A Grateful Patient's $5 Million Gift Endows a Special Chair
October 14, 2022
The compassionate care of our physicians has inspired many grateful patients across Hackensack Meridian Health to make extraordinary gifts that positively impact health care in various ways. Earlier this year, an anonymous and grateful patient made a generous gift of $5 million to Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation in honor of Howard Ross, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, a renowned colorectal surgeon and chair of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief at Hackensack University Medical Center, for the life-saving care she received.
The gift established an inaugural endowed chair, one of the most prestigious faculty positions in academia, named the M. Martin Ross Distinguished Chair in Surgery, which will support the work of Dr. Ross and focus on four key pillars of surgery that he is most passionate about: surgical education, surgical innovation, patient experience and health equity.
"This gift really is a tribute to the special relationship between a surgeon and a patient,” says Dr. Ross. “I get as much from my patients as they get from me.” His late father, M. Martin Ross, was an accountant who died at age 55, when Dr. Ross was only 17-years-old. Martin Ross had enormous respect for physicians and encouraged his son to pursue this path. "He told me that as a physician, you'll be able to do good for society, you'll always have a job and you'll be able to support your family," notes Dr. Ross.
Initial funds from the major gift have already been used to support three students researching mindfulness in surgery, rehabilitation after surgery and the link between diet and cancer formation, as well as a four day research course for a physician assistant. Other programs will benefit underrepresented students in health care and feature educational lectures and seminars for students and attending physicians. "Even with just a fraction of the funds, we're already doing extraordinary things," explains Dr. Ross. "The endowment of this chair creates a legacy that will enable us to do lots of great things forever."
There is much to look forward to at Hackensack University Medical Center, with the Helena Theurer Pavilion - the hospital’s newest building - scheduled to open later this year, where much of the hospital's surgeries will be performed in a state-of-the-art facility. "This chair really represents a celebration of surgery — from where we came from to where we're going," adds Dr. Ross.
Dr. Ross turned 56-years-old this year, one year older than his father was when he died, which was especially poignant. "He never got to see me go to college, let alone medical school, so to name this chair after him is a real gift," he concludes. "It is a joy for me to see him be involved in a small way in what I believe in, because it is a continuation of what he believed in."
Next Steps & Resources:
- The support of our donors means the world to us. Thank you for all that you do in support of our patients and team members - today and every day. MAKE A GIFT to support Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation.
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