Back in 1978, John Hess, M.D. ’72, and Lee Jong-wook were just two young doctors dispensing care in South Korea — Hess was working for the U.S. Army, and Lee was running an emergency room in a small provincial hospital.
“Once in a while you meet someone and you say, ‘hold it’, this is an amazing person,” says Hess.
There was just something about Lee that impressed Hess. So Hess invited Lee and his family to join the Hess family in Hawaii. There, both men earned master’s degrees in public health.
Today, Hess — an alumnus of the UW School of Medicine, as well as the University of Hawaii — knows his faith in Lee was well-founded. His friend went on to become the director-general of the World Health Organization in 2003, serving for three years before death ended his term in 2006.
Investing in people has turned out to be a lifelong interest for Hess. It’s an interest that prompted him and his wife, Lynn Stansbury, M.D., MPH, to create the Roxann Gary Endowed Fund in the Department of Laboratory Medicine. The endowment rewards students who have demonstrated excellence in the field of transfusion medicine.
It’s an area in which Hess, the medical director of the transfusion service at Harborview Medical Center (HMC), has a strong interest.
After decades as director of blood product development for the U.S. Army and then serving as director of transfusion services for the University of Maryland’s trauma center, Hess was recruited to help build UW Medicine’s transfusion systems.
People like Roxann Gary, the person who inspired Hess to name the endowment, made his job easier. “She spent her life training people, and she became the first lead transfusion technologist at Harborview and UW Medical Center,” says Hess.
Hess and Stansbury also made a gift to the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in honor of Jean M. Pinder, a registered nurse and an inspirational and influential person in Stansbury’s life.
The couple notes that gifts like theirs — made to honor people who inspired them — are not only tributes to the people they admire. They’re also notes of encouragement to all of us.
“Giving is a great way to involve yourself in the present and invest in the future,” Hess says.