Memories and Merrymaking Highlight Miller School Medical Alumni Weekend

Medical alumni from around the country mingled, reconnected, and reminisced on the Miller School of Medicine campus and at the Biltmore Hotel this past weekend for Medical Alumni Weekend 2015. The annual event celebrated the medical school with three days of activities that ushered in a new generation of UM physicians, shared recent advances in research and patient care, and brought together former classmates.

The weekend marked many milestone anniversaries among Miller School alumni. Among them, the 50th and 25th reunions with the classes of 1965 and 1990, which were both honored with a celebration at the Newman Alumni Center. The classes of 1960, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1995, 2000, and 2005 celebrated their 55th, 45th, 40th, 35th, 30th, 20th, 15th, and 10th reunions.

Alumni and their guests had a chance to catch up at the weekend’s crowning event, the Alumni Reception and Banquet. The event was held at the Biltmore Hotel – the Miller School’s original home.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., delivered his annual ‘State of the School’ address, detailing the latest achievements at the medical school. Among the highlights were the groundbreaking of the Lennar Foundation Medical Center, a 200,000-square-foot outpatient center on UM’s Coral Gables campus; the grand opening of the new nanofabrication facility at the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Miami (BioNIUM); and the start of a joint internal medicine residency program created by the Miller School of Medicine and Holy Cross Hospital.

“You have much to be proud of at your alma mater,” said Goldschmidt, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “At the U, we transform lives through teaching, research, and service. But of all our goals and accomplishments, perhaps none is more important than our students and alumni. We actively recruit faculty who are the best in their fields and ready to train the next generation of physicians and scientists. Our tradition of excellence in medical education continues.”

Immediately afterward, Alberto Mitrani, M.D. ’85, chairman of the Alumni Awards Selection Committee, presented the 23rd University of Miami Alumni Hall of Fame Award. The prestigious honor is presented to alumni at least 10 years post-graduation who have achieved national or international recognition for an outstanding contribution in academic, research or societal aspects of medicine.

This year’s recipient is Aileen M. Marty, M.D. ’82, professor of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Marty has also served as a professor of emerging infections and pathology at the Uniformed Services University, The Johns Hopkins University, the National Defense University, and The University of Valencia, Spain.

She has worked with the World Health Organization in Europe, the Americas, and Africa, most recently in the fight against the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Nigeria.

“While most of the world was contemplating from a distance how to deal with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, Dr. Aileen Marty made her way right into the middle of it, more than once,” said Mitrani. “From the onset, she has been an integral part of an international team, assembled to deal with this catastrophe.”

Marty, who accepted the honor before family members and a group of longtime friends including UM trustee, alumna, and Grammy award-winning music superstar Gloria Estefan, said she was overwhelmed by the honor.

“Being at the University of Miami Medical School shaped me and readied me for what I wound up doing in the U.S. Navy, in the World Health Organization, in tropical medicine and for Ebola,” said Marty, who served in the Navy for 25 years specializing in tropical medicine, infectious disease pathology, disaster medicine, medical response, and policy involving weapons of mass destruction. “Medicine isn’t just about treating an individual patient, which is incredibly and critically important, but how medicine affects society, the world, economies, and is a crucial part of our national security.”

The weekend also featured the Donors and Scholars Luncheon, which brought together alumni and major donors of Miller School scholarships with grateful students.
Jeffrey Block, M.D. ’82, president of the Medical Alumni Association, said scholarship support remains a key focus among alumni.
“We are not maturing, we have matured,” he said. “We are now a top-tier school and we’ve got the alumni support of 60 years to show off our product and help support the next generation of doctors.”

The event featured a video, which allowed students to put into their own words how important scholarship money is to them.

It was a sentiment echoed by Alex Mechaber, M.D. ’94, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at the Miller School, who was also a scholarship recipient as a student.

Knowing the difference philanthropy makes in a student’s life, Mechaber had the students recite a pledge vowing that they will contribute to scholarship support in years to come.

“I hope that you too will one day be inspired to continue the wonderful example set by our donors, so that, like you, future generations of students can have access to a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine education,” he said.

The events also included an alumni brunch at The Biltmore, as well as the 15th Annual John G. Clarkson Freshman Pinning Ceremony, where first-year medical students were symbolically pinned by alumni and academic society leaders as an official welcome into the UM family.

Miller School faculty members also led continuing medical education sessions under the banner of “Advances in Medical Research and Patient Care,” hosted by course director Maria Egusquiza, M.D. ’87.

Fred F. Telischi, M.D. ’85, professor of neurological surgery and biomedical engineering, James R. Chandler Chair in Otolaryngology, and Chairman of Otolaryngology, accompanied by Sergio Guerreiro, AuD., assistant professor, Director of Operations Audiology Administration in the Department of Otolaryngology, presented a session called “What’s New with Hearing Loss? (Helen Keller Said It Best).” Eduardo de Marchena, M.D. ’80, Associate Dean for International Medicine, professor of medicine and surgery, and Assistant Director of Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Programs for the Miller School, discussed “Advances in Transcatheter Therapy of Structural Heart Disease.” Walter Lambert, M.D. ’85, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and Medical Director of the University of Miami Child Protection Team, led a session entitled “Sexual Abuse of Children.”

To view a photo gallery of the Alumni Reception and Banquet, click here. For more information on alumni events and news, visit

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