Unique. Trailblazing. A model for other programs. All three descriptions apply to the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation Cardiology Fellows Endowment Fund.
The brainchild of cardiologists Zosimo (JoJo) Adefuin, MD, and Anthony D’Souza, MD, the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation Cardiology Fellows Endowment Fund was established in spring 2015. “It’s the only one of its kind in the U.S.,” said Stuart Zarich, MD, chief of Cardiology,who provides oversight.
At its core, the fund encourages cardiology fellows to participate in research and present papers, attend national conferences and particpate in educational programs, by defraying the cost of these endeavors. At its best, the fund fosters a higher level of education which, in turn, can attract the highest level of candidates to the hospital’s graduate-level program.
But to fully understand the what and the why of the fund requires a look into the past. “I wanted to establish the fund to honor those who taught and mentored me, and to give back to the hospital,” explained Dr. Adefuin, the hospital’s first cardiology fellow, now retired after 34 years in practice. He also taught more than 60 other fellows – among them, Dr. D’Souza. “He was my mentor and a mentor to many others,” recalled Dr. D’Souza, whose practice spans 31 years. “We all hold JoJo in high regard. Without him, the fund might not have been as warmly received.”
That respect drew an immediate response from former cardiology fellows wanting to express their gratitude for the many teachers and mentors, including Dr. Adefuin, who helped launch their careers. A key gift from Arjumand Hashmi, MD, from Paris, TX, started the fund. Others followed, from fellows – cardiology leaders – with practices from Florida to Washington state.
This network of Bridgeport Hospital-trained fellows serves as the endowment’s primary resource. Others include the faculty and what the three cardiologists call friends of the endowment, individuals who benefited from the hospital’s cardiology service and also want to express their gratitude. “It’s a brilliant idea,” said Dr. Zarich.
Brilliant in its potential. “If this succeeds for cardiology, why not other areas like gastrointestinal or internal medicine?” Brilliant in that cardiology alone could have a significant impact on the community, noted Dr. D’Souza. “With the right resources, cardiologists could better focus on the community’s specific needs and enhance the care we provide.”
Brilliant in that it also adapts to the changing times, noted Dr. Adefuin. “Today, hospitals are more dependent on financial help from private sources and their foundations. Our endowment is a start in that direction. But it can potentially make a major difference for cardiology fellows and others for years to come.”