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Community Hospital Medical/Dental Staff donates $125,000 to IU School of Medicine-Northwest

Generous gift will help Northwest Indiana’s medical school to renovate, expand

Thursday May 28, 2015

The nearly 500 doctors and dentists that comprise the Medical and Dental Staff at Munster’s Community Hospital have generously decided to focus their philanthropy on local medical-related causes close to home. Their $125,000 gift to Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest, the largest single donation ever made by the organization, will support the renovation and expansion of the school’s teaching laboratories.

Don Henry, M.D., president of the medical and dental staff at Community Hospital, presented the gift to Patrick Bankston, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director of IUSM-NW, at a formal presentation at the hospital on May 28.

“Charity begins at home,” said Henry. “With IU School of Medicine-Northwest being the local medical school, we all wanted to support the school, and the students. As time goes on and the medical school expands, we will all have more students rotating with us, and we felt it was important to foster that relationship. The donation to IU School of Medicine - Northwest was a very satisfying donation, as quite a few of the members received scholarships while in medical or dental school. This gift allows us to help the next generation of physicians.”

The gift, to be paid to IUSM-NW over five years, will allow the medical school to further meet the educational needs of its expanded student body, now that the school offers four years of medical education, as well as the healthcare needs of the region. The renovation and expansion plans include advanced teaching technologies and state-of-the-art patient simulation equipment. 

Bankston said the donation, and the expansion that it supports, will go a long way towards ensuring quality healthcare in Northwest Indiana in the years to come.

“Statistically, doctors tend to practice in the region where they are educated. That means that many of the physicians we are educating are likely to one day join the medical and dental staff of Community Hospital,” Bankston said. “That’s one reason it’s so important for IU School of Medicine – Northwest to be able to attract the best and brightest future physicians, as they are the future of our region’s healthcare. This donation will enable us to improve on the medical education we offer, which is already second to none in the region.”

Responding to regional health care needs

For more than 40 years, IUSM-NW, the only medical school in Northwest Indiana, has been preparing the region’s physicians. More than 650 physicians have been educated through IUSM-NW since the medical school’s inception in 1972.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a growing and aging population has intensified the demand for physicians. A 2015 study predicts that by the year 2025, the U.S. will face a shortage of between 46,000 and 90,000 physicians. The AAMC says the shortages in specialty care will be particularly large, posing a risk to patients.

In response to the national doctor shortage, IUSM embarked on a state-wide expansion project to increase the number of student doctors across all IU medical school campuses.

Meeting the needs of the growing student body, in October 2012, IUSM-NW completed a $1 million renovation and expansion of the classroom facilities, including a flexible learning environment complete with renovated classrooms and technology, the expansion of small group learning rooms, and additional study rooms.

Additional funds are needed to help further expand the region’s only medical school.

If you would like to contribute, please contact Dawn Yerger, Associate Director of Development, IU School of Medicine & CHHS at (219) 981-4241.

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