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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Fall 1996, Vol.16, No.3
Alumni Weekend.
Doctors and Society: Class of 1971 Looks Back



Ethel "Etch" Silverman Siris "71, Martha Welch '71, and Dean Pardes at Class of 1971 reunion.
Their medical school years were marked by great social upheaval, scientific advances, and profound changes in the teaching and practice of medicine. Members of the Class of 1971, who celebrated their 25th reunion on May 11 at the Harmonie Club, continue to live out the ramifications of that rich experience in their practice and their lives. War was raging in Southeast Asia and, closer to home, on the downtown Columbia campus, student unrest stirred the conscience of the times.

Meanwhile, according to oncologist and class chairman Martin W. Oster'71, "150 young people with 150 different points of view" were busy being molded into doctors. Barbara Zeller'71, now medical director of a residential care facility for HIV/AIDS patients in the Bronx, who earned her medical stripes as a volunteer physician during the Native American siege at Wounded Knee, has focused her medical activities on the care of underserved communities. Psychiatrist Mark Levy'71 founded and chairs the San
Francisco Foundation for Psychoanalysis, an outreach group that brings psychoanalysis to the school and the community. Robert Marshall'71, a family physician and director of a hospice in upstate New York, recalls the ferment of change at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, where he and others participated in efforts that led to the creation of the Patient Bill of Rights and community-controlled mental health centers. "The wonderful thing about P&S," he recalls, "was the amazing number of creative and concerned people who grew and developed with those times." Psychiatrist Martha G. Welch'71, who organized the class party, has devoted her professional efforts to understanding the complex dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Clinical director of the Mothering Center, a non-profit organization devoted to the parent-child attachment therapy she pioneered, she is the author of "Holding Time" (1988) and was featured in a BBC documentary about her work on early childhood autism. Summing up the intense feelings evident at the gathering, New Hampshire-based anesthesiologist John Schermerhorn'71 explained: "Ours was a bonding process few people get to experience. If you look at your life as an onion, this was a very deep layer."


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