For Each Student, a Stethoscope

Members of the School of Medicine’s Class of 2021 received the gift thanks to a new program

four medical students opening packages with stethoscopes

It’s one of the most enduring symbols of modern medicine: the stethoscope. 

Thanks to the School of Medicine’s new Stethoscopes for Students program, alumni, parents, and friends donated $31,165 to provide the timeless instruments to members of the Class of 2021.

A note from Kimberly Duir, M80.A note from Kimberly Duir, M80.
“It’s one of the major tools that physically connects patients to a doctor,” said Amy Kuhlik, dean for student affairs at the medical school. “Receiving one’s first stethoscope is a rite of passage that all doctors seem to remember and cherish,” added Kristin Hill, director of the Fund for Tufts Medicine who oversaw the initiative.

When students opened their stethoscopes at orientation in August, they were touched to find personal notes from the donors in the boxes. Some included jokes (“I hope they don’t ask me to show the student how to use it. I’m a urologist.”), others were short and sweet (“Happy heartbeats!!”), and all were, well, heartfelt.

Tufts President’s Council member Harlan W. Waksal, M79, and his son Julian Waksal, M17, jointly donated several stethoscopes to the cause. “Having the ability to share in the path of others becoming physicians was an action both of us could embrace together,” Harlan said. The Waksals shared the following quote from Sir William Osler in their message: “Live a simple and temperate life, that you may give all your powers to your profession. Medicine is a jealous mistress; she will be satisfied with no less.”

The younger Waksal, who just began his residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell, selected the quote. It “reminds me that I chose this life, as difficult as it may sometimes be, because I was seduced by the endless sea of knowledge and opportunity to have a real impact in people’s lives,” he said.

Another recent graduate, Laura Horton, M16, also contributed a stethoscope. A Maine Track alum who’s completing her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Horton always keeps her stethoscope close at hand. “I still carry mine with me everywhere I go,” she wrote in her letter. “Never forget that the physical exam can be incredibly important in how you diagnose and manage every patient.”

Courtney Hollands can be reached at

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