Five questions with Chris Albanis, MD

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Chris Albanis, AB’96, MD’00, is taking the lead as the new president of the Alumni Council. She is president of Arbor Centers for EyeCare and a clinical associate at the University of Chicago Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

How did you first become involved with the UChicago MBSAA?

The University of Chicago and Pritzker School of Medicine have given so much to me, both in my personal and professional life, so I’ve always wanted to give back. When offered the opportunity to volunteer for Medicine on the Midway’s Editorial Committee, I took it right away. It’s important for alumni to be aware of UChicago’s amazing accomplishments and discoveries. Medicine on the Midway gets that message to our alumni in the U.S. and around the world.

What has been most rewarding about your involvement?

Staying in touch with my fellow classmates, meeting alumni from around the globe and interacting with the world-class faculty at UChicago. As co-chair of Reunions, I’ve had the opportunity to re-engage with my classmates, which motivates me to do even more.

You partnered with UChicago MBSAA staff to start the Women in Medicine Panel held during Pritzker Reunion weekend. What is the goal?

Throughout my career, I have been mentored by many incredible men and women. They nurtured me, helped me seek out opportunities for success and encouraged my ongoing personal growth and development. Unfortunately, not all women have similar experiences.

A few years ago, we began hosting the Women in Medicine Panel during Pritzker Reunion. Female alumni who are leaders at the University of Chicago Medicine and other institutions share their insights on the practice of medicine and science.

We highlight and discuss successes and challenges of women in medicine and the biological sciences. We discuss how to move beyond gender bias and focus on the talents of each individual and the knowledge and expertise they bring to the table as healers, innovators and leaders in their field.

“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be an ophthalmologist, as I have a passion for vision and all things visual.”

—Chris Albanis, AB’96, MD’00

What are your priorities and your vision for the UChicago MBSAA?

My vision for the group is to help engage as many alumni as possible. We graduated from an incredible university and have had opportunities to make a positive impact. I look forward to meeting and working with alumni to share our stories of research, discovery, clinical and surgical care, advo­cacy and beyond, to positively impact many people around the globe.

Working with the alumni association, I will encourage our members to engage through volunteerism and donations of time and money for the various efforts we have to help alumni as well as Pritzker and Biological Sciences Division students.

What motivated you to give to Pritzker?

I was walking with Dr. David Whitney (MBA’78, MD’80) after an annual Alumni Senate meeting when he asked me if I donated money this year. When I responded with: “Well, I donate my time… isn’t that enough?” he candidly said “No.” He encouraged me to give within whatever means I could afford.

Since that time, I’ve given meaningful gifts to causes important to me or in memory of colleagues and faculty. These gifts are precious as they are tied to mentors and friends, allowing their legacies to live on.

Article originally appeared in the fall 2019 Medicine on the Midway

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