“It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to honor my father for his outstanding professional and humanitarian commitment,” stated Susan D. Diskin, Ph.D. about her experience establishing a scholarship fund in memory of her physician father. “My father was an inspirational model who lived his commitment to public service and compassionate patient care. His patients used to say, ‘We start feeling better the minute he walks into the room!’”
The inaugural Herman E. Diskin, MD Memorial Scholarship was awarded in April 2018 as part of the AMA Foundation’s Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. Each year the Memorial Fund will grant at least one $10,000 scholarship to a rising fourth-year medical student with financial need who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to public service and empathic patient care.
Herman Diskin was born of humble means in upstate New York on June 28, 1910, the twelfth of thirteen children of a dairy farmer. As a child, he was impressed by a local physician known for his knowledge and humanistic clinical approach. Later, as a general practitioner in Southern California, Dr. Diskin would similarly inspire other young people to follow in his footsteps, including his daughter, who recalls going with her father on hospital rounds beginning when she was two years old.
“I have the honor of being the next ‘Dr. D.,’ ” she stated. Susan has pursued her own career as a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of patients coping with the emotional and psychological challenges of serious and/or chronic illness.
“My father lived and believed in the importance of respect for each individual regardless of background or ability to pay. He never forgot his modest origins and remained loyal to the values of responsible health care and unselfish devotion to his patients. This noble ethic was very impressive in shaping my own commitment to working to reduce human suffering.”
Susan believed the AMAF’S scholarship program would provide the ideal forum for honoring the legacy of her father and the ideals for which he stood. The only qualifying criterion for the Herman E. Diskin, MD Memorial Scholarship beyond financial need is the earnest commitment to medical studies and humanitarian concerns. Susan believes her father would be overjoyed to know that a scholarship in his name would be able to ease some of the financial hardship for a student since he himself had known financial struggles in achieving his medical degree.
“The whole process of creating the Memorial Fund has been extremely rewarding, and I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the AMA Foundation for working with me and supporting my efforts at every step along the way. It is true that the donor receives the richest reward: to be able to provide support for others and to honor my father’s legacy are the greatest gifts I could imagine,” she said.
Recent research on the philanthropy process echoes this spirit and confirms the “giver’s glow,” which is often described by those who engage in donating and contributing to the benefit and well-being of others.
“I believe that my father would join me in my heartfelt appreciation to the AMA Foundation for allowing a dream to come true!”