Dr. John Mulvahill: Lorraine Sulkin Schein Medical Student Award in Geriatric Medicine

Dr. John Mulvahill
Dr. John Mulvahill

By Erin Prather Stafford

As a college student at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. John Mulvahill volunteered a few hours each week assisting retired Sisters of the Holy Cross at their convent.

His experiences with the sisters established an interest in geriatric medicine that followed him into medical school.

“My time with the sisters definitely put the geriatric bug in my ear,” he said. “However, I was unsure of the specialty I wanted to pursue after arriving at UT Southwestern. When I did my geriatrics rotation, it brought back the experiences I had at Notre Dame and reminded me how much I enjoyed the friendships I built helping the sisters. It became clear to me geriatrics was where I belonged.”

This year, Dr. Mulvahill becomes only the second recipient of the Lorraine Sulkin Schein Medical Student Award in Geriatric Medicine. The honor recognizes a medical student who has demonstrated compassion, keen interest, and commitment to the care of older adults.

The award is named in honor of Mrs. Schein, a longtime supporter of the medical center who understood the challenges that older patients face in receiving adequate health care. She bequeathed funds to UT Southwestern to promote geriatrics as a career path for medical students. She died in 2007 at the age of 89.

“During my time at UT Southwestern, I’ve met so many incredible faculty members,” said Dr. Mulvahill, who grew up in the Houston suburb of Friendswood. “Dr. Craig Rubin, Professor of Internal Medicine, was one of them, and it is such an honor to receive this award that Lorraine Sulkin Schein made possible through her generosity and appreciation of the care he gave her at UT Southwestern.”

This summer, Dr. Mulvahill will marry his college sweetheart in St. Louis. The couple will relocate to Houston where he will start his residency in Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. His wife will continue her career in education.

Dr. Amit Shah, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, had the opportunity to work with Dr. Mulvahill in outpatient clinic, house call, and inpatient settings. He is thrilled Dr. Mulvahill chose geriatrics and is being awarded for his efforts.

“During his Internal Medicine clerkship, I was able to observe John one-on-one with patients,” Dr. Shah said. “Even though he was just an early clinical student at the time, he was very impressive in his ability to interact with patients and easily establish rapport. He was never overwhelmed by the geriatric patient and is obviously someone who truly cares for patients. There are very few students who have the whole package of what it takes to be an excellent primary care physician. John has this.”

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Dr. Rubin holds the Margaret and Trammell Crow Distinguished Chair in Alzheimer's and Geriatric Research, the Seymour Eisenberg Distinguished Professorship in Geriatric Medicine, and the Walsdorf Professorship in Geriatrics Research.

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