End Note

On the eve of class, a game of chance

On the last Wednesday in August, dozens of new medical students tried their luck against their classmates, second-year colleagues, and teachers on Casino Night, held at Marigold’s. The students took their chances in blackjack, Texas hold ’em, and roulette—with faculty members as dealers and croupiers.

As it happens—and all concerned say it is a coincidence—the new students attend their first anatomy class on the day following their night of gambling. That first day with a cadaver can be emotionally trying for students, according to anatomy faculty, who say it helps to meet the students beforehand in a casual setting.

“We meet them in a friendlier, more relaxed atmosphere,” said Lawrence J. Rizzolo, who leads the anatomy course with William B. Stewart.

The Medical Student Council has organized the Casino Night event for more than a decade. Those wishing to wager pay $5 for a stack of funny money that features the faces of faculty, including Dean Robert J. Alpern, on the bills. Faculty members like to check out who appears on the bills—it’s a reflection of their standing with the students, Rizzolo joked.

Adam Sang, a second-year student and one of the organizers of the event, said the evening is a welcome break from the “training and talking” of the orientation period. “Last year it was one of the most fun events for first-years.”

Among the dealers and croupiers at this year’s Casino Night were Alpern, as well as anatomy teachers Shanta E. Kapadia and Michael K. O’Brien, Auguste H. Fortin, Karen Jubanyik, and, of course, Stewart and Rizzolo.

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