Medical Innovator Establishes Scholarship to “Pay Forward Gift of Education”

Dr. Alfred Spivack is pictured here with his ceramic art, crafted using a method he invented that fuses dichroic glass and clay. His work has been exhibited widely in juried shows in the U.S. and abroad, and his innovative technique has been published widely.

The motivation for Alfred P. Spivack, MD, to establish The Spivack Family Spirit of Philanthropy Scholarship was a desire to alleviate today’s medical students from some of the staggering debt that they incur during years of costly education.

The scholarship fund, started by Dr. Spivack, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, and the estate of his late sister Evelyn Spivack Goldberg, honors the memory of their parents Rose Werbner Spivack and Ralph Spivack, who in their teens fled Eastern Europe for Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Rose and Ralph worked for years, seven days a week tending to Spivack’s, their family delicatessen, to ensure that they could fund their children’s education.

“I was able to leave medical school debt free,” says Dr. Spivack, “which allowed me to pursue the field I wanted to, and buy a home. That’s just not possible for most medical students today.” It was this realization that inspired Dr. Spivack’s scholarship gift to Stanford, given in the spirit of paying forward the gift of education he received from his loving and hard-working parents. His professional and philanthropic efforts were recently recognized by his alma mater, Jefferson Medical College, which honored him with its highest recognition award, the Alumni Achievement Award. For Spivack, the gift was a matter of personal conviction, and it carries a message that he shares with each of his grandchildren as they head off to college: “Enter into what you do and leave it better.”

The scholarship bearing his family name will make it easier for recipients to shave off some of their huge school loans, and will be added to a long list of achievements that speak to Dr. Spivack’s highly successful career as a professor and physician at Stanford. These include founding the Hypertension-Anticoagulation Clinic, Stanford’s popular Sports Medicine training course, and the Coronary Care Unit (CCU), now celebrating its 50th year. While serving as the CCU’s founding director, Dr. Spivack was among the first to encourage nurses to take a more active role in the care of critically ill cardiac patients. The Spivack Family Spirit of Philanthropy Scholarship will create an enduring legacy by helping emergent doctors get established and, Dr. Spivack hopes, by inspiring other medical school graduates and faculty to also consider supporting medical student scholarships. Studies show that financial assistance can help promote ethnic and economic diversity in medicine and give young doctors more freedom when selecting their career direction. It is with this in mind, and with the intent to impact medical education by “leaving it better,” that The Spivack Family Spirit of Philanthropy Scholarship is awarded to promising physicians of tomorrow.


Original PDF of the story.