Scholarship for a diverse medical school.
Carol Rumack, MD, says she can relate to some of the struggles today's underrepresented students may face.
Carol followed in the footsteps of her mother and father, both physicians. In the late 1960s, she was one of only five women in her medical school class of 100—and she was told she didn't belong there.
"There were many occasions where I was told by people 'You know, there could be a man here if you didn't go to medical school.' They didn't see any reason why women should be encouraged to go to medical school," Carol said. "But my mother was a doctor, so it influenced me at a very young age that becoming a doctor was possible. My mother was one of only two women in her class in 1935. So when people told me you can't do it, I said 'Yes, I can!' because I already knew it was possible."
Today Carol is a professor of radiology and pediatrics, serves as associate dean for graduate medical education, and is a radiologist with a primary interest in neonatal imaging. Barry is professor emeritus of pediatrics and emergency medicine and still actively engaged in teaching and research.
The Rumacks completed their residencies at CU in the 1970s and then joined the faculty, where they continue to make a difference to this day. They have supported the Mile High Medical Society Scholarship, Stethoscope Fund, the Fitzsimmons Early Learning Center, the Education building project, and other initiatives at CU Anschutz.
Together they have committed $1 million in their estate plans to establish the Rumack Endowed Fund for Medical Education. The fund will one day provide flexible support for underrepresented medical students, especially women and minorities, at CU Anschutz for whatever challenges they may face.
"We think that representation of physicians in the community should reflect the community, and right now it doesn't in medicine. We would like to see that area improve," Barry said.
For example, research shows that just 5 percent of U.S. doctors are black, even though African-Americans account for 12 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics and Native Americans are even more underrepresented.
A diverse workforce improves medical care for people who are traditionally underserved, including the elderly, those who live in rural areas, and minorities. Patients are more likely to seek medical care and follow medical recommendations when they can relate to their doctor through a shared culture, background or language, Barry explained.
"It builds a connected relationship on trust and understanding," he said.
The School of Medicine is working to increase the diversity of its student body through community outreach, pipeline programs and scholarship support. The medical school has adopted a definition of diversity that embraces race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, political beliefs, rural upbringing and socioeconomic status.
In an annual class size of 184, the number of medical students at CU Anschutz who fall within this definition has increased from 7 percent in 2013 to 28 percent. The Rumacks hope that their scholarship and support of the Mile High Medical Society scholarship will continue to bolster that effort for future generations of medical students by helping with the costs of such items like childcare, transportation, tuition, and other needed items all which help contribute to a student's success and sense of belonging at CU Anschutz.
"We think it's important to do some estate planning so that the things we care about can go forward," Barry said. "I came as an intern in 1968, and the school has provided a place to have a phenomenal academic career of research and teaching, and to support things that were important to us. We hope our gifts inspires the same philosophy which is why we've tried to give while we've been part of the school."
Said Carol: "What we want to say by creating this scholarship fund is that we believe diversity is a value and we want to help support it with a scholarship. We want to give students the advantage of knowing CU School of Medicine is a place that really does care."