When the Wayne State University School of Medicine needed someone to chair its portion of the Pivotal Moments: Our Campaign for Wayne State University fundraising effort, it found a natural leadership combination in two of its own: Brooks Bock, M.D., and Pamela Bock, M.D.
The Bocks oversee the School of Medicine’s share of the university-wide campaign, which seeks to raise $750 million by 2018, the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding. To date, the university’s second and most significant comprehensive campaign in its history has secured $453 million. The campaign is designed to support a collective vision of making Wayne State University and the School of Medicine the nation’s preeminent public urban research university.
When it came to selecting who to chair the campaign on behalf of the School of Medicine, former Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., said the Bocks made the perfect fit.
“They both received their medical educations here, they both formerly worked here and their ongoing commitment to the School of Medicine has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Dr. Parisi said. “They are the perfect co-leaders for our campaign.”
The Bocks now live and practice medicine in Vail, Colo., but have always maintained a close bond with their alma mater.
“When Dean Parisi asked us to serve as co-chairs for the medical school campaign, we agreed in part because it was Valerie who asked, and because both of us have benefitted from our medical education greatly and we both have contacts in the city and state, and throughout the medical community,” said Brooks Bock, Class of 1969, and founder and first chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine.
An obstetrician and gynecologist, Pamela Bock, Class of 1987, said of agreeing to co-chair the campaign, “I owe my success to the university and the School of Medicine. What better way to show my appreciation?”
She noted that three of her siblings completed their undergraduate degrees at Wayne State University as well.
“I was able to have a lot of hands-on training that most medical schools do not offer,” Pamela Bock said. “I think that's unique about Wayne's program.”
Her husband agreed. “Wayne State University gave me the opportunity to develop leadership skills, a quality medical education and to have experiences while in medical school at the clinical level that I probably would not have had at other medical schools.”
One of the focal points in the campaign for the School of Medicine is ensuring that finances don’t become a barrier to students who show the potential to become great physicians and medical researchers. The Bocks have personally backed that effort, establishing the Pamela A. Bock, M.D., and Brooks F. Bock, M.D., Endowed Medical School Scholarship in 2013.
Pamela Bock knows firsthand the financial challenges medical students face. “I was short on cash all the time,” she recalled. “I lived in a senior home located near the school because it was cheap. The School of Medicine and Dr. Jane Thomas (former assistant dean for Student Affairs) helped set me up there due to my cash problems. There were a few other students in the same building. Now, I am very happy to be able to fund a scholarship. Helping a student to be able to focus on their education and not worry about money issues is my reason for establishing a scholarship.”
“Both of us have benefited greatly from our medical education and we recognize the expense today and the fact that students have to undergo very, very deep debt,” Brooks Bock said. “We’ve been fortunate in our practices and our lives, and we wanted to give back in that way.”
They have been giving back, to patients through medicine and to the community, for quite some time. They have five children of their own, and while they lived and practiced in Michigan, they opened their home for four years to serve as foster parents for children who were wards of the state.
“We just felt it was something that we were called to do,” Brooks Bock said.
In addition, the doctors, who met and began dating while at the School of Medicine, will host their second alumni summer escape weekend in Vail Aug. 14-16. The weekend will include a variety of social and recreational activities designed to appeal to alumni and their families. For more information, contact Director of Research Philanthropy Susan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-577-0078.