Alan Peterson, MD

Class Year

Family Practice and Geriatrics

Current practice
Family Practice Faculty

Do you remember what motivated you to make your first gift to BUSM?
I know what a challenge it was to have enough money for everything when I was a student. I was lucky to receive some scholarships and work part-time in Dr. Blaustein’s virology lab at the main campus. I vowed to “give it back” if I ever got through it all. (I remember how was wonderful it was on a rare occasion to be able to get a cheap sandwich from Filthies Restaurant {yes, that was the name} outside of Myles Standish Hall, when I was an undergrad there.) There were some who could not even afford that, and life was a lot cheaper in Boston then.

Why do you continue to give to BUSM?
Because I can. I have been blessed with the ability to earn a good living in my life and have the health so far to enjoy it. Should we not all try to share with those around us, especially those that may not be as lucky or as capable, if we are able? My father was a garage mechanic and mom kept the home. He provided what he could for our family. I was the first to graduate from college in the family and grateful for that also. I know many who did not have the chances that I have had. I want to try, in my small way, to help others attain their dreams, if possible.

What would you tell current students about the importance of giving back to BUSM?
I think I have outlined it fairly well above. Obviously, it is getting much more expensive to go to medical school and college these days. I believe we all should try to “give back” when we can to help enable others to care for those in sickness and health for the future of mankind.

Fond memory of BUSM:
I was awaiting a student meeting one day as a senior and got into a discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Moyer, my anatomy professor. She asked where I was considering doing my residency. I told her I had it whittled down to either York or Lancaster, PA’s Family Practice residencies. “A ha!”, she said. “You don’t know where I’m from do you?” I did not. She said she grew up in Columbia, PA, right between the two. She said she thought I would like Lancaster better. That is where I chose, and except for one year, I have been here ever since and enjoyed every minute. She helped me in that one moment in time determined the entire rest of my life.

Favorite professor or course at BUSM:
From my answer above you can tell Dr. Moyer was one of my favorites. One day we were dissecting in the anatomy lab, and as she came by she said to make sure we took care of our cadaver very carefully. When we inquired as to why she said that, she told us the female we were working on was a retired ENT specialist who had worked on the staff at BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. We felt quite honored that someone like that had thought “to give back”, including her body to us at BU.

Other anecdotes/comments:
I still carry with me on a daily basis a plastic hair comb given to the students by a salesman when I was at BUSM. His name was Sumner T. White and I believe he sold us insurance at the time. The comb has written on it “unbreakable”. Who could have predicted it would still be in daily use (without a missing plastic tooth) by the same person after 47 years?