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Mentor program’s positive influence flows both ways

Medical School alumnus Martin Stillman, M.D., J.D. (Medical School Class of 1997), has found many ways to give back to the University of Minnesota but says the Connections Physician-Student Mentoring Program offers a unique way to help students.

“Serving as a mentor keeps you in touch with today’s students and the Medical School on a personal level,” says Stillman, president of the Medical Alumni Society. “And when I’m helping my mentee, I’m always learning.”

An internist at Hennepin County Medical Center, an assistant professor of medicine at the University, and an attorney, Stillman has been a mentor since 2003 for medical students and for participants in the University of Minnesota’s Joint Degree Program in Law, Health, & the Life Sciences.

Stillman chose to become a mentor because he had great mentors himself—including his father, a physician, and fellow alumni society board member Gene Ollila, M.D., whose passionate volunteerism has inspired him.

He says that his Medical School adviser, Val Ulstad, M.D, M.P.H., P.H.A., also played a significant role in his training and supported his philosophy on the importance of a work-life balance. “She had a very wise and thoughtful approach to acknowledging the importance of all aspects of one’s life during medical school,” he says. “I continue to believe in this approach, and sharing this with students is important for me as a mentor. With a receptive mentee, I will try to do more than suggest what rotation to take when.”

Through the Connections program, offered jointly by the Medical School, Medical Alumni Society, Minnesota Medical Foundation, and the Twin Cities Medical Society, more than 100 medical students are paired with physician mentors every year. All Twin Cities physicians—University of Minnesota alumni or not—are eligible to participate.

This year’s student-mentor pairs will have the chance to meet at the 2010 Connections program kickoff breakfast on November 16 at the University’s McNamara Alumni Center.

Interested physicians and students may register or learn more at www.mmf.umn. edu/goto/mentor or contact Katrina Roth at
612-625-0336 or k.roth@mmf.umn.edu.

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