By Kathy W. Isdale
It was with a strong sense of joining a warm and close-knit medical family that Dr. Joan E. Shook and Dr. Jeffrey R. Starke each accepted residencies, fellowships, faculty positions at Baylor College of Medicine and posts at Texas Children's Hospital in the early 1980s.
As part of that family ever since, they met, married, raised a family of their own and began noteworthy careers that have allowed them to give back professionally and financially to both Texas Children's and their community.
Each of these unassuming doctors has made significant contributions to children's health, but both grew up in families of modest means who nonetheless gave generously of what they had. "In our giving, we tend to follow our hearts and where we are in our lives," says Dr. Shook. "But we also like to contribute to help children of limited means-so there will be at least one moment in time when they can have something new and feel that someone cares about them."
In addition to his work at Baylor, Texas Children's and Ben Taub General Hospital, Dr. Starke is involved in advocacy and public policy regarding children and children's health. He advises and serves on boards of several leading children's research and advocacy organizations, including Children at Risk, which he helped found over 20 years ago. "What we do in the hospital is very important," he says, "but what we do outside the hospital is equally important in terms of shaping children's lives and health."
Dr. Shook adds, "We need to remember the myriad of ways that organizations need involvement and support. If you feel passionately about something, a financial gift may be the right thing to do."