Many physicians mesh their careers and community service, but none seem to enjoy that combination more than William Burks, MD. A retired surgeon, Dr. Burks served as a member of the Medical Staff of Princeton HealthCare System for more than 32 years as well as a member of the Princeton HealthCare System Board of Directors for 12 years. Additionally, Dr. Burks was the Chairman of the Princeton Area Community Foundation for nine years and continues to serve on its Board of Trustees. With his Princeton University ‘55 colleagues, he helped establish Princeton Project 55, an organization promoting civic engagement and community service.
“Living in a town like Princeton, I had so many opportunities to do things outside of the medical environment that were very special,” said Dr. Burks. “I participated where I was most interested—my children’s schools, the Community Foundation and Princeton Project 55. I just enjoy doing it.”
In a conversation over breakfast one summer morning, Dr. Burks talked about how the medical imperatives of central New Jersey have grown and how the new hospital will benefit the community he so loves.
How has the hospital changed over the years?
It has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. The staff and patient populations continue to grow fairly rapidly. There has been a huge increase in outpatient services at the hospital. More and more patients come from east of Route One. Technology has changed dramatically and with it the ability to enhance medical care—and at the same time, driving up the cost of that care.
What opportunities will the new hospital provide?
It will greatly enhance the ability to attract the very best physicians, those who will recognize the ability to practice medicine at the very highest level. Having the single patient room set-up will help combat infections, an increasingly serious problem today. The modern emergency room and outpatient facilities will greatly enhance efficiency and quality of care. We clearly needed more space—for operating rooms that can house more sophisticated equipment, radiological suites, lab equipment and better communication through proximity and design. The response to the needs of the patient population will be wonderful.
Why did you become a doctor/donor to the Design for Healing Campaign?
It’s hard to ask others for support when you are not giving support yourself. My wife, Judy, and I firmly believe that giving to the hospital is an obligation, both with respect to annual giving and the capital campaign. We were not only a part of the hospital community for many years but made our living there and are indebted to it. We chose to support the Family Respite in the Llura and Gordon Gund Center for Intensive and Critical Care because families of patients in critical condition are under considerable stress, and we want them to know that physicians care about their welfare.
Like Dr. Burks, many other physicians are active contributors to the new hospital. An ad campaign fashioned on the idea of “Doctor. Donor. Believer” highlights a few of these generous individuals. View all of the campaign ads.
Article as seen in Foundation News Fall 2010.