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Alumna dedicates time and resources to Detroit through medical student education

January 02, 2018

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s mission encapsulates the spirit of community and outreach held by Wayne State alumna and philanthropist Beverly Butler, M.B.A. ’93, and her late husband, Dr. Adger Butler Jr., who was a committed health and wellness advocate in Detroit.

“The school’s mission statement reinforces the things that I think are so important: inclusion, education, research, investment in our community and societal wellness,” Beverly Butler said.

She and her husband devoted much of their lives to the people of Detroit. Dr. Adger Butler Jr., a two-time graduate of Wayne State with a master’s degree in social work in 1975 and a doctoral degree from the College of Education in 1982, worked for the City of Detroit Health Department and collaborated with Wayne State’s Department of Community Health on many projects.

“Adger was dedicated to addressing urban health issues. He was always enthusiastic about the spectrum of community wellness, and worked on projects in a number of different areas, ranging from substance abuse to bicycle helmet safety,” Beverly Butler said.

Dr. Butler’s work, she said, was highly collaborative and cross-disciplinary. And that’s what inspired her to support the Integrative Biosciences Center, referred to on campus as the IBio.

“I decided to give to IBio as a way of recognizing Adger because the research in IBio is so community oriented,” Beverly Butler said. “Adger was committed to the city and had done a lot of things at Wayne State in terms of health and outreach.”

In addition to her commitment to addressing health disparities through research, Beverly Butler has continued her and her husband’s shared passion for community wellness by participating in the Standardized Patient Program in the School of Medicine.

“Medical students have an opportunity to make a difference in their communities,” she said. “I felt that it was important to engage in the program because this kind of training gives students a unique perspective.”

She has worked with medical students on their physical exams as well as their communication skills. As a retired social worker, she sees these communication skills as pivotal to the future careers of medical students.

“One of the most important aspects of becoming a doctor is learning how to effectively communicate with your patients,” she said. “I enjoy watching students gain confidence in their work and seeing how they change from semester to semester.”

Her work with the Standardized Patient Program is one reason she is building the Beverly and Dr. Adger Butler Jr. Annual Scholarship to an endowed level, and why she has made plans to provide additional resources to the scholarship through her estate.

“My parents did not go to college, but my life was enhanced because of their dedication to my education and my sister’s education,” Beverly Butler said. “Adger and I did not have children, but I think that helping others pursue their educational goals ensures that things will be better for the next generation.”

The Butler Annual Scholarship has already made an impact. Beverly had the opportunity to meet the inaugural recipient, and the experience affirmed her belief in the power of philanthropy.

“It was really special to meet the student. It was interesting because there are many things about him that remind me of Adger,” she said, “especially in terms of his enthusiasm for helping others.”

Beverly Butler hopes that others will recognize the importance of supporting medical student education and join her in impacting future generations of expert and compassionate Wayne State University-trained physicians. To make a gift to support scholarships in the School of Medicine, contact Patty Paquin at ppaquin@med.wayne.edu or 313-577-0026.

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