Wright State University School of Medicine will be named in honor of local philanthropist Oscar Boonshoft and his family, officials announced today. The Boonshoft family donated $28.5 million to the school.
Boonshoft's vision for this school and this community is transformational. "In a global community we must advance science, improve health care delivery, and provide it to all the people," he says. "I expect the Boonshoft School of Medicine to be an international leader working to solve these challenges."
"We are extremely privileged to have the Boonshoft name associated with our School of Medicine," says Kim Goldenberg, M.D., president of Wright State University. "This remarkable gift, from a remarkable family, will become a major boost to the economic health of the region, enabling us to bring new state and federal dollars into the community and provide top flight health care for our region and beyond."
"This transformational gift positions the School of Medicine to play a leadership role in community-based medical education nationally," says Howard M. Part, M.D., dean of the medical school. "The Boonshoft School of Medicine will be an unparalleled community resource. It will allow us to recruit additional outstanding faculty who will leverage startup funds for research and education, better meet the needs of our community, and better prepare physicians for the 21st Century."
The gift has been designated to advance several strategic goals for the medical school: create state-of-the-art medical education facilities to train tomorrow's physicians; expand student scholarships; greatly accelerate the development of novel and self-sustaining research programs; and develop the infrastructure for innovative programs in global health and geriatric medicine.
Although Wright State University School of Medicine is the most affordable medical education program in Ohio, a critical need for the school has been financial support for students. This gift will enable the school to increase the number of scholarships awarded annually. The goals are to expand access to medical education and increase the enrollment of students who will make a difference in the health care of our region and beyond.
The school will dramatically increase seed and start-up funding for pioneering research programs that will quickly become self sustaining through state, federal, or private grant awards. Oscar Boonshoft understands and supports the importance of scientific discovery for all ages. "The future of our society and the quality of life of future generations is dependent upon the quality of education, especially in the scientific area," he says. "The Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University is a natural extension of this belief. Some of the kids who go to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery will get that science bug and some of them in turn will later in their learning careers attend the Boonshoft School of Medicine, where they'll become research scientists, medical doctors, or public health professionals."
The Global Health Systems Program, under the leadership of Richard J. Schuster, M.D., M.M.M., Oscar Boonshoft Chair of Health Systems Management, will be a pioneering program to allow medical students and faculty to understand the successes and challenges that are faced in health care delivery throughout the world as well as to provide international learning experiences for them. "Mr. Boonshoft recognizes that health care in the future will have some critical characteristics that are common around the globe," explains Schuster. "We need to understand the processes of care being delivered throughout the world, to learn from others how to improve our own systems, and to help other countries improve the systems of care they deliver. The support from Mr. Boonshoft allows this very innovative program to propel Wright State into a national and international leadership role in understanding the globalization of health care delivery."
Another key area of growth will be to the new Department of Geriatrics, a hub of educational and research activities to meet the health care needs of the growing numbers of elderly in our community.
In addition, the gift will:
- Expand access to the medical profession by offering scholarships to students who demonstrate potential and commitment to impact the quality of health care of our communities;
- Substantially alter and modernize the physical space for state-of-the-art medical education;
- Dramatically increase seed funding for innovative research programs that will advance knowledge, with a strong emphasis on leveraging the funding and becoming self sustaining by attracting new federal, state, or private grants;
- Recruit additional nationally recognized faculty to help fulfill the school's missions in education and research;
- Expand the new Department of Geriatrics, recognizing the ever increasing needs of an aging population; and
- Develop the new Global Health Systems Program to understand the globalization of health care delivery and to promote best practices that are specific to different environments.
Boonshoft obtained his mechanical engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. After a 30-year career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, initially as a Project Manager, then as a USAF Contracting Officer, and finally as a Supervisory Production Engineer, he retired in January 1970. Boonshoft and his late wife Marjorie have supported science and medicine in a number of capacities. He is a member of the Wright State University Foundation Board of Trustees.
Boonshoft was also instrumental in creating the Physician Leadership Development Program at the medical school, leading to either a dual degree M.D./M.B.A. or M.D./M.P.H. In addition, he established the Master of Public Health Program at Wright State and the Division of Health Systems Management in 1999, endowing the Oscar Boonshoft Chair of Health Systems Management. (Learn more about Oscar Boonshoft.)