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Walden Magazine // Jan 01, 2012

Connections: Reaping the Rewards of Reconnecting

Alumnus Dr. Gary Bickford ’97 reconnected with Walden to further his own mission, only to discover how he could help other students and alumni pursue their own.

Gary Bickford

It’s an understatement to say that Dr. Gary Bickford ’97 has a lot on his plate: Through his Healthy Life Clinics, he serves the medically underserved and uninsured in Tennessee. Despite his busy schedule, he says that finding time to reconnect with Walden has been a rewarding experience.

“I can only see so many patients a day,” explains Bickford, who is the 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient and a PhD in Health Services graduate. “The vibrancy of the Walden community gives me the opportunity to connect with people who could help me in my own work or replicate it in other locations,” he says.

That’s one reason he entered Walden’s Scholars of Change video contest—and ended up a 2011 winner. “Creating a video to explain my mission was a good way to let others know how much fun it is to give back to society and to share information about what the clinics do to benefit society,” says Bickford. Ultimately, he hopes his video will reach a wider audience and give alumni and students alike an incentive to become involved in his mission.

As an award recipient, Bickford attended July’s award ceremony where he and his fellow social change-makers were honored for their work. “I was impressed by what the other award recipients are doing to benefit their communities,” he said. Bickford also reconnected with the Walden community by taking part in a panel discussion in person at this winter’s residency session.

Bickford talks about his experiences at Walden to whomever will listen and encourages others to do the same. He has been so impressed with the university that he organized a luncheon at his office for nearby professionals to learn about Walden. “I know some of my colleagues might like to go back to school. I enjoy telling them about how Walden has helped facilitate my career,” he says. “I use every chance I have to talk about how my Walden education helps further my mission.”

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