Penn State College of Medicine
Alumni Update
Issue #7December 2011

Stories This Issue

A Message from the Alumni Society President  

From America to Africa

Career Night 2012 


George Todd, MD '74 Receives Penn State Alumni Fellow Award 


Alumni Weekend 2012  


Medical Center, College of Medicine, and Penn State News

Conservation brings great rewards for Medical Center  


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and Stay Connected 

Have you changed your email or mailing address recently? Did you get married, have a baby, or have you taken part in medical missions abroad? We want to hear from you, and so do your fellow alums! Send your updates to the Alumni Relations Office  

Suggested Links



Contact Us

Alumni Relations Office by email or 717-531-7063 

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Jan. 5
Career Night
Penn State Hershey Medical Center -
Hershey, PA

Thursday, Jan. 26 Road to THON Celebration
Penn Stater -
State College, PA

Friday, Feb. 10

Alumni and Friends Orthopaedic Dept. Reception -
San Francisco, CA

Friday-Sunday, Feb. 17-19
THON 2012
Bryce Jordan Center-
University Park, PA

Thursday, Feb. 23

Alumni Reception
Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club -
Naples, FL

Friday and Saturday, Mar. 2-3
Graduate Forum/Alumni Weekend -
Penn State Hershey Medical Center -
Hershey, PA

Friday, Mar. 17
Match Day
Location TBD -
Hershey, PA

Friday, May 4
Wine Festival Event
Giant Center -
Hershey, PA

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22
COM Alumni Weekend
Penn State Hershey Medical Center -
Hershey, PA

For more information about the events, including locations and times, please email the Alumni Relations Office. 

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COM Winter Picture
A Message from the Alumni Society PresidentAlumni Society President Wendy Braund, M.D. '01


My fellow College of Medicine Alumni, 


There is little question that these past weeks have been among the saddest times in the history of Penn State. As we all struggle to come to grips with the horrible events and alleged actions, I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you to share a few thoughts and ask for your support as we continue to recover and move forward. 


As a community focused on health care, Penn State College of Medicine alumni, family, and friends feel tremendous sympathy for the children and families at the center of the alleged acts of abuse. After all, we are not only an integral part of Penn State, we are professionals that count among our fundamental responsibilities the care and protection of children. We are all dealing with emotions that stretch from sorrow to anger to immense disappointment. In addition, some are questioning their commitment to the College of Medicine. 


In a case of such complexity, answers do not come easily or quickly, but we must maintain faith in our legal system, designed to protect the innocent, as well as prosecute the guilty.   

What is certain, however, is the importance of the role that Penn State's alumni and friends can play at this difficult time. Even as you have expressed your anger and sadness, many have also communicated their belief that Penn State can and will transcend this crisis. The values that have guided the University for more than 150 years and the College of Medicine for almost forty-five years — integrity, opportunity, excellence — will guide us through the challenges that lie ahead. The future of our University, our College, our students, and our patients is where we must focus our attention and aspirations. Our support helps Penn State represent all that is best in higher education.


I am sure you have become aware of Penn State's commitment to children who have suffered from abuse. I am happy to share with you information on Penn State Hershey's Center for the Protection of Children, which draws on the resources of our Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and the capabilities of Penn State's experts — University wide — in child protection. I am proud to know that Penn State has taken on this responsibility. 


There has never been a more important moment for those of us who believe in Penn State to represent its values to the larger world. For those of you questioning your loyalty, I hope in the coming weeks and months we can regain your support and trust in the College and the University. For those of you who have only strengthened your ties to Penn State and already reached out to support your alma mater, you have my sincere appreciation. 

Wendy Braund Signature 
Wendy E. Braund, M.D. '01, MPH, MSEd

President, College of Medicine Alumni Society 


From America to Africa: One Doctor Strives to Make a Difference   
Perry Jansen


Not many American physicians would leave a suburban family practice in the U.S. to practice medicine at a clinic in Malawi, let alone transplant their spouse and family to make Africa a permanent home.


But that's exactly what Perry Jansen, M.D. '91, did. He recounts the starfish story, which was part of his essay for medical school: [Thousands of starfish have washed ashore, dry, and dying. A boy walks along throwing them back into the water. A man stops and says, "There are so many. What difference can one person make?" The boy answers, "It makes a difference to this one," and throws another starfish into the ocean.]


As Jansen explains, there are millions of people with AIDS that he can't reach. For eleven years, however, as founder and director of Partners in Hope (a local NGO focused on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi), Jansen has made a difference in the lives of the patients he has cared for. "I couldn't say that about my practice in suburban America," he says. "I would have been one of many doctors."



Annual COM Career Night set for January 5, 2012  


You are invited to join fellow Penn State College of Medicine alumni, current faculty, emeritus faculty members, and currentCareer Night 2012

College of Medicine students, on January 5, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. for Career Night. The event will take place at the University Conference Center on the Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus.


As you know, students face many choices as they approach graduation. Through Career Night, the College seeks to help students explore career options by interacting with mentors who have already lived the experience. During the dinner, students are seated with mentors who have
chosen a career path that interests them.


Following dinner, students have the opportunity to circulate to other tables for small roundtable discussions focused on specific specialties and professions. There are no formal presentations; just come prepared to discuss your career choices.


We anticipate more than seventy-five students taking part in the evening, and your participation is vital to make this program a success.

Please contact Alumni Relations at or 717-531-8497 to volunteer to participate no later than Monday, January 2, 2012.


George Todd, M.D. '74, Receives Penn State Alumni Fellow Award


George J. Todd, M.D. '74, is the Walter A. Wichern Jr. Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and chairman of the Department of Surgery at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. On October 5, 2011, Todd received the Penn State Alumni Association Alumni Fellow Award at University Park, Pa., becoming the twenty-fifth graduate of the College of Medicine to earn the honor. 


Following his graduation from the College of Medicine, Todd completed his surgical training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1980 and served as chief of vascular surgery at Columbia University Medical Center before assuming his current role as chairman of surgery at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. While a med student, he was awarded first prize in the International Medical Student Research Competition sponsored by the American College of Chest Physicians (1974).


Todd has authored more than 100 publications in his field and has lectured extensively throughout the world. He is a member of all major vascular surgical societies in the United States and was elected by his peers as a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Vascular Surgery.


For the past twenty years, Todd has been listed on every compilation of the "Best Doctors in New York" and the "Top Doctors in America." He has also served as consulting surgeon to the New York Yankees since 1995 and performed career-saving surgery on several Yankee players.   


Todd currently serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Discovery, a 400-acre residential community for handicapped and autistic children and adults in Sullivan County, N.Y. 


He and his wife, Alice, have three grown children and live in Westchester County, N.Y.  


Alumni Weekend 2012:
Return to the Place Where it All Began


Alumni Weekend 2012 Ad

For almost forty-five years Penn State College of Medicine has been the common ground for more than 6,600 medical alumni. Many successful and rewarding careers have been launched from the Penn State Hershey campus. Alumni Weekend provides College of Medicine graduates the opportunity to come together for a two-day celebration of the Medical Center and their own individual careers. 
One of the events that will take place during September 21-22, 2012 is the All-Alumni Welcome Back Dinner. Alumni, faculty representatives from the past and present, and students will join together for a memorable evening of food and reconnection. 
During the weekend, the classes of 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007 will gather to recognize their quinquennial reunion years, and the Class of 1982 will be welcomed into the Crescent Society. If you would like to be a member of your reunion committee, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at
or 717-531-8497. 


We hope to see you at Alumni Weekend, September 21-22, 2012. Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar!