Lifelong career with the School of Medicine inspires significant philanthropy

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There are many reasons Wayne State University faculty, alumni and staff feel compelled to give back to the university. For Jill (Grodecki) Moore, it was her impactful career at the School of Medicine.

Jill, now a fulfilled retiree, and her alumnus husband Roy Moore, B.A. '75, J.D. '79, have established two funds within the School of Medicine that will support students during their medical education journey.

Jill's interest in medicine was sparked at Roseville High School, when she learned how to draw blood for her first job at Cottage Hospital, now part of Henry Ford Health. By graduation, Jill knew that she wanted to focus on a career in health care. Influenced by her mother's experience at Wayne State, she enrolled at the university. Jill transferred to Henry Ford Community College to narrow her career options, and after finding a combined bachelor's and master's program in Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, she graduated with both degrees in only five years.

Jill returned to Michigan soon after and found a position as a nurse practitioner at Detroit Medical Center Harper University Hospital, a role that was in partnership with the School of Medicine. "It was great because I got to work with the school's faculty, and I really enjoyed working with the Hematology and Oncology Department since that was my area of focus," Jill said.

Before she knew it, Jill had worked 15 years at Harper University Hospital, which eventually led her to secure an administrative position in the WSU School of Medicine's Department of Internal Medicine. She said that when she took on the role she thought it would be a temporary position. "I didn't think I was going to be at the university very long, and I never really intended to stay, but then it somehow turned into 18 years almost entirely spent in the Department of Internal Medicine," Jill said.

Although Jill's alma mater is UCSF, her husband Roy jokes that both he and Jill's mother Patricia have her covered as Wayne State alumni. He appreciated his time at WSU, which led to a successful career in law.

"I know the impact an education can have and the difference it can make," Roy said.

Jill's mother, Patricia Grodecki, completed three degrees at Wayne State: a bachelor's and master's degree in English, and another master's degree in Library Science.

There is an obvious and immense Warrior and Tartar pride within the Grodecki-Moore household.

That pride extends philanthropically, as Jill and Roy decided to give back to the university that holds many treasured memories for them both. "We believe in WSU, and I think the School of Medicine is very special. It's a comforting place to Roy and me, and we wanted to be a part of its future," Jill said.

The Moores established two funds that will directly assist students during their education at the School of Medicine. The first is the Grodecki-Moore Endowed Scholarship, which provides funds to a medical student enrolled in the Three-Year M.D. Program or a fourth-year medical student committed to matching into the Internal Medicine residency program.

"Internal Medicine is near and dear to my heart because they've taken care of my and Roy's family. At the end of the day, the department was my home for many years. Roy and I were very fortunate that school didn't cost as much back then, but I see the struggle students have today with paying for education. It's tough, so it makes sense for us to do this," Jill said.

The second fund is the Grodecki-Moore Educational Support Fund in the Department of Surgery, which is designated to support plastic surgery fellows and residents. The fund provides resources to attend and present at conferences among other opportunities that further research and skills related to reconstructive surgery. The gift was established to recognize Guillermina Nava, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery and program director of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency Program.

"I chose to give to surgery not only because my mother had open-heart surgery, but I'm also a breast cancer survivor and had surgery last year. I wanted to give back to Dr. Nava's residency program because she's very engaging. I like the way she educates her residents and fellows, but most importantly, she teaches them how to listen, and that's huge when you're on the other side," Jill said.

The Moores have graciously provided the School of Medicine funding that will benefit students for many years to come. "We don't have any children, so we don't have to worry about that. Taking care of the scholarships we are able to offer to students and paying it forward feels really good," Roy said.

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