Month: April 2011

Election to the African Academy of Sciences

photo_globeI was recently honored and humbled to be elected to the African Academy of Sciences, a prestigious organization that honors science and technology leaders in Africa and throughout the world, and promotes science-led development in the continent.

I am now one of three Americans who are Fellows of the Academy. As someone of African descent, this is particularly meaningful for me, especially in light of the long and proud tradition of science in Africa.

Through the years, I have served as a visiting professor in centers in Africa and have worked as part of a global team of African academic and industrial scientists from the Diaspora in creating Institutes of Science and Technology in Africa, in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Institution.

I strongly support global health initiatives and look forward to working with our faculty at the UConn Health Center to strengthen our existing programs that introduce medical and dental students to vital global health issues. Seeing healthcare through a different perspective is an irreplaceable learning experience – and can deeply affect one’s career goals.

To the African Academy of Sciences, I send my sincere gratitude. This is a true honor for me.

A Winning Night

White Coat GalaWhite Coat Gala

On April 16, more than 800 men and women gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UConn Health Center and to honor three remarkable individuals who have played integral roles in the success of the Health Center’s first half century: Dr. Marja Hurley, Dr. Ravi Nanda and Coach of the NCAA Men’s Championship basketball team, Jim Calhoun.

The tally is still being finalized, but it is clear that the second annual White Coat Gala was one of our most successful fund raising events on record. Funds raised will support faculty and researchers in areas across the entire UConn Health Center.

Though they need no introduction within the UConn Health Center community, it is important to note just a few of the accomplishments of our honorees:

  • Dr. Marja Hurley is an internationally prominent molecular biologist and endocrinologist with 25 years of service at the UConn Health Center. She directs the Health Center’s Health Career Opportunity Programs, which promote diversity and helps address disparities in both health and health care in Connecticut and beyond, and is currently serving as the medical school’s interim senior associate dean for education.
  • Dr. Ravindra Nanda, a renowned leader in orthodontics, joined the Health Center in 1972 and has risen to several leadership roles. He is the UConn Orthodontic Alumni/Ravi Nanda Chair in Orthodontics and head of the Division of Orthodontics and the Department of Craniofacial Sciences.
  • Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun, who came to UConn 25 years ago, has worked tirelessly to support the cardiology and cancer programs. The Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk has raised more than $720,000 for the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Mohegan Sun/Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament and Charity All-Star Game has raised more than $2 million for the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center.

In light of Coach Calhoun’s recent winning streak, this year’s White Coat Gala was even more festive than expected. We were delighted to host a viewing of the NCAA trophy. It was an honor to hold the trophy – and even more of a delight to pay tribute to Coach Calhoun, Dr. Hurley and Dr. Nanda.

We are deeply grateful to Richard and Jane Lublin, Title Sponsors of the gala, as well as all of our sponsors, our volunteer committee and everyone who supported the event. Thank you!

Choosing Clinical Careers

Clinical Career Day 2011It was my pleasure today to spend time with high school students who are interested in health careers during the annual Clinical Career Day at the UConn Health Center. This year, we proudly hosted more than 450 students from 29 high schools who spent their school day interacting with doctors and dentists, nurses and pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. The students also had access to information booths and breakout sessions examining a wide range of topics.

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in the regional and national economy. I’m optimistic that today’s event and other outreach efforts will inspire more Connecticut students to explore healthcare careers, including medicine and dentistry. I know I can’t imagine a more fulfilling career path.