“It’s a Gift to be of Service”

February 20, 2024 by Ruth Wendlandt | Header image by Keith Weller

Alumna Lisa Bunin, MD, leaves an impact on Hopkins medical students through mentorship and endowed scholarship fund

Lisa Bunin, Med ’84 (MD), is celebrating her 40th class reunion this year with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Bunin, an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon, credits Hopkins with giving her the foundation to become an accomplished physician. As a medical student, she received a full tuition scholarship to attend the school. To honor that assistance, Bunin established the Lisa S. Bunin, MD, Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Lisa Bunin, MD, is standing, wearing red glasses, and smiling next to a School of Medicine Leadership Breakfast sign. She is wearing a red dress, white sweater with a pearl necklace.
Lisa Bunin, MD, created the Lisa S. Bunin, MD, Endowed Scholarship Fund. She says, “The greatest gift is to be able to give back. Johns Hopkins is an incredible place with amazing physicians and professors.”

“To be given a scholarship was an incredible gift. It opened the door to my medical education,” says Bunin. “I want to pass on that same helping hand to other students so they can become caring, successful physicians and carry on the Hopkins legacy.”

Since Bunin’s graduation, she has contributed to different School of Medicine scholarships, but it wasn’t until the school’s 125th anniversary in 2018 that she realized she could make her own gift — changing her course of action. Bunin learned she could establish an endowed fund through a pledge. She then made annual gifts toward the fund over a period of three years, fully supporting the scholarship by 2021.

“I didn’t know I could endow a scholarship fund without having all the funds put in at once,” she says.

As Bunin developed her scholarship, she reflected on the challenges she faced during her own training as a woman studying in what was then a male-dominated field. She shares how women in her class had to constantly prove themselves. Bunin recalls being told she was too doting on her patients.

“The same qualities that have made me successful in private practice were the ones I was made fun of as a resident. I believe caring is important to everyone, and we should all embrace it as part of medicine,” she says.

Bunin hopes her scholarship will help other women move forward in their medical careers but emphasizes it’s open to all deserving students.

“I want to aid and encourage more women to fulfill their dreams of becoming a physician,” she says. “Thankfully, things have been changing for the better and women have much more opportunity and are facing fewer obstacles than when I was in training.”

In addition to her financial support, Bunin mentors pre-med students, including prospective Hopkins students, who are taking a gap year before entering medical school. Since 2020, Bunin has mentored three students each year. She wants more students to understand the true art of medicine. She underscores how a patient is not just a diagnosis — a patient needs be heard to be a part of the solution.

“I teach my students how to really talk to patients, read their body language, understand how to deal with angry or scared patients, and how to listen,” she says. “I tell students, ‘it’s a gift to be of service.’ I believe if you put service first, success will follow.”

The Lisa S. Bunin, MD, Endowed Scholarship Fund is now on its second recipient. Bunin hopes it will relieve financial burdens to the awardees while also instilling the importance of helping others.

“The greatest gift is to be able to give back,” says Bunin. “Johns Hopkins is an incredible place with amazing physicians and professors.”

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Topics: Alumni, Friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, School of Medicine, Fuel Discovery, Support Scholars