Reunion Alumni Spotlight with Mike Weisfeldt, M.D., A&S '62, Med '65

Published in Alumni News - Alumni News 2023

What are you most excited about for this year’s reunion weekend?

I’m most excited for the special programs and my class's activities this year. My Class of 1965 is having a dinner on Saturday night at the Center Club, and we are sponsoring a special session Saturday morning.

How many reunion weekends have you been to, and what keeps you coming back?

I have gone to my 25th, 40th and 50th reunions, and have only gotten more serious about attending Reunion and Alumni Weekend after my 50th reunion. The weekend is special for my class because we are very closeknit, especially with humor. In medical school, I was part of a group of 20 students in a five-year program. During our first year as medical school students, we had a number of class members who were very funny, personable, and closeknit because they all took the bus together to Homewood every day. After year one, their humor and personability spread to the rest of our class. Eighteen or so of our class members made it to our reunion last year, and we were able to Zoom and share a pre-recorded video with our classmates who could not make it—it really shows how closeknit we are as a class.

Share your favorite memory from medical school.

Honestly, it was leaving Hopkins. I eventually made my way back to Hopkins, but at the time as a medical student, I was very distressed by the degree of racial disharmony there was, and my research was not looked upon with favor by the leadership of the Cardiology Department. But, eight years later, the attitude of the leadership changed, and Hopkins founded the Basic Sciences Laboratory, and I came back to Hopkins. I was the head of cardiology for 15 years here, head of the Columbia University Department of Medicine for 10 years, and the chairman of the Department of Medicine and Osler Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins until 2014. I knew Dean Rothman from Columbia when he was a faculty member, and I supported him throughout his career. I served as the chair of medicine at Hopkins under him for two years.

What advice do you have for the Class of 2023?

Get serious. You have all the opportunities, and you have a lot of love and affection from all the faculty here. Think about what you want to do creatively and how to use your background. Don’t be afraid to take risks and use Hopkins as a merit badge because it is.

If you could go back to your experience in medical school and do one thing differently, what would it be?

I would certainly not change the quality of teaching or personal commitment from the faculty. I took a year to do research, and the flexibility I received was great. The faculty’s commitment to respond to students was great. I would not change anything except the racial prejudice I saw during medical school.