Medical school receives million dollar donation

By on September 17, 2013

The St. Vincent Medical Center in Bridgeport pledged more than $1 million to the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine to create an endowed chair and a scholarship for students, according to a university press release.

The university plans to match the donation of $1 million for the endowment chair, meaning there will be $2 million in this fund from donors who recognize and take care of research endeavors. Senior associate dean of scholarship Stephen Wikel was named the first endowed chair.

According to the press release, St. Vincent Medical Center also donated $50,000 for the newly created St. Vincent’s Medical Center Primary Care Scholarship for the university’s medical school students. Providence College graduate Ryan Barnicle and Boston University graduate Thomas Azeizat were awarded the scholarship this summer.

Barnicle and Azeizat will each get $25,000. This is about half of the cost of attending the medical school and Barnicle and Azeizat said this will significantly help them with this financial burden.

“I guess it was just a huge sense of relief that that part of it would be taken cared of and that I had earned so that felt really good,” Barnicle said. “I was really proud of myself.”

Azeizat said it was an honor to be given the scholarship.

“I am just really grateful to have received the award,” Azeizat. “It made my decision to enter the primary care field a much easier one in the long run.”

After the School of Medicine signed an official partnership with St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Dean of the School of Medicine Bruce Koeppen and CEO Susan Davis discussed creating an endowment chair.

“From my perspective, what that represents is a very tangible example of St. Vincent’s commitment to our partnership and the support that they have for the School of Medicine,” Koeppen said. “We’re delighted, and I know St. Vincent’s is delighted to support this school in this way as well.”

The money will be used to what Koeppen calls “academic enhancement.” This includes anything that will make the students’ education better, such as guest speakers who will interact with the students during special programs, Koeppen said.

These funds will also be used to support activities and seniors who should need it at the School of Medicine. Wikel plans to use the funds to establish a seminar series; one to assist medical students in the research program, and the other to bring in people with expertise in the medical sciences.

“This is probably a little bit of a different type of approach for a seminar, but it’s actually designed to help students understand their topics and help faculty deciding content, new content and things we might want to do with the curriculum,” Wikel said.

In addition to commencing a new seminar series for the medical students, Wikel has also been asked to help design Quinnipiac’s new research building.

“It’s been quite enjoyable, it’s been challenging, it’s satisfying,” Wikel said. He has also been very occupied with the faculty hiring and clinical appointments in basic sciences, and has been planning the university’s accreditation visit. The next one is scheduled for October 2014.

Ultimately, WIkel anticipates no challenges to arise in the future. He believes that this change will result in several opportunities for the better.

“We do what we do, and we will continue to grow the programs,” Wikel said. “It’s not just simply a matter of what’s doing what’s best for the medical programs, it’s for all the programs across the university.”

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