A lifetime of paying it forward

February 27, 2009

William Shapiro, MD, and Joan Rankin Shapiro, PhD, have collaborated for 20 years to help build a world-renowned brain tumor research center at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. After years of dedicated patient care and research, the Shapiros have established a $1.5 million endowed chair dedicated to neuro-oncology research.

"The endowed chair represents our desire to give back and will allow Barrow to hire the best and the brightest to carry on research in brain tumors," says Bill. "We want Barrow to succeed."

The Shapiro's endowed chair enables nationally recognized physicians and scientists to pursue research and run laboratories, ensuring long-term viability and success of neuro-oncology research. A minimum of $1.5 million was required to create their endowed chair and the investment will be used for expenses such as salaries for post-doctoral candidates, fellows and research assistants; and research equipment.

In their two decades at St. Joseph's, the Shapiros have also remained devoted to giving back by fostering the next generation of scientists at Barrow. Bill established a neuro-oncology fellowship program in which he trains neuro-oncologists. Joan established the scientific enrichment program for students. The program allows high school, college and medical students to work in the Neuro-Oncology Lab at Barrow.

"It's a payback system and it's rewarding to get the students involved," says Joan. "We've both impacted the experimental field and patient community," Bill adds.

In November 2007, the Shapiros received a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Neuro-Oncology, the second such award given by the organization. The award recognized the Shapiros as pioneers in neuro-oncology who have contributed significantly to the understanding and management of brain tumors.

Though they have held many executive level positions at Barrow, Bill is currently serving as the interim chair of Neurology and Joan is the vice president of Clinical Research. They spend countless hours studying brain tumors and finding effective treatments for the disease - a cause that is not easy for either of them to walk away from.

"We're naturally recognized as a team and that is a good thing," says Joan. "We have always been supportive of each other. We offer the medical and scientific community a unique set of experiences."
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St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center

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