Joel and Brenda Goodnough give to the Ohio State College of Medicine to create more opportunities

donorsJoel Goodnough freely admits he wasn’t always philanthropic. “I’m not a naturally giving person,” he says. “But I found that if I take that first step and start giving, it changes your heart, and your actions follow your heart. You become more interested in the people you’re giving to, and it just makes you look beyond yourself.”

Goodnough, ’75, ’79 MD, and his wife, Brenda, have found numerous ways to impact the lives of others through giving to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. They gave to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), after a family member of Dr. Goodnough’s was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

An additional motivation for their giving emerged after Dr. Goodnough retired from his Ob/Gyn practice in Chicago about 10 years ago. He and Brenda moved to her hometown of Jackson, in the Appalachian region of southern Ohio. There, the Goodnoughs have seen firsthand how challenging it can be for students to pursue a career in medicine.

The Goodnoughs have established a scholarship fund to cover the costs of one student per year from an Ohio Appalachian county to attend The Ohio State University College of Medicine. It’s one way they hope to improve access to care in areas where there are few medical providers.

“These counties are underrepresented in medical school, as most rural areas are, but especially in Appalachia,” Dr. Goodnough says.

They also support the Ohio State College of Medicine’s Medical Careers Pathway Post Baccalaureate Program (MEDPATH), which provides an additional year of instruction to students before medical school. MEDPATH is designed to increase the number of students from underrepresented populations in medicine, including those from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who benefit from the preparatory coursework.

“This is particularly good for students coming from some of these smaller high schools in Appalachia, where the graduating class may be 100 to 200 students and the schools just aren’t as good as you're going to find in some of the Columbus metropolitan areas, so they come out of school already behind the eight ball,” Dr. Goodnough says.

Most recently, the Goodnoughs provided funding for the new home that those students will utilize–the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Center. This reimagined Hamilton Hall will foster the experiences and opportunities necessary for future physicians and health science professionals to grow and become tomorrow’s health care leaders.

“We’re placed on this earth to add value to other people,” Dr. Goodnough says. “It’s always good to surround yourself with good people. It makes you a better person, but adding value to others makes you a better person as well.”

Read more stories of impact in the 2020 College of Medicine Annual Report.