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Providing for Students, Promoting Compassion

At a young age, S. Dershi Saxena, MD, learned a powerful lesson from her father about supporting those in need. Her brother won a scholarship, and her father chose to return it to the school

“He said, ‘I can pay for your education. But those children who can’t afford it, they need the money,’” she said. 

V. Amod Saxena, MD, Dershi’s husband, also believes that finances should not hold back a passionate, talented student from pursuing medicine. Since joining Rush in 1967 in radiation oncology, Amod Saxena has supported scholarship, continuing to do so even after he officially retired in 2003.

While offering financial assistance to students, Amod Saxena also wanted to promote a compassionate, ethical approach to working in health care. 

“One of the greatest problems in medical education is not the smartness of young doctors, it is decision-making, empathy and learning to talk to patients,” he said. 

Dershi, who practiced as an anesthesiologist and taught at Rush, and Amod started the Saxena Family Foundation in the early 1990s to help prospective medical students in need of financial help. The family still donates to student assistance at Rush through the V. Amod Saxena, MD, Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Since 2005, 26 Rush Medical College students have received scholarship support from the Saxenas.

“One of the reasons I wanted to establish the foundation was to make sure physicians continue to understand and practice ethics in our profession,” Amod Saxena said. “Emotional health must be treated as well as physical health. Doctors must be emotionally available to support their patients.”

Read on for more Rush philanthropy news.

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