Joe's alumni message was featured in the UNR Med School's Summer 2020 issue of Synapse magazine
In the not so distant past, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Alumni Chapter Board questioned if we could pay all our bills as a chapter.
Among our obligations were regular and vital support for student scholarships, continuing medical education seminars, white coats for medical students, funding for Synapse, construction costs of the Pennington Health Sciences Building, as well as membership mailings and communications.
Thankfully, our financial shortfall was temporary, and it wasn’t due to poor leadership. Instead, it was caused by the extraordinary impact of the Great Recession. A financial crisis of that magnitude hindered distributions from the University of Nevada, Reno endowment, and understandably dampened alumni donations, both of which we rely on to serve others.
As I write this in late May, we are experiencing another crisis of great magnitude. Today, two of the main pillars of our organization and our community—health and financial—are threatened. We’re living through challenging times financially, emotionally, and socially. Many in our community are again facing more difficult circumstances than usual.
With those we serve now more in need than ever, this time, our response as a chapter will be different because of decisions we made in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
A decade ago, with the scars from the financial crisis still fresh, we voted as a board to create a rainy-day fund for our chapter. Since then, 5% of all endowment fund distributions were set aside in anticipation that another crisis would emerge again someday. We didn’t know when or why a crisis would happen; we just knew it would eventually happen. Today is that day. Along with our recent budget savings, our rainy-day fund will allow us to fully function as an organization during this crisis.
We cannot know the depth of this crisis, but I know we will see it through together to better days.
We also know that when you’re financially stressed, it extends to your emotional well-being. Poor financial health leads to more stress, greater unhappiness, and can adversely affect your medical practice. Those who count on us need us now, more than ever. I’m glad we can be there for them during this storm, and for those unpredictable times ahead.
Joe Hollen, M.D.
UNR Med Alumni Chapter President, 2018-2020