University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD, along with University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, and University of Maryland School of Nursing (SON) Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, announced today that an alumni couple, Richard Sherman, MD, SOM '72, and Jane Sherman, PhD, SON '85, have made a $1.5 million gift to the University to establish a new health care innovation center to be located in the Health Sciences and Human Services Library.
The gift, which will create the new Richard and Jane Sherman Center for Health Care Innovation at the library, is dedicated to encouraging an environment where doctors, medical students, nurses, and other health care professionals can harness their intellects and probe their thinking “beyond the box.”
“It will be a place in which motivated health care thinkers and doers, individuals and teams of learners and mentors with diverse capabilities will find sources of intellectual property information, as well as diverse tools useful in promoting innovation,” said Richard Sherman, who retired from private practice in internal medicine and cardiology in 2015.
He added the center will centralize software with sources of academic, corporate, and scientific material with potential to enable people to efficiently focus ideas toward the improvement of patient-physician focused health care.
“The Shermans understand better than most how critically important it is that we nurture the relationship between provider and patient, that we enable their close communication and collaboration, so that everyone on the provider team understands the outcomes they’re striving for and how to best achieve them,” Perman said. “I’m so grateful that the Shermans want to harness innovation as a way to strengthen this special relationship and have underwritten our efforts to do just that.”
“The remarkable and generous gift by Richard and Jane Sherman is a powerful gesture signaling both their compassion and their genuine commitment to stimulate innovative thinking here at UMB and well beyond,” added Thomas J. Sullivan, CFRE, MS, vice president and chief philanthropy officer of UMB’s Office of Philanthropy. “Their extraordinary charitable investment will create a lasting impact that will alter the lives of countless patients in the years to come.”
At the SOM, Richard Sherman was mentored by the esteemed Theodore Woodward, MD ’38, then chair of the SOM Department of Medicine. In part, Richard Sherman said, it was the impact of mentors such as Woodward that inspired the creation of the center.
“I was mentored by outstanding people at the medical school who taught me the real meaning of innovation, people who helped me to think differently and beyond the norm,” Richard Sherman said. “When you are trained properly in the beginning, it stays with you for life.”
Reece, who is also the vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, said: “This is a tremendous gift from Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman that strongly supports our goal to focus on innovations that enable current and future health care professionals to provide the highest level of quality in health care delivery. We are all proud to have an alumni couple like the Shermans who are so dedicated to our institution and to making an impact.”
Jane Sherman, who practices holistic nursing, also referenced her SON education as playing a key role in supporting her strong convictions about the emphasis of providing nursing care that is both nursing research- and theory-based. She was one of four graduates in the first class of the school’s PhD program.
“Dr. Perman has been a strong advocate for interdisciplinary learning and service at the University of Maryland, Baltimore,” Jane Sherman said. “In support of Dr. Perman’s vision, the center will unite UMB’s professional schools and will be available to anyone on campus who wishes to take advantage of this outstanding resource.”
“We are excited about the enormous opportunities created by this generous gift from Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman,” added Kirschling, University director of interprofessional education. “Their gift will build upon the University’s ongoing work in interdisciplinary and team-based health care delivery and research. It will provide significant new resources and tools to spur creative thinking and innovation. We are deeply grateful to the Shermans for their commitment to creating an environment where new ideas will thrive.”
Together, the couple saw a need for changes in a health care system that has been cluttered by a check-the-box mentality that employs people who actually get between doctor and patient. Collaborative interaction and communication are lost, Richard Sherman said, by needless forms that often repeatedly ask the same questions of a patient. He had cancer as a 27-year-old intern and developed a perspective from both the doctor and the patient point of view.
Thinking “beyond the norm” inspired Richard Sherman’s involvement in the creation of ICU Medical Inc., a San Clemente, Calif., company that develops life-saving and life-enhancing medical devices. The company’s founder, George Lopez, MD, invented its first product, the ClickLock, following the death of a patient whose IV accidentally disconnected. Richard Sherman remains a member of ICU’s board of directors.
Overall, Richard Sherman believes that today’s health care is burdened by non-professional policymakers driven by cash flow to support a massive bureaucracy. He adds that unnecessary programs need to be eliminated while others should be merged to promote economy and improved quality of care.
Both Richard and Jane Sherman point out the need for students to examine whether they really have the “gut ethic” it takes to distinguish the difference between individualized quality care and care that is just generic. It is Richard Sherman’s hope that the new center will support students who have creative ideas that need to be nurtured, so that these ideas are not lost.