Cura Personalis on the Road

By Allan Hutchison-Maxwell (S’14)

Have you noticed lately? Hoyas are everywhere!

Wherever you’re reading this, you’re probably not far from another student or graduate of one of the schools of Georgetown University Medical Center, or from a Georgetown regional alumni club. The wide distribution of the Georgetown family has led to demand for events across the country. Alumni and students from all of Georgetown’s schools share a growing interest in medical and health-related issues, and through innovative programming, the university is answering that call— and hitting the road.

Spring break 2.0

For example, now Georgetown undergraduates can participate in hands-on health-related programs through alternative spring break trips. Coordinated by Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, the trips offer opportunities for students to learn about health issues in other parts of the country. In March, a group studying mental health went to Boston to meet with mental health advocates, staff from medical centers, and local non-profits. They heard from those who are often silenced by the traditional treatment model, and learned about mental health within the context of civil rights. Other trips examined health disparities in New York City, in Jackson, Mississippi, and right here in Washington, D.C. The mission of the Health & Society trip, written by student leaders, reveals an interest in understanding the complex connections impacting health across the country today: “Reflection on the intersectionalities— such as with homelessness, women’s issues, and food access—that coincide with the issues we discuss is critical to understanding and appreciating the breadth of health care issues our society faces.”

Annual weekend away from the Hilltop

Intersectionality and health justice were also the subject of an event at Georgetown’s 2017 John Carroll Weekend in Austin, Texas. John Carroll Weekend is an annual gathering of alumni from around the world, with programming designed to encourage social, cultural, and intellectual engagement.

Alumni attending the weekend were introduced to the new Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance when Vicki W. Girard (L’87) and Eileen S. Moore, MD, leaders and founders of the partnership, shared how the combined resources of the university’s medical and law centers are promoting health justice.

Last year’s John Carroll Weekend took place in Rome, Italy, and in 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Along with workshops, tours, and presentations from faculty across the university, the popular gathering of alumni includes programs covering timely medical and health topics with experts from GUMC.

Lunch and learn with top doctors

In 2009, Georgetown began offering a community education series on campus showcasing the university’s groundbreaking research on important health issues. This series, Doctors Speak Out, grew from a core group of dedicated grateful patients, Washington area community members, and friends of the university. They helped to convene the first event, a lunch and panel discussion with researchers, which blossomed into the popular series offered regularly at Georgetown.

Doctors Speak Out events are now being planned in cities across the country. After a successful program in Houston this past November with Robert Clarke, dean for research and professor of oncology at GUMC, the program heads to Boston this year for another conversation about medical research and care with GUMC scientists and local Georgetown alumni and friends.

After the match

Georgetown is also reaching out to alumni to help welcome freshly minted School of Medicine graduates. The Matching Alumni to Caring Hoyas program brings together recent graduates with medical alumni in nearby locations. After connecting through the program, the alumni serve as mentors to the new graduates to help establish them in the region as they begin their careers. Whenever possible, the matching is done at the specialty or hospital level to build a relationship that will bring lasting benefits to both parties.

Through these and other programs, Georgetown continues to bring alumni together in a community of women and men for others, connected by a common interest in health and medicine. 

Interested in learning more? Visit gumc.georgetown.edu to find engagement opportunities on campus or in your area.