Ruthanne Bush Simmons, M.D.
Memorial Scholarship

The Ruthanne B. Simmons, M.D. Memorial Scholarship was established by her family at the time of her death on November 8, 2002. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Needham High School graduating senior who has: (1) demonstrated excellence in the sciences; (2) made valuable humanitarian contributions to the community; and (3) exhibited a positive and cheerful attitude with friends, classmates, teachers, supervisors, and family. Each Spring, Ruthanne’s family will review applications and select the appropriate candidate who best represents these attributes. The primary goals of this scholarship are to: (1) give something back to the wonderful community of Needham, MA that had been so important to Ruthanne during her last nine years of life; (2) to support the development of an individual who has demonstrated the important characteristics that made Ruthanne the unique and giving person she was; and (3) to carry on Ruthanne’s name and history into the future through the recipients at the cusp of their adult lives.

The following is a brief history of Ruthanne’s life provided to the scholarship applicants:

Dr. Ruthanne B. Simmons was raised in Newton and was a 1977 graduate of Newton North High School. She attended Smith College before transferring to Wesleyan University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1981, and was the recipient of the Thorndike Prize for excellence in Psychology. She went on to attend Harvard Medical School, where she received her Doctor of Medicine in 1987. She completed her residency in Ophthalmology at Duke Medical Center where she also received her fellowship training in glaucoma. Dr. Simmons, her husband (Dr. Robert A. Stern), and their two children (Nicholas R. Simmons-Stern, NHS class of 2008, and Laura M. Simmons-Stern, NHS class of 2010) then moved back to the Boston area in 1993, where they settled in Needham. Dr. Simmons was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and spent the majority of her tragically abbreviated career as a partner at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, where she specialized in the surgical and medical treatment of glaucoma. Dr. Simmons was a skilled and respected eye surgeon and physician, a productive clinical scientist, a gifted teacher and mentor, and a devoted and loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. Her thousands of patients not only benefited from her technical skill and knowledge, but from her compassion, empathy, devotion, and positive and cheerful attitude. Dr. Simmons died of metastatic breast cancer in 2002 at the age of 43.


Ruthanne B. Simmons Scholars Through the Years:

2018: Isabel Barnet

2017: Olivia Curran

2016: Kaitlyn Lew

2015: Katrina Coffman

2014: Meriel Conroy


2012: Latika Sridhar

2011: Emma Albert-Stone

2010: Ali Faber

2009: Rachel Sadok

2008: Gabby Abrishamian-Garcia

2007: Katherine Larrabee

2006: Gunjan Shesh

2005: Erica Wellington

2004: Caitlin Sullivan

2003: Kathleen O'Brien