2021 Benefactors of the Year
William U. Parfet and Barbara A. Parfet | William D. Johnston and Ronda E. Stryker
We formally recognize Mr. William D. Johnston and Mrs. Ronda E. Stryker alongside Mr. William U. Parfet and Mrs. Barbara A. Parfet for their leadership in co-chairing the medical school’s tenth anniversary gala WMed Live: A First Decade Celebration. Their leadership played an instrumental role in honoring Dean Emeritus Hal B. Jenson for his decade of leadership as the founding dean of Kalamazoo’s premier medical school and in welcoming our new dean, Dr. Paula Termuhlen.
We appreciate their ongoing enthusiasm to celebrate the achievements of the medical school and our future Clinicians, Leaders, Educators, Advocates, and Researchers of tomorrow. Bill and Ronda have been tireless in their advocacy to encourage members of our regional community to support medical education diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Bill and Barbara have shown generous support for the mission of the medical school, the development of the medical school’s physical facilities, and encouraging philanthropy through the WMed Philanthropy Advisory Council, the Dean’s Circle Leadership Giving Society, and the planned giving programs of the medical school.
We proudly recognize these two couples for their bold leadership, inspiring vision, and generous financial support to advance the mission of WMed and its place in the field of global medical education.
Steve and Amy McKiddy
We salute Steve and Amy McKiddy for their active involvement with the medical school. Steve and Amy’s work with the WMed Dean’s Circle Leadership Giving Society has played an invaluable role in growing the engagement of Kalamazoo philanthropic leaders in becoming actively involved in the life of WMed. We proudly recognize Steve and Amy McKiddy for their leadership, active involvement, and generous financial support in advancing the mission of the medical school.
Dr. Keith Kenter and Mrs. Patty Kenter
We salute Dr. Keith Kenter and Mrs. Patty Kenter for their active involvement with the medical school, our students, and our residents. We are honored by their transformative leadership for both the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the WMed Medical Engineering Program and their genuine support to deliver comprehensive and patient-centered care for our patients in the community. Keith and Patty’s tireless advocacy for the mission and programs of WMed, their creative leadership, and their generous financial support continues to play a vital role in advancing the mission of the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and the medical needs of the community.
Dr. Thomas G. Ryan and Mrs. Debra K. Ryan
We salute Dr. Thomas G. Ryan And Mrs. Debra K. Ryan and the James R. Ryan Foundation for their leadership in supporting the programs and students of WMed. We are honored by Tom and Deb’s visionary leadership, advocacy, and their generous support for the core mission of the medical school.
Susan and Bob Brown
We salute Susan and Bob Brown for their visionary leadership in helping to create vibrant connections between the programs of WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and genuine needs in the Kalamazoo community. Their tireless advocacy for the mission and programs of WMed, particularly focusing on community mental health initiatives for the Kalamazoo Collaborative Care Program, along with their leadership financial support, continue to play a vital role in improving the quality of life in Kalamazoo and in advancing the mission of the medical school.
Betty Upjohn Mason
We salute Betty for her friendship, for her gracious spirit, and for her active involvement with the medical school and our students. We are honored by Betty's visionary leadership, her advocacy, and for her generous support for the core mission of the medical school.
2020 Donor Spotlight
Charles and Lynn Zhang
A generous donation of about $150,000 worth of personal protective equipment from Charles and Lynn Zhang has allowed the medical school to keep its providers safe as they served the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Read more of Charles and Lynn Zhang's story
The Zhangs’ philanthropy also included a significant contribution of their time as Lynn Zhang personally spent countless hours sourcing supplies from China amidst worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment.
“All this started when this virus started hitting the community,” Lynn Zhang said. “We really wanted to do something to help. I read the stories about how our frontline doctors and nurses were fighting it and lack of equipment and that broke my heart because they are risking their lives and we don’t have enough protection to give them. I thought, how can we take care of the patients, of the community?”
Zhang said she called WMed leaders and asked what they needed most. She learned the medical school had placed orders for personal protection equipment, but the orders were all backordered as the vendors dealt with limited supplies.
Zhang reached out to a friend in the medical field in China, who said she could help find supplies. Over the last several weeks, Zhang spent numerous hours on the phone – often late at night due to the 12-hour time difference -- sourcing supplies, ordering them and arranging for delivery to the medical school.
“We just want to do whatever we can to help the community,” she said. “It’s such a difficult and challenging time.”
The Zhangs’ donations to the medical school are a small part of what they’ve done in Kalamazoo as the community fights the COVID-19 crisis. They have made donations to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and donated funds to Bronson Methodist Hospital’s Rapid Response Fund to supply the hospital with more ventilators in the case of a COVID-19 patient surge.
“I believe we’re very blessed to be in the community,” Lynn Zhang said. “Our leadership in the medical school and the hospitals are all working together and focused on one goal to make it happen. That helps. That is so crucial.”
Donations from the Zhangs include surgical masks, gloves, Tyvek suits, booties and goggles – personal protective equipment that is essential to keep providers safe but that has been in short supply everywhere, Robin Scott, the medical school’s Occupational Health Manager, said.
Having an abundance of surgical masks allows WMed Health to provide them to employees and patients. The medical school is requiring all employees and visitors to wear surgical masks while on any WMed campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation allowed WMed Health to share surgical masks with Ascension Borgess Hospital and Bronson Methodist Hospital, along with West Michigan Air Care and Kalamazoo Anesthesiology, Scott said.
Surgical masks protect the air people breathe out, so everyone wearing a mask protects people around them, Scott said.
“If we didn’t have these donations, we couldn’t have everyone wear one,” Scott said.
Each provider has been given a set of the donated personal protective equipment, and WMed Health employees manning the collection site hosted by Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services are using the Tyvek suits to completely cover their clothing as they handle potential COVID-19 positive specimens, Scott said.
Scott said the medical school, like many healthcare facilities around the world, was not able to order the amounts of personal protective equipment needed as the COVID-19 crisis hit because companies were rationing the amounts that could be purchased of everything from cleaning supplies to masks.
“We were having severe limitations, which was frustrating to say the least,” Scott said. “We were handing out more masks and we were starting to use more supplies than normal and we couldn’t order. Those two limitations were huge.”
Scott said the medical school was caught between its limited stock and the amount that was able to be ordered.
“Without this donation I don’t know where we would be,” Scott said. “The time, the money and the effort that she’s put into this is just phenomenal. It truly shows the power of community and I’m hoping that others are seeing that, that we are in this together.”
The donations have had a real impact on WMed Health providers this week, said Debra Taubel MD, chair of the medical school’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Earlier this week, Dr. Taubel said, a provider used the donated personal protective equipment while performing a cesarean section on a patient with COVID-19 who had been hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit.
“We were truly fortunate to have our own individual PPE available for a procedure like this,” Dr. Taubel said. “We are extremely appreciative of how quickly we have had protective equipment made available to the WMed family. Through these efforts, we continue to provide necessary care for our patients, keeping everyone safe.”
We can all learn from the Zhangs’ community engagement, commitment, compassion for others’ safety and servant leadership, said Keith Kenter, MD, the medical school’s Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.
“WMed and WMed Health are proud to accept these gifts and to be associated with our community,” Dr. Kenter said. “It is in times of stress and crisis management that good things like this need to be celebrated. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”