A Generous Gift from a Grateful Family Establishes Pulmonary Education Endowed Fund
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Ellen and Donald Bilgore have donated $500,000 to the divisions of General Medicine and Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine to establish the Donna Bilgore Robins Research, Education & Clinical Innovation Endowment. The fund will support education initiatives for junior faculty. The Bilgores are lifelong Rochester residents, and are extremely grateful for how Strong Memorial Hospital has cared for their daughter, Donna, all her life.
At only six months old, Donna was diagnosed with severe asthma. She is now in her 60s, and as she points out, “I never have a day that’s asthma free.” During her childhood, her parents were very involved in her care, which included many trips to the hospital.
Don had already developed a great patient/doctor relationship with his primary care doctor, Marc Berliant, M.D., who is now division chief of General Medicine. Together with Paul Levy, M.D., professor of Medicine in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, and Augusto Litonjua, M.D., M.P.H., chief of Pediatric Pulmonology, they have worked with the Bilgore family for many years.
The endowed fund will also establish the Donna Bilgore Robins Teaching Day, for updates on education, training, treatment, and management of asthma and other airway diseases, to and by providers for patients, patients’ families, and their caregivers.
To honor the Bilgore family and their generosity, the Pulmonary clinical care suite has been named after Donna Bilgore Robins, where a new plaque has recently been installed that includes the phrase “to breathe is to be free.” There is a similar plaque in her honor at the Mary Parkes Asthma Center.
Presented with the plaque, Donna said “I want to thank the University of Rochester Strong Memorial team who have helped to develop the focus of this fund. In particular, I want to recognize Dr. Levy, Dr. Berliant, Joe Lynch and Michael Fahy from Advancement. This is definitely one of the most memorable days of my life. I am humbled by the naming of this gift that recognizes my personal struggle.”
You, too, can donate to the division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine.