Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog.
I composed this original article based on an interview with the award recipient.
Although he was surprised to receive this recognition, Dr. Durbin was pleased in that it gave some recognition and validation to the work he has tried to accomplish through the establishment of a memorial fund in honor of his late wife, Joanne Decker, MD.
The couple met during their pediatrics residencies at CHOP and later again worked together in CHOP’s Division of Emergency Medicine for several years. During the final days of Dr. Decker’s life, they planned to establish a fund for a worthy cause in her memory that would support young physicians, principally women, navigating the work-life integration pathway early in their careers.
“As is very common for many young families in academic medicine like ours, we had spent a lot of effort thinking about various ways we were going to launch our careers and launch our family at the same time,” Dr. Durbin said. “Joanne was very intentional about it. At one time she made the decision to work part-time because she wanted to spend more time raising our kids. She received a lot of mentoring from senior colleagues, mostly other women, as she was making those decisions along the way. When she became a more established physician, she served that mentoring role for younger women in our division trying to manage that work-life integration.”
The Joanne Decker Memorial Fund was initially established in 2007 with gifts from many friends and family members. A few years later, the Department of Pediatrics at CHOP made a significant contribution to endow the fund, ensuring the longevity of its programs.