Passing the torch for medical education

March 26, 2018Dr. George and Mrs. Joyce Blum

With three generations of practicing physicians in the family, it's safe to say that Dr. George Blum and his wife Mrs. Joyce Blum have an appreciation for medical education. Dr. Blum, a Clinical Professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine who completed a residency at Children's Hospital of Michigan, understands the importance of inspiring future generations of physicians.

"I have always been interested in teaching medical students, and at Wayne you see a large diversity of students coming from many different backgrounds," Dr. Blum said. "I also see that the students I work with today aren't able to work through school to pay for their medical education like I did back when I was a medical student."

With an understanding of the cost of today's medical education, Dr. and Mrs. Blum decided to establish a scholarship to help offset student debt. Their inspiration to help future generations of physicians achieve their career goals is the reason they established the George and Joyce Blum Endowed Scholarship in the School of Medicine during the Pivotal Moments Campaign.

"As an undergraduate at what was then called Wayne University, I had to save every penny to pay for school," Dr. Blum said. "Because medical students can't work while they are in school, Joyce and I just want to help those students to alleviate some of their financial need."

Their giving, which includes gifts to other charities, is inspired by a desire to help and serve others. Although Dr. and Mrs. Blum have had the opportunity to meet the recipients of their scholarship — meetings they have much enjoyed — they both agreed it was never about the recognition.

"We haven't cared about any sort of reward or recognition for our giving. Both of us are just happy to be able to help others," Mrs. Blum said.

Both Dr. and Mrs. Blum are pleased, however, to see Wayne State receive recognition, which they believe is well deserved. "Wayne is a great school, and I hope to continue to see the university receive more of this positive acknowledgment in the future," he said. "I think the new research facility, and things like that, enhance Wayne State's reputation."

With facilities such as the Integrative Biosciences Center and other new initiatives focused on community outreach and health programming, the Wayne State University School of Medicine plays an integral role in the city of Detroit, one which Dr. and Mrs. Blum appreciate.

"It's nice to see all the good things happening in the city right now," Mrs. Blum said. "I hope the next few years and beyond will continue to be good to Detroit."

Dr. Blum also hopes to see future primary care physicians stay in the city, something he thinks Wayne will play a critical role in facilitating.

"I think Wayne State does a good job at graduating physicians who will stay in the state. I keep seeing the projections for a physician shortage, and we need those doctors who will stay to practice here," he said.

Helping to alleviate the cost of medical education, Dr. and Mrs. Blum are taking the first step to encouraging more students to stay in the state of Michigan. Through their generosity, they inspire future generations of doctors who will go on to create more pivotal moments in their own communities. Dr. and Mrs. Blum hope others will see the importance of philanthropy and establish a similar fund in the School of Medicine. To learn more about gifts in support of medical student education, contact Patty Paquin at 313-577-0026 or ppaquin@med.wayne.edu.