When radiologist Richard Frates, M55, spoke at conferences, he reveled in producing X-rays that revealed answers to tough medical questions, says his daughter, Mary C. Frates, M.D., who followed him into radiology.

A dedicated physician and lifelong learner who died in 2014, Richard did his advanced training in pediatrics and interventional radiology at Tufts–New England Medical Center and went on to create the state’s first interventional radiology suite at Rhode Island Hospital. He headed that unit for 20 years before becoming Chief of Radiology at the Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, retiring in 1998.

Richard Frates

Richard Frates.

Mary did a two-week rotation in the department he created at Rhode Island Hospital, which led to a Radiology residency at Tufts–New England Medical Center followed by fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s and a career in Ultrasound at the Brigham. Her father would attend her lectures and send up questions through the moderator, she says.

After Richard passed away, Mary and her family, including Mary’s siblings Richard Frates Jr., M86, a pediatrician, and Patricia Noone, J85, decided to use their inheritance to honor his love of learning and medicine by establishing the Richard E. Frates, M.D., M55, Fellowship to support medical students who want to do summer research.

“The answers today are going to come out of the labs,” says Mary, now the Assistant Director of Ultrasound at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We have to encourage med students so those who are inclined to do research have the support they need.”

Ashvin Patel

Ashvin Patel with his parents.

When he arrived in the United States at age 11, Ashvin Patel, A84, M88, didn’t speak English. His parents insisted that should not be a barrier to dreaming big.

“They said you should always try to reach for something you think you may not be able to get,” says Patel, who has established several fellowships at Tufts.

In that spirit, Patel applied and was accepted to the undergraduate program at Tufts University, where he earned a B.S. in biology. He went on to graduate from the School of Medicine in 1988. When he did his residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, one field in particular caught his interest, offering constant challenges and immediate results: spine surgery.

Now a successful spine surgeon in Sarasota, Florida, Patel has established the Dr. and Mrs. Ishvarbhai S. Patel Fellowship for M.D. students pursuing orthopedic research. He did it to honor his parents, whose financial support and faith in him made his career possible. Patel also created the Toby Wesselhoeft, M.D., Fellowship for students pursuing family medicine research, in memory of the big-hearted Tufts professor who inspired him to go into orthopedics.

“I hope [these fellowships] will help a student better define their career goals and have the opportunity to do all the things I’m able to do now,” Patel says.

Dean of Students Amy Kuhlik says fellowships like the ones Ashvin Patel and Mary Frates have established foster close relationships with faculty, connect classroom concepts to real life, and provide an important credential for residency applications. “We know the students’ experiences have a lasting impact,” she says.