Building 'Something Good'
Underlying Dr. Donald Fry's fulfilling career in academic surgery, including a sustained interest in clinical infectious disease, are a great attitude and the willingness to flow with life's unexpected and serendipitous encounters. One of several such "accidents" was his exposure to the University of Louisville Medical School.
"As I was evaluating residency options during my final year of medical school in the early 1970s," he says, "a young Dr. Hiram Polk was two months on the job as chairman of UofL's Department of Surgery."
Despite being captivated by Hiram's energy and manner, the old-school hospital wards prompted Don to accept a residency elsewhere. Realizing that his first choice was not a good fit, and drawing on his impressive recollection of Hiram, he soon accepted an offer to continue his residency at UofL. "Working under Hiram set the course of my career," Don notes. "He ignited my interest in surgical infections, and a mentorship began that continues to this day."
Don, like Hiram, went on to hold an extended tenure as chairman of the Department of Surgery at a major research university. Although he has now stepped away from the challenges of academic administration and the huge clinical case load that he carried during his 16 years at the University of New Mexico, he remains actively involved in his field as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Surgical Infections and as a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Don has now simplified his life by moving to downtown Chicago, enabling him to walk to work at MPA Healthcare Solutions. Here, he has turned his analytic mind to exploring options for healthcare models for payment reform and to realigning physician incentives for quality and efficiency in the delivery of care. Another simplification has come through assessing where his financial giving will make the most difference.
As a longtime supporter of UofL's School of Medicine, Don, along with his wife, Rosemary (to whom he has been married for 50 years thanks to another serendipitous encounter), have determined that UofL will be a major beneficiary of his IRA fund. The bequest designation will fully endow the Donald and Rosemary Fry Professor of Surgery, which they began to fund last year.
"My life has turned out well," Don says, "and through this gift, Rosemary and I will continue to build something good in Louisville."
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