Dr. and Mrs. Aufses Receive Income for Life from Recent Gift to Mount Sinai

Photo of Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD, and  Mrs. Harriet W. AufsesArthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD, and his wife, Mrs. Harriet W. Aufses, have added a charitable gift annuity—which pays them income for life—to the many philanthropic gifts they have already made to the Mount Sinai Health System, where Dr. Aufses was Chairman of the Department of Surgery for 22 years and has received virtually every award obtainable.

“We like the idea of the gift annuity because the interest rate at our age is a lot better than you can do in the stock market,” Dr. Aufses said. “The interest rate is guaranteed for life, there’s a big tax deduction that goes with it, and part of the income is tax-free for the first few years. A gift annuity is a win-win. There’s no down side.”

The annuity remainder will be used to support and preserve The Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD, Archives—recently named in grateful recognition of the couple’s generosity and Dr. Aufses’ devotion to the vast collection of historical material housed within. Archival documents date back to the 1840s and include the Hospital’s first medical case in 1855 as well as materials amassed from the Health System’s seven member hospitals, nursing schools, and medical school. Referencing a compendium of archival materials, Dr. Aufses and Hospital archivist Barbara J. Niss co-wrote two books detailing the illustrious history of the Hospital and the establishment of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

In addition to the gift annuity, the Aufseses have supported the Aufses Family Scholarship, two lectureships, and prizes awarded to surgical residents and students in honor of Dr. Aufses’ late father, Dr. Arthur H. Aufses, Sr., who began his surgical training at Mount Sinai in 1921.

“Our careers overlapped, and we used to work together; it was great fun,” Dr. Aufses said. “He was a wonderful surgeon and a great teacher.”

Dr. Aufses earned his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and was the Chairman of The Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Surgery from 1974 to 1996, at which time he stopped performing surgery at the age of 70 after performing more than 10,000 procedures. He continued teaching until recently. Mrs. Aufses is the retired librarian of Hunter College High School, where she once was a student. Married for 70 years in December, the couple has two children, four grandchildren, and a great-grandchild on the way.

With more than 250 publications and many awards, Dr. Aufses is most proud of receiving the Gold-Headed Cane Award—which he held from 1982 to 1997. Given to Mount Sinai’s most distinguished physician, the cane has been awarded to only ten physicians since 1942. Dr. Aufses is also the recipient of a Jacobi Medallion, one of the highest honors Mount Sinai bestows to those who exemplify our deep commitment to compassionate care and the advancement of medicine.

“I have felt for many years that whatever I achieved was because I worked at Mount Sinai, where I was given the opportunity to succeed,” Dr. Aufses said. “I felt I had to give back. I know I am a little biased, but the medical care at Mount Sinai is superb. You can’t do better anywhere in the world.”

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