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Maryland General Assembly Celebrates School of Medicine Bicentennial

January 30, 2007

Dean Reece (right) with State Senator Ulysses Curry of Prince George
 Dean Reece (right) with State Senator Ulysses Curry of Prince George's County.

Medical students and faculty traveled to Annapolis on January 30th to meet with state lawmakers and celebrate the bicentennial of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It was an opportunity to educate legislators about the nation’s oldest public medical school, which educates and trains -- along with the University of Maryland Medical Center -- more than half of the state's practicing physicians and handles over 600,000 annual patient visits.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., were the honored guests during a morning breakfast with state lawmakers and University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan.

Both legislative leaders recognized the School of Medicine for its dedication to patient care, cutting-edge research and medical education, and congratulated the school for its 200 years of service, which officially began when the Maryland General Assembly chartered the College of Medicine of Maryland in 1807.  

Later, School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, and University of Maryland, Baltimore President David J. Ramsay were invited to the floors of the house and senate as both legislative chambers passed proclamations honoring the School of Medicine.

As the day progressed, lawmakers learned more about the School of Medicine in a series of one-on-one meetings with faculty and students.  Matthew Dunn, an Eastern Shore native and former nurse who is now a fourth-year medical student, was excited to tell lawmakers why he wants to practice medicine. "There is a lack of physicians on the Eastern Shore, so I decided to go back to school and study medicine. I applied to the University of Maryland, because it is a great school and a great program. I'm here today to try to spread the word that we need increased funding, scholarship funding especially, to recruit talented students and those who wouldn't be able to come otherwise."

Senator Andy Harris knows first-hand the importance of funding medicine's future. "I'm the only physician in the Senate, I'm an anesthesiologist, and I still practice medicine when I'm not in the legislature," he explains. "So I realize the importance not only of medicine but of the University of Maryland in providing training to practitioners, many of whom stay in Maryland to practice medicine.” Unlike other public medical Schools around the country, the University of Maryland School of Medicine receives only 5% of its total budget from the state.

As Dean Reece said in his speech to state legislators, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is rich with accomplishments, but it now has to earn the reputation to go with those accomplishments. Days like these will go a long way toward achieving the goal of spreading the word about what the School of Medicine has to offer.

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• Bicentennial Website

Dean Reece talks with medical students before one-on-one meetings with state lawmakers
 Dean Reece talks with medical students before one-on-one meetings with state lawmakers

 Faculty and students found that delegates were receptive to learning more about the importance of the School of Medicine to Maryland's economy and well-being.

 A variety of students were selected to speak to lawmakers about what the medical school means to Maryland

 Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. showed himself to be an enthusiastic supporter of the school.

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