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Sharing the Gift of a Geisel Education

By Kerry Benson

Growing up on a small farm in Pennsylvania, Peter Millett MED '95 discovered he had a knack for fixing things. He also loved sports, math and science, religion, and the humanities.

"Medicine encompasses all of these subjects," says Peter. "For as long as I can remember, I wanted to become a physician. Orthopaedic surgery was a natural choice, and helping people of all ages has been incredibly rewarding for me."

By all accounts, he excels at what he does. As an internationally recognized shoulder and sports medicine specialist who has treated elite and professional athletes, Peter has been consistently chosen as one of the "Best Doctors in America" and was ranked in the top 1 percent of Orthopedic Surgeons by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, he holds patents on numerous medical devices and helped pioneer a complex arthroscopic procedure that can allow young, active patients to delay or prevent the need for shoulder replacement.

Recently, Peter and his wife, Sarah Millett D'95, made a significant donation to help future medical students at Dartmouth fulfill their own potential and achieve their dreams. Together, they established the Millett Family Scholarship, which will assist Geisel students who have financial need.

"Supporting Geisel students is a great honor for us," says Sarah. An "ubermom" and former restaurateur who majored in economics at Dartmouth College, she describes her Dartmouth education as "one of the most valuable gifts" her parents gave to her. Now she and Peter are "sharing that gift of the Dartmouth experience with young dreamers who want to make their mark in the field of medicine."

"Geisel has the great and important mission of training the next generation of physicians," Peter says. "I'm hopeful that despite innovation and technological changes in medicine, Geisel will remain true to its roots and continue to train not only smart, talented, and skilled physicians but also well-rounded, caring, and compassionate physicians. Only through philanthropic and scholarship support will Dartmouth's medical school be able to recruit the top talent—our best and brightest."

Many years ago, Peter's own professors inspired him, and he carries their lessons with him in his practice today. "I remember my mentors at Dartmouth always striving to make things better—to do surgeries better, to find new cures, or to achieve more predictable outcomes," he says. "By listening carefully to my patients, by understanding their problems and needs, I've worked throughout my career to keep people active through orthopaedic surgery.

"I also learned that, where good solutions didn't exist or where predictable patient outcomes were lacking, there were opportunities for creativity, innovation, and research," continues Peter, who has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed research articles, many book chapters, and several books. "While this path isn't always easy, it has given enormous meaning to my work and has inspired me to look carefully at my own patients' outcomes to ensure that they are receiving the best evidence-based treatments."

He adds that he will forever be grateful for the phenomenal training he received from the world-class professors and physicians at Dartmouth's medical school. "Being part of this legacy and serving as an ambassador for Geisel is truly special for me. When I graduated, I remember stating that I would always be proud and honored to say I was a student at Dartmouth," Peter says. "Today, some 25 years later, I'm prouder than ever."

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