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A Mission To Give Back

A Mission To Give BackOncetentative about entering the medical field, Tufts Medical Schoolgraduate Janet Magnani has found her niche – improving healthcare for the underprivileged.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.25.05] When Janet Magnani was accepted to TuftsMedical School, she still had doubts about her career choice.Those doubts turned out to be unfounded: she went on to graduateand later help Rosie’s Place – a homeless shelterfor women in Boston – get off the ground. Now, Magnani isinvolved with Partners in Health, an organization that aims to"promote health as a human right."

“Theonly thing I knew from childhood was I wanted to help people.I’d thought about becoming a missionary,” Magnanitold the MetroWest Daily News. “I spent the wholesummer [after acceptance to Tufts] thinking about if I could doit. My father said, 'Well just take one year at a time.'"

So Magnanidid just that. After plowing ahead through graduation, she decidedto follow her drive to help people.

Followinggraduation, she took an internship and residency at Chicago'sCook County Hospital, and then moved on to a smaller Chicago hospitalin the early 1970s. That experience proved to be formative.

“Someonefrom a church brought in this man who had no place to go. It wascold out. I let him stay [in the emergency room] overnight. Thatwas my first experience with the homeless,” Magnami toldthe Daily News.

But it wouldn’tbe her last. After moving back to her home in Ashland, Mass.,Magnami saw Kip Tiernan – founder of Rosie’s Place– on TV and felt an immediate connection.

“I calledher up. Kip was the voice that I would express if I were ableto express myself. Her voice and the other people in my life,like my brother (former state Sen.) David (Magnani), his mission,were ones I could support,” Magnani told the newspaper.

Magnani quicklybecame involved and helped Rosie’s Place secure a permanentbuilding. The shelter was founded in 1974.

“I said,‘Kip, you need to get a place where you can’t be thrownout.’ I think we paid something around $18,000 for the wholebuilding. I was able to make a significant contribution and theyfund-raised the rest,” Magnani told the Daily News.

Rosie’sPlace was far from her last mission. Magnani was offered the chanceto go to medical clinics in Honduras in the late 1990s.

“A priestfriend of mine said, ‘We’re going to Honduras, doyou want to come?’ I said sure,” Magnani told theDaily News. She has since gone on trips with a groupfrom Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as other religiousand medical groups. Her current focus, however, is Partners inHealth, which has programs in Boston, Haiti, Peru and Russia providinghealth care to underserved and underdeveloped regions.

“Thething I believe in right now is Partners in Health," shetold the Daily News. "In terms of looking for anideal, I think this group has the best vision.”

Just as shedreamed, Magnani has come to the aid of many people during herlifetime.

“Overthe years, she has helped hundreds of poor people, often at theperil of her own job. She’s laid out her hands and her moneywherever she thought it would do the most good,” Tiernantold the Daily News. “If there was a Mother TeresaAward, she would be my first choice.”










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