Retired Doctor Gives Back for the Next Generation of Care
October 01, 2021
On January 1, 2020, geriatric medicine specialist Eileen Masterson, M.D., celebrated an important milestone: After more than 30 years of service, she retired from the medical staff at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. As she was ending her career, however, she couldn’t help but think of the young doctors who were just beginning theirs.
Anxious to give back, Dr. Masterson resolved to spend part of her retirement helping medical students, with whom she’d worked closely during her distinguished career. Specifically, she wanted to help them prepare for their national medical exams alongside internist David Kountz, M.D., co-chief academic officer and vice president, academic affairs, Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Then the pandemic happened. Unable to volunteer with students in person, Dr. Masterson had to find another way to support them.
“On discussing my financial situation with my advisor, I realized I didn’t need the income I would be required to take from my IRA as a required minimum distribution in 2022,” recalls Dr. Masterson, whose advisor suggested taking that as a qualified charitable distribution to the charity of her choice. “I wanted to do something that would benefit residents at Jersey Shore, since I know many of them have a large student debt at a time when they are also supporting growing families. I reached out to Dr. Kountz about how to help these young doctors.”
So was born the Eileen Masterson, M.D., and David Kountz, M.D., Scholarship Fund, which beginning in 2022 will award a $10,000 scholarship every year to four first-year residents at Jersey Shore following the successful completion of their first year of training. During her lifetime, the scholarship will be funded with an annual distribution of $40,000 from Dr. Masterson’s IRA; after her lifetime, the IRA’s full contents will pass to the Jersey Shore Foundation, to which Dr. Masterson has pledged a grand total of $1.1 million.
“I have had the good fortune to work with residents of all disciplines—medical, pediatric, dental, OBGYN and surgical—during my years at Jersey Shore, and I know they are dedicated to patient care. The residency program makes this hospital great,” Dr. Masterson says. “I can help now and into the future.”
“Dr. Masterson embodies humanism and professionalism,” says Dr. Kountz, who donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund. “This scholarship is a wonderful testament to a great physician and teacher to encourage more young physicians who complete their training at Jersey Shore to follow in Dr. Masterson’s footsteps.”
Jackie Bartley-Oxley, vice president of gift planning for Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, adds: “We are extremely grateful to Dr. Masterson for her wonderful generosity and for allowing us to celebrate her philanthropic spirit today while knowing that her legacy will impact so many generations of medical residents in the future. We hope that Dr. Masterson’s creative giving through a retirement asset might inspire others to do the same. She is an extraordinary person.”
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