News Release

September 9, 2009

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Health Center’s Laurencin Creates Fellowship for Medical Students

Gift Inspired by His Mother, Who Was a Family Medicine Physician in North Philadelphia

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center and dean of its medical school, and his wife, Cynthia Laurencin, have provided a major gift to the University of Connecticut to start a fellowship fund for medical students.

The Helen I. Moorehead-Laurencin, M.D., Research Fellowship Fund was established in the name and honor of Laurencin’s late mother, who operated a clinical practice on the first floor of the family’s row home in inner-city North Philadelphia.

“The goals of our gift are consistent with everything she had done in her life,” Laurencin says. “She was a superb clinician and, at the same time, someone who kept a small laboratory in the back of her office, where she studied anatomy, physiology, the disease process and much more.”

The Laurencins created the fellowship with the intention of supporting UConn School of Medicine students who have demonstrated academic achievement, who are involved in conducting summer research projects, and who provide mentorship to inner-city high school students in the Hartford region.

Laurencin has achieved national and international prominence as an orthopaedic surgeon and chemical engineering expert. This year he will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence, awarded to science, math and engineering mentors. He has been named one of the “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and is the 2009 winner of the Galletti Award from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Laurencin is a fellow of the American Surgical Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He holds the Health Center’s Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine and is a professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He also holds an appointment in the UConn School of Engineering as a professor of chemical, materials and biomolecular engineering.

For more information about the Helen I. Moorehead-Laurencin, M.D., Research Fellowship Fund, including how to make a contribution, please contact Dina Plapler, vice president for development at the UConn Health Center, at 860-679-8077 or

Caption: Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center and dean of the UConn School of Medicine, (front center) in his research lab with a group of scientists he mentors. Laurencin and his wife, Cynthia, have started a fellowship fund for medical students who conduct research and mentor inner-city youth.

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