In 2012 Gary Matoren was contemplating which charities he was going to include in his estate when he was inspired by a news story about a longtime Mount Sinai Trustee making a transformational gift to the medical school. Gary began thinking about all the ways he has felt connected to the Mount Sinai Health System—and he decided to make his bequests to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, endowing a scholarship in the name of his late daughter, Debbie Lynn Matoren, and also providing three Young Investigator Research Awards.
Gary says “Mount Sinai has the most diversified student body, faculty, and patient population imaginable. As a patient at Mount Sinai, I see firsthand what medical care should be.” Gary retired after a fifty-year career in clinical research, hospital administration, planning in the health care field and the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and government. He began his career as a pharmacist and developed a special interest in drug toxicity as the etiology of disease—a subject around which he sponsored a symposium and wrote numerous papers. He is the editor of the text The Clinical Research Process in the Pharmaceutical Industry and was the founder and editor-in-chief of the journal Clinical Research Practices and Drug Regulatory Affairs.
The endowments funded through his will include the Debbie Lynn Matoren Endowed Scholarship for medical students in financial need. It is named for his daughter, who had the rare heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot and died at the age of nine in 1988. Gary will provide an endowed fund to financially support young investigators through the Debbie Lynn Matoren Young Investigator Research Award in Pediatric Cardiology or Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Gary M. Matoren Young Investigator Research Award in Pharmacology. These will be awarded every two years on an alternating basis.
Gary first felt connected to Mount Sinai 63 years ago when, as a teenager, he worked as a gardener’s helper at Carver Houses, a public housing complex located across the street from The Mount Sinai Hospital where his mother was a secretary. He said his grandmother received wonderful care as a clinic patient at Mount Sinai for 25 years. Through high school and college Gary attended dances at the Mount Sinai School of Nursing. When his brother was diagnosed with and underwent surgery for Crohn’s Disease at the Mayo Clinic in 1963, he was referred for follow-up care at Mount Sinai where he was a patient of Burrill Crohn, MD, the renowned physician who discovered the disease, and specialists on the IBS service. Gary says his brother is 75 years old and in good health.
“Mount Sinai is like a second home for me,” Gary said. “I feel good when I go there.” Gary turned 80 this past March and Debbie Lynn would have been 40 on April 14. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Gary says he celebrates the role the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine have played in honoring the life of his daughter Debbie Lynn Matoren.
When Gary first contacted the medical school about his gifts, he was connected with David Muller, MD, Dean for Medical Education, Marietta and Charles C. Morchand Chair in Medical Education, and Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine.
“I am indebted to Dr. Muller and the development staff for the time they spent in planning my endowments,” Gary said. “And on a personal note I am very grateful to Dr. Muller for arranging access to specialty physicians for various medical care issues that I have had.
“It is in Mount Sinai’s culture to be pleasant and to care. I consider the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai the leading medical school in the country—and eminently worthy of our support.”
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