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Transforming Medicine Campaign

By Barbra Alan

One student not only expressed gratitude to the Mertens-Huber family but said he's been inspired by their generosity, noting that it "makes me want to give something back."

Huber Scholars—Shahrzad Ehdaivand, a second-year medical student; Benjamin Whittam, a fourth-year student; and Gregory Sawyer, a third-year student—shared with guests how crucial scholarships are to realizing their dreams of becoming physicians and how grateful they are to the Mertens-Huber family for their support.

"The Mertens-Huber scholarship allows me the freedom to volunteer my time to the community, without worrying about how I'm going to pay for textbooks or about taking a job on the side," said Ehdaivand, who before starting the M.D. program earned an M.P.H. at Dartmouth's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences.

In his remarks, Sawyer not only expressed gratitude to the Mertens-Huber family but said he's been inspired by their generosity." Having this opportunity really makes me want to give something back," he noted.

For Robert Lampman, a second-year student, scholarship support has meant having the freedom to choose a specialty that he feels passionate about rather than one based on its income potential."It means that when you pick your specialty," he said,"you're not thinking,'Can I afford [to practice] this specialty? Can I afford to be in family practice?'That's pretty incredible, to know you have options."

By the end of the evening, it was hard to tell who was more appreciative of whom: the students, who are grateful to the family that is helping to make their dreams of a life in medicine a reality, or the members of the Mertens-Huber family, who truly admire the students' hard work and sacrifices on their journey to becoming physicians.

"I'm amazed at their persistence and dedication to medicine," Jennifer Brock says of the many DMS students whom she's come to know over the years."These people will make a terrific impact on the world."

Sisters Trudy Goff, left, and Jennifer Brock, longtime supporters of scholarships at Dartmouth Medical School.

From the left, Jennifer Brock, DMS Dean Stephen Spielberg, and Mertens-Huber Scholar Kate Shea.

From the left, Dean Emeritus (and Mertens-Huber family friend) Robert McCollum, with the Brocks.

Raising the bar
The financial goal of the Transforming Medicine Campaign for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is to raise $250 million by 2009. Even more far-reaching is its goal of "raising the bar" in medicine. Of questioning assumptions—respecting tradition but not following it blindly. Of erasing boundaries—translating science from the lab bench to the bedside by connecting researchers with clinicians. Of creating solutions to the nation's most critical health-care issues. Of transforming medicine.

Funding scholarships
With the average U.S. medical school debt well over $100,000, there is a growing national consensus that debt is affecting students' decisions of which medical schools to attend and even which fields to enter. As a result, fewer students are choosing careers in research, or in certain specialties, in favor of clinical subspecialties that offer greater income potential. Some students are forfeiting their dream of medical school altogether, discouraged by massive debt.

Easing the financial burden on bright, promising students has long been a priority for DMS and is one of the goals of the Transforming Medicine Campaign. Within the Campaign is a $10-million scholarship target, so DMS can continue to accept students from diverse backgrounds on a need-blind basis.

Learning more
For more about the Transforming Medicine Campaign, visit http://transmed.dartmouth.edu

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Barbra Alan is assistant director of development communications for the Medical School and Medical Center.

If you'd like to offer feedback about this article, we'd welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

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