Johns Hopkins' Sudler Prize
Rowena McBeath has been awarded The Johns Hopkins University's 2006 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts for her contributions to the cultural life of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions as first violinist in the Vesalius String Quartet, an ensemble composed of three medical students and a faculty member. McBeath received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on May 25.
The $1,500 Sudler Prize is awarded annually, typically to a graduating senior or fourth-year medical student who does not plan to pursue a career in the arts but displays artistic talent. Her mentor and Vesalius cellist, physician Edward F. McCarthy, has said that McBeath could easily have made music a career instead of medicine. She began playing at 5 in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, and has been concertmaster of several orchestras, including the Fairbanks Youth Symphony, the Alaska All-State Orchestra, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra and the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra.
"Rowena is a remarkable young woman," McCarthy wrote in his recommendation letter to the prize committee. "Not only does she promise to be an outstanding orthopedic surgeon, she also has such skill as a violinist that she will be able to enrich her life and the lives of others with beautiful music."
McBeath says that as a hand surgeon, she will ensure through surgery or other treatments that artists do not lose their skills on a mechanistic basis. She will soon begin her residence in orthopedic surgery at Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
"I cherish the opportunity I have had to train at Johns Hopkins, to be exposed to the wonderful staff and students, and to learn from my patients," McBeath wrote in her application for the prize. "Empathy, so important to medicine, as in the ability to understand the feelings of others — this quality is inherent in music. By playing my violin, I am continually in touch with those around me, and provide others the same safe haven music provides for me."
McBeath is the daughter of Gerald and Jenifer McBeath of Fairbanks, Alaska. She holds a bachelor's degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics from Yale University, where she graduated cum laude in 1998. McBeath also earned a master of philosophy degree in the biological sciences at Cambridge University in 1999.
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