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Donna Grogan, MD R'87 P'18 and Paul Grogan P’18 establish endowed scholarship

A proud legacy at UMass Chan continues to grow

Date Posted: viernes, diciembre 09, 2022
Donna Grogan and her son Conor.
Donna joins son Conor and his learning community mentor, David Hatem, MD, at Conor's white coat ceremony.

Donna Grogan, MD R'87 P'18, remembers when the main campus of UMass Chan Medical School was a vast, grassy field. Growing up in Worcester in the 1960s and ’70s, Donna witnessed firsthand the remarkable formation of the Medical School, a place that would go on to play a significant role in her life. Most recently, Donna and her husband, Paul, established an endowed scholarship to help UMass Chan students fulfill their dreams of a career in medicine.

From a very young age, Donna had her own dreams of becoming a physician. After graduating premed from the College of the Holy Cross, she headed west with Paul to Chicago, earning her medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1983.

She and Paul soon returned to the Worcester area, where Donna began a deep association with the Medical School, starting with her internal medicine residency at UMass Memorial Medical Center (UMMC), the clinical partner of UMass Chan. After serving as chief resident during her final year of training, Donna became associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and an instructor and then assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UMass Chan.

Pivoting to the pharmaceutical industry in 1994, Donna launched a successful career in drug development and regulatory strategy, while also practicing primary care part-time with UMass Memorial Health for over a decade.

While building a flourishing career in medicine, Donna also raised three children with Paul—a remarkable balancing act. Son Conor Grogan, MD’18, followed Donna into medicine and is currently a hospitalist at UMMC, while Conor’s wife, daughter-in-law Katelyn Soares, MD’18, is a pediatrician who will be joining UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center in April, as well as the Department of Pediatrics at UMass Chan.

Now semi-retired, Donna enjoys bonding with her grandchildren and more time for pursuits like reading, cycling and golf. She and Paul also decided that now is the time to build a legacy through giving. “We want to give while we’re still here, rather than through a will,” said Donna. Both Donna and Paul grew up in blue-collar families of modest means, and they feel fortunate to have the resources to give back.

Given their family’s deep ties to UMass Chan, supporting the Medical School made perfect sense. By establishing a scholarship, the Grogans want to encourage students from varied backgrounds, limited means or other challenges to come here. “We’re happy to be contributing in a very tangible way,” said Donna. As part of their philanthropic planning, the Grogans established a donor-advised fund (DAF), from which they were able to draw upon for this scholarship.  

In focusing the scholarship on women, in addition to primary care, Donna shared, “I think women are still underrepresented in medicine. When I was in medical school, it was a lonely experience for women. We need more opportunities to help women advance in their careers while balancing all the other responsibilities.”

When asked about the biggest challenges facing health care today, Donna points to an environment that does not empower physicians to take the best care of patients. She is very supportive of universal health care. “Systemic inequity is a real challenge,” she said. “It’s very difficult to adequately take care of patients within the health care system when socioeconomic factors play such a big role in health and disease.”

Amid these challenges, Donna is confident in the Medical School’s ability to educate highly skilled, compassionate physicians. She’s impressed with the continued strength in primary care and feels that the school has developed “a nice balance between clinical medicine and expertise in research.” Donna also observes a genuinely collaborative environment where students, faculty and residents show true care for each other. She’s grateful for all the Medical School has brought to Worcester, her hometown, and likewise feels the livable local environment benefits the UMass Chan community.

“I remember when the hospital and school were built,” she said. “I’m happy to see them evolve into a major medical center and top-tier learning institution for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. I am proud to have been part of this legacy and want to continue to support it as it grows.”