Jan. 26, 2023 — During a rigorous medical education program, your brain sometimes needs a break from studying to retain swaths of information. A trip to the Thomas H. Maren Medical Student Reading Room, a relaxing space with pingpong tables, hangout spots and musical instruments, is one such way UF medical students can take that much-needed pause.
“Having access to something like the Maren Room makes me feel like UF cares about our holistic health,” said Jin Choi, a second-year medical student and treasurer of the student group the Music Society.
Choi recently approached Heather Harrell, M.D., the associate dean for medical education, with a request for a new keyboard that Music Society members and other students could use and transport to local performances. To purchase the new instrument, Harrell and Joseph Fantone, M.D., the senior associate dean for educational affairs, arranged to use funds from a gift by the family of Maren, M.D. The late inventor of the first topical treatment for glaucoma and the first chair of the department of pharmacology and therapeutics established an endowment for the Maren Reading Room to promote the well-being of UF’s medical students.
The new keyboard will complement the room’s piano and allow more percussionists to flex their creativity on campus. It will also be used for upcoming performances such as Gators Got Talent, a competition taking place Feb. 10 at the University Auditorium featuring College of Medicine students, who will be judged by a panel of faculty. Donations raised during the free event will support the Lupus Foundation of America.