Seeing a Need, a Guest Returns with a Gift

There was a great deal for special guests to see when we opened our Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education in July. The building houses Wake Forest School of Medicine’s MD program, and it is spectacular. It is a technologically advanced environment that will help us deliver the kind of high-quality education we have a tradition of providing.

Among the impressive labs, simulation suites and classroom spaces on display that day was an array of tools and technology we use to teach 21st century medicine. This included manikins—the jointed models of a human used for medical instruction, unlike mannequins used to model clothing. They simulate real-life reactions and symptoms so that students can train as if they are attending real patients. Two sizes of manikins were displayed, adult and infant.

On one of the building tours, a guest asked, “Are there any child-size manikins?” We answered that unfortunately, we weren’t able to have pediatric manikins in place for the opening, and they were on the list of items we hoped to add sometime in the future.

Later that week, the guest approached our Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations with a gift of $80,000 to buy two child-size manikins. To add interest among the medical students, the donor included prize money for a student contest to name the manikins. They arrived this fall and were dubbed “Petey-Atrix” and “Simone” by our contest winners, MD student Cameron Oswalt and PA student Anna Olsen.

John D. McConnell, MDThe donor chose to remain anonymous.

We are deeply grateful for the gift and the difference it will make for our medical students and the children they will care for throughout their careers. The episode is a wonderful illustration of how motivated individuals can join with us and aid our mission—sometimes in surprising ways.

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John D. McConnell, MD
Chief Executive Officer
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center