A Gift of Gratitude
Date: December 21, 2009
When Lawrence Katz died in 1997, at the age of 86, he left behind a family determined to honor his memory.
Katz, an advertising executive and World War II Army veteran, had relied on The Johns Hopkins Hospital for medical care for years. He sought care here for prostate cancer years before, and his wife also had major surgery at Hopkins, once for a brain tumor and again for a mastectomy. “Hopkins Hospital is the only place they trusted for difficult medical problems,” recalls Katz’ daughter, Debbie Rabin. So it was fitting that when his family wanted to memorialize Katz, they once more turned to Johns Hopkins.
Because Katz suffered from emphysema and pulmonary hypertension, his family decided they wanted the gift to benefit a related program. In 1998, the Lawrence R. Katz Thoracic Internship Award was established in the Department of Surgery. Together with friends, the family committed $20,000 to support a Johns Hopkins medical student in a six-week rotation with the hospital’s thoracic surgery service every summer. Selected students participate in clinical research projects in the lab of Steven Yang, chief of thoracic surgery. Yang, Rabin continues, obviously cares deeply about his students and teaching, and the family enjoys seeing him interact with students.
In the nearly 11 years that have passed since the first student received the internship in 1999, the family has remained active and involved with the program, making sure to meet each student selected. “Each year I have been so impressed by the recipients,” says Rabin. “They always have amazing resumes and their energy and professional interests are extraordinary. Many have traveled extensively and truly want to make a difference in this world. I love seeing that.
“My dad would be extremely touched by mom’s decision to endow a Johns Hopkins internship award in his name,” Rabin says. “I’m sure he would have tears in his eyes for being honored in such a way.”
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