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Three years ago, I was elected president of Cedars Sinai’s Alumni Association (CSAA), 50 years after it was first established. When I took over, there was no office or computer and only a very hardworking part-time assistant. The dues from membership had been declining and the loyal members who had supported the organization because it was important to them weren’t being replaced by new members.
At the time, CSAA had a few programs a year -- the annual business meeting, Martin Haet Lecture, the annual basketball game and intermittent “Barbara Markell” breakfast meetings. The association needed something new to enhance the appeal of the organization.
Under my direction, CSAA began monthly cultural functions, many of them with medical relevance, some entertaining. Though these events were advertised by flyers, posters and emails, attendance was limited because not everyone was getting the message. That said, the attendance of physicians at these events is on the rise and CSAA is now known and respected by many members of the medical staff as well as many members of the surrounding community. In 2012, the organization will become tax exempt and be recognized as a new support group of Cedars Sinai Medical Center, yet another milestone.
We hope to organize medical trips around the world and open the door to other cultural events, such as art fairs. National and international events will enable alumni from all over to connect with fellow graduates. Also, we look forward to the new graduates of CSMC’s training programs finding their way to become members of the organization and participate in its future growth.
I am passing the baton of the presidency to the capable hands of Dr. Mehran Khorsandi and have agreed to remain as the coordinator of the special functions. Thank you all for your trust in me as president and I hope you’ll join me in my goal of building a strong and relevant alumni association.
Yzhar Charuzi MD, FACC