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Generations apart, two pediatricians share special link

How one planned gift is advancing care for kids

June 12, 2014 | by Alyssa Alegre


Generations apart, two pediatricians share special link

(Pictured above: Dr. Kathleen McGann and medical student Amy Gaultney use paper towel pieces to enhance the lung exam of 5-year-old Casey Mendiola-Tippett at Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center. McGann helps train medical students in her Pediatric Infectious Diseases Clinic.)

He studied medicine before there was a polio vaccine. She researched mother-to-child HIV transmission in the 1990s. He advocated for child-proof medication caps at a time when they were rare. She looks to iPad technology to improve medical education.

Pediatricians Glenn A. Kiser, M.D., and Kathleen A. McGann, M.D., worked decades apart, but they share a special connection.

McGann is the first recipient of the Glenn A. Kiser and Muriel Kiser Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics at Duke, named for Dr. Kiser, a 1941 graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, and his wife.

Kiser, who passed away in 2009, created the professorship through his will and a charitable trust. He completed his residency training in pediatrics and went on to have a long and distinguished medical career.

 Even after his death, Kiser is still caring for kids. His gift supports McGann’s pediatric education and research initiatives at Duke.

 As Vice Chair of Education, McGann splits her time between seeing patients and developing a comprehensive pediatric curriculum for the university’s medical students,  fellows, and residents.

McGann is also a leading expert in pediatric infectious diseases, having treated patients with illnesses ranging from typhoid fever to HIV infection.

She was recruited to Duke from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006 because she’s one of the best in her field. The Kiser estate gift has allowed her to make a greater impact as an educator and physician.

“The professorship has freed me to focus on innovative learning techniques and writing grants to fund them,” says McGann. “We ensure that the students, fellows, and residents leave Duke with the knowledge and skills they need to take the best care of children.”

McGann has initiated new programs like Pediatric Education Day where she brings national experts to campus for a departmental presentation, along with trainee and faculty workshops. She also started an annual training night where medical students conduct their first in-person exam on the children of faculty and residents.

“It’s challenging to do your first real exam on a child,” she says. “This is a way to practice in a low-pressure environment, and the students leave brimming with enthusiasm.”

McGann is also examining the role of technology in improving patient outcomes and student and resident learning.

Curriculum Online for Resident Education is a new digital tool where residents can find learning resources and detailed information about their clinical rotations. She’s looking to use iPads so residents can find key health information at the bedside, allowing them to spend more time with patients and enhance care.

Much like the planned gift that supports her work, McGann says working with children and trainees is an investment in the future.

“If you’re treating 2-year-olds, you have the opportunity to affect many more years of their lives,” she says. “But that’s not all. If you work with students and residents, you are also educating the next generation to care for children well into the future.”

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This is just one of the many ways planned gifts are making an impact on Duke today. Planned gifts like the Kisers’ help set our trajectory for the future.

If you’ve ever considered making an impact on the people and places you love most at Duke, let us know!

About the author

alyssa-alegre-headshot

Alyssa Alegre Assistant Director of Gift Planning

Alyssa oversees marketing and communications, events, and special initiatives for the Office of Gift Planning. She works closely with donors who are featured in Duke Magazine, the Blueprints blog and other publications. She also works closely with development teams, schools, and alumni volunteers as part of our comprehensive reunion efforts. Alyssa has previous work experience with a private law firm, several non-profit organizations, and a regional bank. She received her undergraduate degree and Masters of Business Administration from Niagara University. Alyssa joined the Gift Planning team in 2007, after relocating from Buffalo, New York. When she is not in the office, she enjoys being outdoors, running, and chasing after her twin daughters.

Alyssa Alegre can be contacted via email or by phone at (919) 681-8030.

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