Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women Hospital Residency Anniversary

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My 25th Residency alumni reunion celebration at Brigham and Women hospital Harvard Medical School.

Boston Lying in Hospital

It was the summer of 1995.  I received a very formal Harvard engraved invitation for the alumni celebration for my husband Raj and myself at the new  Brigham and Women Hospital campus. It was a pleasant surprise.

The program was a 2-day lavish affair. The new hospital campus was a merger of three hospitals. A very impressive layout and state of the art set up.

 

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Dr. Weiss

We were excited and elegantly dressed up for the first evening. We followed directions to the registration desk and were greeted warmly. After being presented with a gift and our name tag, we were escorted to the auditorium. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by my mentor, Chief Dr. Weiss who trained me. Dr. Jess Weiss was a world-renowned Anesthesiologist, who was now retired. He had traveled from Florida to receive and greet me; it was a surreal moment for me, and we were both overwhelmed. This was a special honor for me, even unforgettable to this today.

My gift from the alumni association was a tie. When Dr. Weiss saw me with my gift box, he said to me, “This is a tie, so go and exchange it for a scarf”

I followed his direction and went to the registration desk. At the desk, I approached the nice lady and said by error you gave me a tie instead of a scarf. Her reply was a surprise, she said we have only ties and there are no scarfs. This was 1995.

At the Reunion there was only one other woman doctor other than me. Her name was Dr. Hedda, a practicing Pathologist and joint owner of Cafe Budapest, a very elegant and prestigious Hungarian restaurant in Copley Place, Boston. Incidentally, the restaurant closed in 2000. She was senior to me in age by several years. Visiting with Dr. Hedda, I found her to be very interesting and diverse. The fact that there were only two female doctors in the entire reunion at a prestigious Harvard United States institution was shocking.  In the 1970’s there were only 20 percent woman in medical school in the United States. Today there are 50.2% women in medical schools.

Following the greeting and social hour, we were all seated in one of the famous auditoriums ready for the evening speakers. The auditorium was decked with portraits of all the recognized doctors on the walls, very impressive, but entirely made up of men. It was an evening to remember.

The next day we were to have lunch with the CEO and other important hospital dignitaries who would be giving us updates and progress on the mega Institution.

The formal Lunch was in atrium. It was like being in a mega glass dome with the afternoon sun shining, it was incredible ambience.

All the alumni were seated in groups of eight. Each of the alumni received a gift of a gold Cross Pen with a Harvard insignia. To our pleasant surprise, the wonderful alumni relations lady came over to us and apologized for having only ties. Along with the apology, she brought a gift of the pen for Raj.  This was very touching. Times were different, we were appreciative of her coming over personally and expressing her message.

Lucky Raj was the beneficiary of a Harvard seal tie that he treasured and the Harvard insignia pen that he added to his collection.

Of course, the thought of discrimination never crossed our minds. It was acceptance and an apology was sufficient. In today’s time, this would have been met with a different perspective and I suspect just an apology would not have been enough. It’s amazing that even at Harvard, the mecca of medicine, not in a rural part of our country, there were so few women doctors.

Raj and I appreciated, with sincere gratitude, to be a part of this wonderful celebration. It stays in my memory etched forever.

As of now, the name of the hospital is Mass General Brigham.

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