By Kathy W. Isdale
Partners in life since 1959, George Ferry, M.D., and Joan Ferry, Ph.D., are also partners in their philanthropic giving decisions, and they have been devoted supporters of both Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) for more than 35 years.
The Doctors Ferry met as students at Stanford University and married just before George entered medical school at BCM, where he also completed his pediatric internship and residency. After a gastroenterology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, George returned to Houston as Texas Children's first trained pediatric gastroenterologist. Now director of Texas Children's Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center and chief of the IBD clinic, he has helped lead the hospital to renown as one of the world's top institutions for care and research in children's gastroenterology and nutrition.
After the Ferrys' three daughters were grown, Joan earned a doctorate in history from Rice University, focusing on early medieval Italy. With George at the wheel, the two have driven all over southern Italy and Sicily in pursuit of Joan's research.
Both are passionate about Texas Children's and BCM. "The hospital has helped so many children, but more than that, it has helped their families," Joan says. "It has always given me real joy to hear George talk about his patients."
"My medical education at Baylor was just fantastic," George adds. "And almost all my work has been at Texas Children's. I can't imagine any other place where I could have done what I've had the opportunities to do here. Now, I preach to our fellows: we are given a huge privilege to be physicians and we've got to give back—it's an important tradition in medicine."
The couple also support their church, the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Foundation and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, which George helped establish in Houston in the 1970s.
Reflecting on how much a part of their lives the hospital and their colleagues have been over the years, Joan puts it simply: "Texas Children's is just very dear to our hearts."