Anna Delaney: Director, Curriculum Office

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1. Do you have any hobbies or secret talents? Is there something you consider yourself to be very good at?

When I was young, I was very active in music.  I have played the flute, piccolo, tuba, baritone sax and bassoon.  I’m still a rabid music fan and love almost all genres of music.   I have a special place in my heart for pipe organ music.  I torture my family every Sunday morning with two hours of ‘Pipe Dreams’, a music program that plays ONLY pipe organ music.  But I enjoy a good pop song as well.  I’m also pretty good at planning and organizing things, but you probably knew that. 

2. What do you do like to do on the weekends or in free time?

I love to read.  I just finished reading a comprehensive biography on Dmitri Shostakovich.  What a truly unsung hero.  Someone should make a movie about how he helped so many artists survive the Stalin regime.  Never mind his brilliance as a composer and a musician.  I also love to cook and entertain family and friends.  My husband is a chef by training and has taught me a tremendous amount. 

3. Have you traveled to somewhere you’ve really enjoyed? Or do you have a favorite city/country/tourist spot?

We try to do a major trip every two to three years.  We’ve been to France, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Prague, Hungary and Bratislava.  Prague and Denmark stand out as the friendliest towards American tourists.  We also enjoy Cape May, NJ very much.  It is a quiet village on the sea that has descent restaurants.  Our next trip will be to Prince Edward Islands, Newfoundland and the other Maritime Provinces. 

4. Do you have any pets? Tell me about them! If you don’t have a pet, would you want one, and what kind?

I’m not much of an animal lover, although Dr. Rubinstein’s dogs certainly hold a soft spot in my heart. 

5. Do you enjoy playing any sports? Do you follow any sports or specific teams?

E-A G-L-E-S!!!  No, just kidding.  Although my husband, son and daughter are avid bikers and runners, I’m always waiting for them at the finish line (with a book in my hand). 

6. What is your favorite type of food or restaurant? Do you like to cook, and do you have a signature dish?

I love to cook!  My favorite restaurant might be Amada in Philly; I also enjoy Victory Brew Pub (out my way), Sardine Bar and Good Dog.  But my absolute favorite thing to do is have dinner at home with friends and family.  Some of my go-to recipes are beef burgundy, mussles, salmon, shrimp and feta, roast chicken, lamb chops, Irish soda bread, steamed veggies of any kind (Except peas.  I hate peas.), tomato salad, chicken wings, pizza, the list could go on…..

7. Do you have a favorite book or movie, and why do you like it?

My favorite books are too many to name.  These are a few books I’ve read over and over: Jane Eyre, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Heart of Darkness, Sense and Sensibility.  I love well written novels, particularly mysteries.  I also enjoy biographies and recently read a biography of the Russian Empress Catherine about her love of art and her collections (which is the origin of the Hermitage).  I have watched a few movies more than once – Monty Python’s Holy Grail, the Godfather trilogy, West Side Story.  I’ll always watch a new Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Coen brothers or Tarantino film; the folks these directors get to do their sound tracks are amazing.  Recently, with the advent of Netflix, I’ve been enjoying some of their work, especially Godless. 

8. If you had to be a Penn med student, how do you think you would survive?  

You all are so talented, but med school can be very stressful.  I do love to hear about the various cases you learn about and your experiences on the wards.  The human body is profoundly complex and there is a tremendous amount to learn; so it’s easy to see how school can become overwhelming.  That said, even though I tend to be a bit on the cynical side, I would imagine having my learning team and doctoring sessions would provide a solid anchor for me. I would probably also be in the pit band for SPOOF! (but there’s no way I would drink that crappy beer.  Seriously, who bought that?)

9. Is there anything you would want to say to Penn med students?

I am convinced that the strong basic science foundation you receive is critical to your success as a clinician moving forward.  I have had many close family members with significant health issues, including a nephew with a very rare form of sarcoma.  While Dr. John Maris and Dr. John Dormans are caring physicians, it was their skill and knowledge of my nephew’s illness that saved his life and his leg.  My nephew is now cancer free after five years, but every once and a while, my mind wanders back to that very difficult time and my eyes tear up.  It was really scary.  I know it sounds corny, but please do not underestimate the importance of understanding the underlying pathophysiology of disease, while maintaining a decent bedside manner.   We, as John Q. Public, are counting on you.  I know this a tough balancing act, but I know you can do it.

10. Anything else you’d like to include about yourself!

I absolutely love what I do.  I love working with all of you, the faculty and the outstanding academic programs staff.  I don’t love bugging you about small group absences, but someone has to do it.    I consider it an honor to have ANYTHING to do with your educational experience and am always so very proud to see you go on to do the wonderful things you all do.