Funds: Ron Davis, Scott Simonds

Funds: Ron Davis, Scott Simonds

One Man's Journey

In a speech before the American Medical Association last June, outgoing AMA President and SPH Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology Ron Davis talked about the journey humans take "around the circle of life. What's important," he emphasized, "is what we accomplish on that path. Leaving a good legacy is something each of us will eventually consider, some sooner than others."

Davis's legacy will now include the Dr. Ronald M. Davis Preventive Medicine Residency Scholarship fund at SPH. Established over the summer with a seed gift from SPH Associate Dean for Practice Matt Boulton and his wife, Chitra, M.P.H. '90, the scholarship supports physician graduate students pursuing their MPH in the Preventive Medicine Residency program and is based on merit or need. Boulton says the couple's gift "is reflective of how much I think of Ron as a close colleague in public health practice for the last 15 years." The UM President's Donor Challenge will match donations to the scholarship fund $1 for $2 until December 31, 2008, or until matching funds are expended.

A UM graduate, Davis, 52, is chair of the SPH Preventive Medicine Residency Advisory Committee and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System. He has a long and distinguished career in public health, and during his year as A.M.A. president he worked hard to forge stronger ties between public health and medicine. His primary public health research interest is tobacco control, but he also studies immunization, injury control, behavioral risk factor surveillance, and conflicts of interest in scientific publication.

Earlier this year Davis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Since then he has kept a detailed blog on his struggle against the aggressive disease at www.carepages.com. He told his AMA colleagues in June that although he's keenly aware of the stark survival statistics for someone with stage-4 pancreatic cancer, he's a "cup-half-full kind of guy." "Never take away someone's hope," he urged his fellow doctors.

Davis says he is honored to be associated with the Davis Preventive Medicine Residency Scholarship. "I urge those dedicated to a stronger public health infrastructure to contribute to it." To give, visit www.sph.umich.edu/giving.

See Editor's Note above at right.

Growing the Future

simondsAmong his various talents, SPH Professor Emeritus Scott Simonds is a gardener. So when he turned 80 last March, his wife, Frankie, decided to give him something that would grow: an SPH scholarship fund in his name. She sent notes to Scott's children and the couple's close friends to let them know about the fund, and during the family's birthday celebration, one of Scott's grandchildren unveiled a poster announcing it. "I was sort of overwhelmed," Scott admits. "On later reflection, I thought it was a nice idea."

The Scott K. Simonds Scholarship Fund will support a student in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, where Scott taught for nearly 40 years until his retirement in 1994, and where he earned renown for his work on patient education in hospitals. Both he and Frankie hope the scholarship will help address the critical shortage of public health professionals in the U.S. and will help students who are passionate about public health education pay for their graduate work. For more on the President's Donor Challenge, or to contribute to the Scott K. Simonds Scholarship Fund, visit www.sph.umich.edu/giving.

Editor's Note:

Ronald M. Davis, age 52, died peacefully in his home, surrounded by his family, on November 6, 2008, after a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer. The statement his family released said: "Ron's ultimate legacy will be the strength of his character: impeccable integrity, graciousness, the highest ethical standards, a beautiful smile, respectful manner, and an intense dedication to his family and friends whom he loved so much."

New York Times obituary.