Philanthropy: Well Integrated in Health
John and Katherine Pan Turn a Long-Standing Association With GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences into a Major Commitment
By Thomas Kohout
With a connection to the GW medical community spanning more than 30 years, it’s safe to say that John and Katherine Pan, and their family, are deeply entwined in the George Washington University community. John graduated from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) in 1970, and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1974; and Katherine earned her master’s degree in Economics at GW in 1976. Their son Eric and his wife, Krista, are also part of GW; as Eric earned his M.D. at SMHS in 2009, and now he’s in his second year of residency at GW; and Krista is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Education.
For many years following the completion of his residency at GW, John ran a private practice as an OB/GYN. In 1995, he brought his practice to the GW Medical Faculty Associates and taught GW medical students the important skills needed to be a successful gynecologist.
However, in 1998, John took a leap of faith and refocused his career on Integrative Medicine, at a time when the discipline was hardly an accepted practice. With support from SMHS, he launched The Center for Integrative Medicine.
The principles of Integrative Health are based on establishing a healing environment where complementary and alternative therapies partner with conventional medical practice to promote healing and wellness. The idea is to develop a care plan tailored to fit each patient’s needs, honor the personal healing process, and treat the patient as a whole, addressing the root cause of disease as well as the symptoms. John’s Center has been a part of the research and education at SMHS since it was established, and Integrative Medicine has been a popular discipline available through SMHS’s track program offered by the Office of Student Opportunities. The track program enables students to move beyond the core curriculum to emphasize one of nine available elective paths.
“My goal is not to have a specific department or some stand-alone entity called Integrative Health,” explains John. “I think the principle of the practice is that it’s integrated through the health education system.” The idea, adds John, would be to incorporate aspects of Integrative Health across multiple disciplines in Medicine and Health Sciences.
In April, he accepted an invitation to become a member of the Dean’s Council for SMHS, a key advisory and leadership body for the school. John is working with SMHS to create an academic home for Integrative Health, as it is currently based in the Center for Integrative Medicine, which is an independent private practice located in Foggy Bottom.
This year, John and Katherine generously made a half-million dollar bequest to SMHS, becoming even more deeply enmeshed in the fabric of GW. They have also become members of the University’s Heritage Society, which is a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff who have supported the institution through significant planned giving contributions.
The Pans say the gift is an expression of appreciation toward an institution that has been such a significant part of both their professional and personal lives.
“Our social circles and many of our friends have been from GW because of John’s practice here,” explains Katherine. “We’ve been a part of GW throughout our professional lives.”
While the Pans didn’t specify a goal for their gift, they do hope it will support the principles behind Integrative Health.
To learn more about the Integrative Medicine Track Program at GW SMHS, visit: www.gwumc.edu/trackprogram.