “The research opportunities and the willingness of Penn’s faculty to mentor students is a testament to the supportive environment and sense of community that attracted me here on my interview day,” Will said.

As an inaugural Perelman scholar, he also appreciates the chance that he had last year to meet Ray Perelman and thank him personally for his generosity.

Meanwhile, Greg, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, was busy abroad poring over the history of medicine. “I am especially captivated by doctors who not only made tremendous advances in clinical medicine, but acted as powerful patient advocates and changed the landscape of healthcare on a national level, such as Sidney Farber, Virginia Apgar, and Jack Geiger,” he said.

Greg, now living with his brother again, is trying to do just that as a first-year Perelman student. Although many factors drew him to Penn, his brother’s presence and a generous merit scholarship and additional financial aid package among them, it was the school’s unique ethos that appealed to him. “I was very impressed by a culture that prioritizes team-based, patient-centered learning, tremendous opportunities for scientific research and mentorship, and a strong commitment to local underserved patient populations,” Greg said.

Penn’s emphasis on early patient contact through the LEAPP (Longitudinal Experience to Appreciate Patient Perspectives) Program was particularly meaningful. Greg was paired with a premature neonate, which deeply resonated with him since he and his brother were also born prematurely at 26 weeks. Greg offered,

“Although I had some sense of the severity of our situation through family stories, I think LEAPP has given me a fuller understanding of the physical and emotional impact of prematurity not only on the patient, but on the entire family.”

Given their collegial and altruistic natures and steady involvement in the community, both have volunteered at the United Community Clinic, it's safe to say that the Kennedy brothers' reunion at the Perelman School represents a true symbiotic relationship for Penn and Philadelphia.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gift of Arno A. Roscher, M.D., Supports Novel Gene Targeting Technology to Drive More Efficient Gene Therapy

Arno A. Roscher, M.D., a world renowned physician-scientist who directed Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at two distinguished Los Angeles-area hospitals, recently gave $100,000 to support Penn Medicine’s Gene Targeting Core and Laboratory.

Directed by Tobias D. Raabe, Ph.D., the Core and Laboratory performs and enhances novel CRISPR and TALEN technologies that allow genetic modification of mouse and human stem cells for both basic research and gene therapy in patients with unprecedented efficiency and specificity.

Dr. Roscher, who “likes to acknowledge that he was born in Albert Einstein’s birthplace of Ulm, Germany,” earned his M.D. magna cum laude at the Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, Germany. He spent most of his career in Southern California, where he served on the leadership of both the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (1975-2001), and the former Granada Hills Community Hospital (1965-2003), where he is now an emeritus director. Since 1979 he has been clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

During his nearly 60 years in medicine, Dr. Roscher has helped to bring about important changes in radiation oncology, surgical oncology, and heart transplant and cardiac surgery, on which he published in more than 25 patient - centered studies and clinical trials. He also played a significant role in championing fine needle aspiration pathology and stem cell research.

With this gift Dr. Roscher continues his career-long dedication to supporting advances in science and medicine. He has made it a priority to educate surgeons on genetics, regenerative medicine, immunology, and other leading-edge fields that are changing the prospects for patients.

He organized 33 annual Arno A. Roscher symposia, which were co-sponsored by UCLA, USC and UCI, and in 2009 created the Dr. Arno A. Roscher Annual Endowed Lecture at the International College of Surgeons (ICS). He has served ICS since 1968, and earned its highest distinction, the ICS Honorary Fellow. Through his interests, he has met Nobel Prize winners and many other leading minds in science and medicine.

“It’s especially meaningful to us that this gift comes from an accomplished, knowledgeable, and forward-thinking medical practitioner and scholar, who has had a great influence on the implementation of better treatments,” said Morris J. Birnbaum, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Dean, Biomedical Cores at the Perelman School of Medicine.

“Dr. Roscher is very attuned to promising developments in medical research, and we are proud to have his endorsement and acknowledgment that this work will have a great impact on how quickly the causes of and therapies for genetic diseases are delivered in the foreseeable future.”

The gift came about when Drs. Roscher and Raabe met at a scientific conference.

“It’s the newest of the new,” said Dr. Roscher of Dr. Raabe’s work, and he enlisted Dr. Raabe’s assistance in creating an exhibit at the International Museum of Surgical Sciences on ‘surgicogenomics,’ the field that is “emerging from the intersection of genetics and stem cell research and surgical practice.” The Museum is a Division of the International College of Surgeons, dedicated to improving the lives of patients through the development and education of its members and the advancement of the medical field.

Dr. Roscher’s gift will be used to speed the work of the Gene Targeting Core and Laboratory through funding an additional research specialist and materials and supplies, for the purpose of advancing ultra high efficient gene targeting in mouse and human stem cells.

“This support is making a real difference in how much we can accomplish, and comes at a pivotal time when we are working on technologies that have the potential to be game changing,” said Dr. Raabe. “We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

More Dollars, Less Debt

Scholarship Support at Record-Setting Pace in 2014

Thanks to our donors, 2014 is a banner year for scholarships, with the Perelman School distributing $14 million in financial aid -- the highest amount yet. This extraordinary investment in our students means that they can expect to graduate with an average debt nearly $35,000 below the national average.

Expanding scholarship support was a priority of the Making History campaign, and our donors responded enthusiastically. At the Campaign's close, in 2012, the amount of financial aid offered annually had more than doubled. These numbers continue to grow as we approach the School's 250th anniversary in 2015.

Financial aid ensures that the most talented students, regardless of need, choose Penn. Because of these scholarship dollars, their futures are brighter -- and so is ours. We are proud to introduce just a few of our scholarship recipients, including two new John Morgan scholars, whose ranks have now grown to seven.

James Baier, M'17: Barbara Mock Scholar

James Baier
James Baier majored in political science, economics, and philosophy at Central College and completed the post-baccalaureate pre-med program at Penn. Currently the Publicity and Outreach Coordinator for the Penn Human Rights Clinic, Mr. Baier previously worked to resettle refugees who had come to Des Moines, Iowa.

"When I join a medical relief organization after my residency, I will no doubt earn much less working abroad than I would in the United States, and unless my debt burden was low I would not have the flexibility to do this," he said. "This gift has truly enabled me to pursue my dreams as far as my passion will take me."

Justin Larkin, M'17: John Morgan Scholar

Justin Larkin
Justin Larkin earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, majoring in physiology and developmental biology and in Portuguese. His interests are surgery and fetal diagnosis and treatment. Dual-degree opportunities drew Mr. Larkin to Penn, and he hopes to complete a joint MD/MBA. He is co-chair of the governing board for the new Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology certifcate program at Perelman.

"Having grown up in a single-parent home, I imagined it would be impossible for me to go to college, and much less medical school," he said. "Because of selfless donations like your own, I am able to attend a great medical school like Penn."

Lauren Miller, M'17: John Morgan Scholar

Lauren Miller
Lauren Miller earned a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in neurology, oncology, and surgery, and hopes to work in clinical practice and health policy. Last summer, Ms. Miller hiked the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. Through Penn, she has volunteered for Puentes de Salud and the University City Hospitality Coalition's medical clinic.

"Financial considerations were a huge factor of my medical school decision," she said, "and I am beyond grateful that some of these fears and anxieties were dispelled by your generous gift."

Support the New 250th Term Scholarship Fund

Celebrate the Perelman School's once-in-a-lifetime anniversary with a gift that both honors our tradition of outstanding intellectual achievement and makes it possible for more of America's finest students to receive a Penn medical education. Please email Dave Edwards for more information.

Support the Ride to Conquer Cancer

Philadelphia's first annual Ride to Conquer Cancer® will take place October 11-12, 2014, to benefit Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center. This ride isn't just for cyclists or athletes. It's for anyone who wants to strive for the life-changing goal of defeating cancer.

The 150+ mile cycling adventure through the picturesque landscapes around Philadelphia is designed with more casual riders in mind, and organized training activities are available to help you prepare. Hundreds of survivors, family members, students, alumni, faculty, and friends are expected to participate.
UPHS CEO Ralph Muller and Abramson Cancer Center Director Dr. Chi V. Dang are co-captains for the UPHS/ACC Team. "The funds raised through the Ride will be put to used to power our breakthrough cancer research, and world-class education and patient care programs right here in Philadelphia," he said.

Susan Ranck, of Springfield, is also registered and plans to ride in October. "I was recently diagnosed with a cancer that is so rare, there is not yet a cure," she said. "I am beyond grateful that funding from research enabled scientists to discover a drug that enables me to at least control it. Not so long ago, gastrointestinal stromal tumors were a practical death sentence, and now there are drug options to offset this terrible disease.

"I am here today thanks to research and breakthrough discoveries, so when I learned the Ride is coming to Pennsylvania, I registered immediately. I am excited to ride, and it's my hope that with more time and money, the researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center will find a cure for my disease -- and all forms of cancer."

To find out how you can sponsor or join the Ride, please visit the Ride to Conquer Cancer, or call 844-777-RIDE [7433].

22 Physicians Receive Penn Medicine’s Highest Clinical Award

The inaugural class of the Academy of Master Clinicians was honored at a celebratory dinner this February.  Nominating faculty, the selection committee, family, and friends joined Penn Medicine leadership to recognize the clinicians for exemplifying the highest standards of clinical excellence, humanism, and professionalism. 

The Academy of Master Clinicians is a new recognition representing the highest honor a clinician at Penn Medicine can achieve and was announced in July 2013 by J. Larry Jameson,  MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the university for the health system, and Ralph W. Muller, chief executive officer, UPHS.

Dean Jameson and Ralph Muller present award to Chief of Staff of the Abramson Cancer Center Joseph R. Carver, MD.

The Academy was established in part thanks to the generosity of Independence Blue Cross and was championed by John H. Glick, MD"Penn Medicine clinicians are innovators and leaders in their fields,” said Dr. Glick. “This major initiative recognizes and celebrates their contributions while at the same time strengthening our commitment to leadership in patient care for the future.”

Dr. Glick is the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology, president, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, vice president, UPHS, and associate dean for Resource Development.  He directed the Abramson Cancer Center from 1985-2006.

Any Penn Medicine employee can nominate a physician for the Academy.  Recipients receive a $10,000 award and the opportunity to influence practice across Penn Medicine through such means as mentoring and providing input to leadership on improving the culture of clinical excellence and promoting the ideal patient experience.

Philanthropic support is sought for this significant new initiative to recognize and develop outstanding physicians.  To learn how you can become involved, please call 215-898-0578.

Founding Members of the Academy of Master Clinicians
Ralph Muller and Dean Jameson with the Founding Members of the Academy of Master Clinicians front row, L to R: Victoria Mulhern, John H. Glick, MD, Laurie A. Loevner, MD, Kevin R. Fox, MD, Stanley N. Caroff, MD; back row: Ralph Muller, Stephen Ludwig, MD, Anne F. Reilly, MD, MPH, Kim M. Olthoff, MD, Howard Hurtig, MD, Dean Jameson. (not pictured: Joseph R. Carver, MD, Sidney M. Kobrin, MD, and Jack Ludmir, MD)

Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Inpatient Psychiatry Program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Director of the Penn Cardiology Fellows Practice, Chief of Staff of the Abramson Cancer Center, and Senior Administrative Officer at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Marianne T. and Robert J. MacDonald Professor in Breast Cancer Care Excellence and Director of the Rena Rowan Breast Center
Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology, Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Associate Dean for Resource Development at the Perelman School of Medicine, and President of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Frank and Gwladys Elliot Professor of Neurology and Chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of the Inpatient Dialysis Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Director of the Diabetic Nephropathy Program, and Director of the Dialysis Unit at Penn Medicine at Radnor
Professor of Radiology and Chief of the Division of Neuroradiology
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chair of OB-GYN at Pennsylvania Hospital, and Vice Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Executive Director of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development at the Perelman School of Medicine
Donald Guthrie Professor in Surgery, Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery, Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation at the Transplant Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs in the Department of Surgery
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Medical Director of Oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The Academy of Master Clinicians, 2013

Professor of Pediatrics and Chief, Division of General Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Penn Cardiac Care Radnor
Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Professor of Radiology and Chief of Breast Imaging
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of EMS Field Operations
Adele and Harold Schaeffer Professor in Medicine and Assistant Vice President, UPHS, and Assistant Dean in the Perelman School of Medicine
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Sandra J. Lazarus Associate Professor in Dermatology
Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery
Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center and Director of the Penn Center for Voice and Swallowing
John J. Mikuta,  MD Professor of Gynecologic Oncology; Chief, Gynecology Oncology; Director, Center for Advanced Gynecologic Surgery; Director, Gynecology Oncology at Pennsylvania Hospital
Professor of Neurology
Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and Medical Director of Adult Developmental Disorders
Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chief of Sports Medicine
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine and Therapeutic Pathology
Clinical Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pennsylvania Hospital
Parker Family Professor of Neurology and Director of the Penn Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center
Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medicine at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
Professor of Medicine in Hematology Oncology and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at the Abramson Cancer Center