Alfred P. Spivack, MD Scholarship
Alfred P. Spivack, MD
Alfred Spivack, MD ’54, understands the value of a creative outlet. The founding director of Stanford Hospital and Medical School’s coronary care unit (one of the first of its kind in the country), Dr. Spivack led a long and distinguished career that involved developing a patented defibrillator-teaching device for Hewlett-Packard, running a private practice and ultimately starting Stanford’s sports medicine program so he could teach students about one of his passions, hyperbarics (also known as diving medicine).
The stresses and challenges of medical practice led Dr. Spivack in various creative directions including underwater photography and ceramics. He even invented a new artistic technique—fusing clay and dichroic glass (glass coated with a thin film of metallic oxides, which have been vaporized by an electronic beam).
“Creating art is a meditative process and allows me to be alone and let my thoughts flow. It helped me to be a better listener and observer and to understand my patients better,” Dr. Spivack says.
Throughout his life, whether it’s in medicine or art, Dr. Spivack says he has always wanted to contribute, to add something new and not live off someone else’s successes. To that end, he recently established the Alfred P. Spivack, MD Scholarship Fund to benefit Sidney Kimmel Medical College students in the Design Track, where design thinking—a “human-centered” method of problem-solving that’s as creative as it is practical—is applied to medicine. (“It’s like majoring in medicine and minoring in design,” as co-director Bon Ku, MD, describes it.) Dr. Spivack, a 2014 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, also supports students through a second fund, the Spivack-Jaron Family Scholarship.
“The lesson Jefferson taught me, and what I tell my grandchildren, is ‘When you go somewhere, leave it better than you found it.’ This was something I have tried to follow all of my life,” he says.