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IU Northwest News

Devotion to IU runs deep for local doctors


Gus and Becca Galante are committed to sustaining the Northwest campus’s medical school and student success

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014


Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest (IUSM-NW) is a better place thanks to people like Gustavo and Rebecca Galante, a married pair of local doctors whose desire to help their patients, their community and tomorrow’s physicians, fuels their busy schedule of giving back to all things IU.

Collectively, the couple teaches and mentors IUSM-NW students and works to improve the quality of medical education in Northwest Indiana. As successful physicians firmly rooted in Northwest Indiana and with deep ties to IU, they feel strongly about providing the support and opportunity they were both afforded when they were medical students.

“I am successful and Becca is successful largely because of the people supporting us,” Gus said. “And we want to do the same for them and give back. One of the ways to do that is give back to the University either monetarily or with our time so the University can thrive and improve our lives, and it just goes back and forth. It’s a nice cycle.”

Gus practices plastic surgery in Schererville. Becca is a primary care physician based in Munster. The two met while they were students at IUSM in Indianapolis. Two of their three children have a connection to IU – one attends and another has graduated from IU Bloomington. One of Becca’s cousins was in the very first medical school class at the Northwest campus, back in 1972 – a class of four students.

Given this background, you might assume the Galantes’ devotion to IU goes back generations. However, it actually began with Becca and her four siblings, who all decided to leave their West Lafayette, Ind., home, where her father had devoted 43 years to Purdue University as an organic chemistry professor, to attend IU.

For Gus, the love of medicine and IU is in his DNA. His parents, both physicians, had emigrated from Argentina when Gus was two. They came to Chicago for their medical training. His mother, Gloria Galante, a prominent and now-retired psychiatrist, had taught at IUSM-NW. In fact, it was she who handed Gus his medical degree on the IUSM Commencement stage in 1985.

Altruism is a common thread among doctors – those who devote their lives to helping others. For many, like the Galantes, the trait naturally progresses into volunteerism. As a volunteer faculty member at IUSM-NW, Gus is happy to open his door to students who shadow him in his practice for two-week rotations.

“I get joy out of teaching medical students,” Gus said. “We were in those shoes once. It’s rewarding to be on the other side. It’s nice to see students enjoy what they do and see them progress.”

As a long-time faculty member at IUSM-NW, Becca can safely say she’s personally met nearly every first-year medical student from the Northwest campus since 1992, when she started teaching the “History and Physical Diagnosis” course.

“We are so fortunate that this medical school is in our backyard and we can participate,” Becca said.

The Galantes are both members of the Admissions Committee for IUSM, as well as the Advisory Board at IUSM-NW. In these roles, they interview prospective medical students as part of their application process, and serve as advisors as the Northwest campus works to grow its program. Establishing residency programs in Northwest Indiana, for instance, is a vision they are working to bring to fruition.

Gus explained that from one’s local neighborhood to the entire nation, there is a need for individuals to help improve the quality of life for us all. Where we choose to do that is often influenced by our own experiences in our own local community.

Becca recalled a scholarship she was awarded when she was a student as a driver of her desire to give back.  She said she so appreciated the support that she contributes to that same organization so that it can continue to help others as it helped her.

“The organization that gave me the scholarship, I have given back to many-fold because I so appreciated what they did for me,” Becca said.

Gus offers some inspiring wisdom to share with the newest group of future doctors that are currently learning at IUSM-NW – something they can remember when the sometimes overwhelming challenges of becoming of physician threaten their resolve.

“Being a doctor is clearly a higher calling. It’s about helping people in all respects – mind, body and spirit,” he said. “There is nothing more gratifying than either curing a patient or making their quality of life better in some way. I think a lot of people do that in a lot of different professions. Medicine is not the only place, but medicine, I think, is the only profession that really combines a love of science with a love of humanities. You can be with people and at the same time help them.”

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