Edward Weiner, MD, knew from age 4 that he wanted to be a doctor. The first person in his family to become a physician, Weiner, now 74, attended an osteopathic school before transferring to RUSH Medical College for his third year. He was a member of the college’s Class of 1973, the first class to graduate from the re-established RUSH.
Looking to transfer to medical school, Weiner had difficulty finding a school that would accept him since his first two years were spent at an osteopathic school. Seeking to complete his training somewhere that would accept his unique background, he heard that RUSH was renewing its charter and would be enrolling both first- and third-year students. He found the team at RUSH to be extremely approachable and encouraging.
“RUSH gave me a chance,” said Weiner. “I called and asked for an application, and they said, ‘What’s your address?’ I could tell things were different. To me, that meant they were willing to try new things; they wanted to know what was working and what wasn’t. I filled out that application and was accepted two or three days before the first day of class.”
The hands-on training, mentorship and respect Weiner received at RUSH only added to his gratitude for the education he received. RUSH gave him the opportunity to blend his osteopathic training with traditional medicine while instilling in him the morals and values that he says continue to play a role in his professional life today.
“RUSH gave me my career,” he said. “I’m just so proud of my time there. I’ve always felt close to RUSH. They gave me my lifestyle. How often does someone get to do something they’re excited to do every day? I love what I do. It’s why I’m still working at almost 75. I couldn’t be happier.”
In gratitude for his education and the fulfilling career it helped enable, Weiner — who is a member of the Rush Heritage Society, RUSH’s planned giving recognition society — made a generous bequest to RUSH. In addition, he and his wife, Marsha, chose to support RUSH University Medical Center with five charitable gift annuities — cash gifts in exchange for fixed quarterly payments for the rest of their lives.
With a gift annuity, RUSH invests the principal of the gift, and the donor receives fixed payments for life. When the annuity ends, the remaining gift principal reverts to RUSH for its charitable purpose. The Weiners’ gifts will support the Edward and Marsha Weiner Fund for Psychiatry, helping advance RUSH’s psychiatry program.
“At RUSH, I was very interested in psychiatry,” Weiner said.
He now incorporates mental health into his private primary care practice in Great Barrington, Mass., using a model of medicine he created early on in his medical practice. About half of each appointment is a physical exam, and the other half is psychotherapy.
“I don’t know how to separate mental health and physical health,” Weiner said. “Sometimes a visit is purely physical, but it’s also a lot of counseling and therapy. It’s a different focus for my patients. I’ll actually go get them from the waiting room myself and walk with them down the hallway. Just walking and talking with them before we get to the exam room can give me a pretty good idea of what’s going on. What my patients don’t realize is the visit starts the moment I say, ‘Hi.’”
A sound investment
Weiner doesn’t always know what to expect when a patient walks through the door, but when it comes to his investments, he wants to know exactly what to expect.
“I only like to bet on sure things,” he said. “A gift I made to RUSH in 2008 was one of my best investments. It’s been paying interest rates we haven’t seen in ages. It’s something I can count on. It’s a tax advantage. Not only do I benefit personally, but I’m so happy RUSH is also able to benefit from it at the same time.”
Weiner compares the mutual benefit of charitable gift annuities to the experience he’s had when taking out an acquaintance’s dog when he and his wife go hiking in the nearby Berkshires.
“People say, ‘That’s so great for the dog,’” Weiner said. “Well, it happens to be great for us too.”
All Alumni Weekend: Established in 1972, RUSH University is celebrating 50 years of excellence Oct. 21-22 during All Alumni Weekend. A weekend-long celebration, this event will connect alumni from all four colleges — RUSH University College of Nursing, RUSH Medical College, RUSH University College of Health Sciences and RUSH Graduate College — with University leaders, fellow alumni, current and former faculty, students, staff and friends, and showcase RUSH’s history and the University’s exciting vision for the future.