Giving back by pitching in
Date: June 1, 2011
Josh Fidler and his wife, Genine, have a long history of contributing their time and talents to Baltimore community organizations. Genine, for example, is the past chair of The Associated: Baltimore Jewish Community Federation. Josh has served as president of the board of the Park School and Capital Camps and Retreat Center, and he’s a member of the President’s Leadership Council at Brown University, where he and Genine met.
But it wasn’t until a health scare six years ago that Fidler became involved at Johns Hopkins. “When people ask me how I got here,” he says, “I tell them that you have to have a brain tumor first.”
In a routine appointment with his primary care physician at Johns Hopkins, John Aucott, Fidler shared that he hadn’t been sleeping well. From that one symptom, Aucott pursued aggressive testing, quickly discovering that Fidler had a pituitary adenoma. Soon afterward, Fidler had his first appointment with neurosurgery department chairman Henry Brem.
Fidler credits Brem’s calm demeanor and expert surgical skills in getting him through a potentially devastating diagnosis.
“I made a complete recovery,” he says, “and my personal experience made me much more interested in finding out what I could do to help the department.”
A year later, Fidler joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine board, and the following year, he joined the Neurosurgery Advisory Board, a group that counsels the department about various leadership initiatives and fundraising activities. He recently became the advisory board’s chair.
“It’s a perfect fit for Josh’s talents,” says Brem. Board members contribute their own unique expertise, he explains, often combining personal experiences with Johns Hopkins and their life and career experiences. Fidler, for example, not only had a unique take on Johns Hopkins from being a patient and a member of the Johns Hopkins Medicine board, he also has decades of business experience as a venture capitalist specializing in biotechnology and real estate.
Fidler and his colleagues on the advisory board tap their wide-ranging insights to help carry out one of the critical missions of the board: solving the Department of Neurosurgery’s challenges and helping them maintain their leadership status among other neurosurgery departments across the country.
Fidler and the 13 other board members have tackled issues such as how to retain the department’s top talent, how to strategically position the department on the web, and how to ease patients’ entry here once they decide to come for treatment. Board members also play a pivotal role in fundraising, acting as donors themselves and delving into ways they can help bring in additional funds to improve research, teaching and patient care—Johns Hopkins’ long-standing three-part mission.
It’s a role that Fidler plans to fulfill for years to come. “I’m just a businessman,” he says, “and I’m ultimately helping to change the direction Johns Hopkins takes in neurosurgery and critical care. That’s pretty gratifying for someone who isn’t a doctor.”
To make a gift to the Department of Neurology, please call 410-516-6250.
To make a gift to the Department of Neurosurgery, please call 410-516-6234.