Reza's Story

Reza K. Gandjei was a remarkable student and physician with a special interest in problems of medical ethics. A native of Iran, he had his secondary schooling in England and graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, where he developed a student-run seminar course on bioethical issues in health and medicine.

He entered Harvard Medical School in 1987, and assumed leadership roles in projects ranging from the provision of weekly health education classes to Boston high school students to the organization of the first Soviet/American medical student exchange program with the Second Pirogov Medical College of Moscow.

As a third-year medical student, he was selected for both the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received an M.A. (with First Honors) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University in 1992, and was elected Secretary of his Rhodes class. Immediately thereafter, Reza moved to Cambridge University, obtaining a second Master's degree in Ethics.

In subsequent years, still as a medical student, he worked as Special Assistant to U.S. Surgeon-General Antonia Novello and as a Research Assistant with the World Health Organization in Brazzaville in the area of AIDS research and education.

The noted philosopher and Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, Sir Anthony Kenny, wrote of Reza: "Were he to continue as a philosopher, he would become a very distinguished member of the profession, but I am sure that he will make a greater contribution to society by resuming his medical career." Reza resumed his training in medicine with a goal of furthering our understanding of complex ethical issues in the contexts of clinical practice and education.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gandjei began his residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in July, 1994. His death was a great loss for his family, friends, colleagues, the community, and the medical profession.


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