University of Arizona alumnus and Professor Emeritus George W. Drach, MD, has donated more than $500,000 to establish a new endowment in the College of Medicine – Tucson Department of Urology.
The transformative gift, in combination with gifts from other donors, will establish The George W. Drach, MD, Endowed Chair for Urology. Funds from the endowment will support research on kidney cancer and investigations on why the disease occurs at an earlier age in Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.
Benjamin Lee, MD, interim chair of the Department of Urology, says, “Dr. Drach was the founding chief of the division of urology 50 years ago. As we have grown and evolved into a department over the years, he has been tremendously supportive in every way possible.”
Dr. Drach earned a bachelor’s degree from UArizona in 1957, followed by a medical degree from Case Western Reserve University. He went on to complete surgical training at the University Hospitals in Cleveland and later completed a urology residency and fellowship at Wake Forest University.
Dr. Drach joined the College of Medicine – Tucson as faculty in 1970. He went on to build the Division of Urology and eventually became known as the “Father of American Lithotripsy” for his research on a revolutionary device that pulverizes kidney stones with sound waves, eliminating the need for surgical incisions.
Despite his retirement in 1996 as a Professor Emeritus, Dr. Drach remains engaged and supportive of the College of Medicine – Tucson.
“As a lifelong Wildcat, and a strong supporter of urologic education, it was my desire to ensure perpetuation of a superb urologic department after my departure,” Dr. Drach says. “Establishment of an endowed chair contributes to departmental excellence by allowing the chair to develop necessary new education and research programs. Dr. Lee will now have the means to improve the Department of Urology’s training and research programs in the future, and he is well on the way to doing so.”
Dr. Lee says, “Dr. Drach has a giving spirit, is optimistic and understands the strong foundation which needs to be built in order to grow and evolve the Department of Urology.”
Dr. Lee was formally instated as The George W. Drach, MD, Endowed Chair for Urology at a College of Medicine – Tucson Investiture Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 19, where he received an honorary medallion and pin.
“Endowed chairs are unique and special gifts; they stand for faculty distinction and recognition,” says Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson. “Endowments live in perpetuity, honoring the individual for whom the chair is named as well as reflecting the generosity and vision of the donor."
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