By Devin Lynn
(December 2017) The Presidential Scholarship Initiative transforms the lives of
students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and offers
benefactors a way to make a long-lasting gift that benefits students,
patients and communities.
“When I heard about the Presidential
Scholarship, I knew this is what we were supposed to do. To give back,”
said Jo Battock, who contributed with her husband Dennis Battock, MD
’64. “This opportunity hit us hard, in a good way. There is such a great
need and so many deserving people that just can’t afford to go to
medical school. We are proud that we can help in some way.”
Presidential Scholarship Initiative was formed after CU President Bruce
Benson provided an initial investment of more than $10 million over
five years help the School of Medicine recruit students from diverse
Since the program was created in 2010, the
Presidential Scholarship Initiative has had a significant impact,
leading to the creation of 40 new named scholarships, cutting the debt
load for scholarship awardees and boosting the total number of medical
students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine enrolled at CU.
the past year, more than 5,000 benefactors gave to the University of
Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and nearly $1.5 million was raised from
donor contributions to the Presidential Scholarship Initiative for
scholarships in the School of Medicine. To learn how you can support the
next generation of physicians, visit giving.cu.edu.
An Everyday Hero
Atkinson, MD ’77, was a primary care doctor who owned a medical
practice in Centennial, Colo. His friends and family say he was a
regular guy, uninterested in accolades or
fame. Yet, for all his modesty, he had an outsize impact on those around him.
former colleague, Linda Williams ’84, said: “Here’s Ken Atkinson
sitting in a little private office on Holly between County Line and Dry
Creek, going there day after day for over 30 years. Just changing lives,
one at a time.”
In April 2016, Atkinson rushed to render medical
aid to a victim of a domestic dispute in his neighborhood. It was
his natural instinct to help a person in need. As he attempted to
provide care, he was shot and killed.
His wife, Jeanne, said: “He
went out of our house to the neighbor that day to be the best Ken
Atkinson he could be. He was given the blessing of being a physician,
and as part of that, it called him to go out of the house.”
his death, letters from patients began pouring in. Each one detailed
the impact Atkinson had on their lives. Jeanne remembered one patient in
particular. “I got cookies and flowers delivered to my door on Easter,
and there was this letter with it,” she said. “I didn’t know the person.
The letter said, ‘I was a patient of Dr. Atkinson, and I’ve been sober
for five years — he saved my life. Every year since then, I’ve taken him
cookies on the anniversary of my sobriety, and I wanted to do the same
After a career giving to his community, Atkinson’s family, friends, patients and neighbors sought a way to commemorate him.
and another colleague, Ellen Burkett, MD, joined with Jeanne Atkinson,
and others to establish the Kenneth R. Atkinson, MD, Endowed Memorial
Scholarship. More than 100 benefactors gave to the fund to support
future generations of students.
“This scholarship makes becoming a
primary care physician financially feasible,” said Burkett. “Hopefully
students will now be able to follow in Ken’s footsteps — epitomizing
how incredibly impactful a primary care physician can be.”
This scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2017 to Sofiya Diurba, a first-year medical student.
Sofiya’s family moved to Colorado from Ukraine
when she was five years old. While her original goal was to study
veterinary medicine, she ultimately pursued a career in medicine.
chose the CU School of Medicine because of its Rural Track Program, a
curriculum dedicated to fostering rural primary care physicians. “They
get to do all kinds of procedures throughout their careers,” she said.
“As a primary care physician, you have to be comfortable in a number of
situations to help your patients that might not be able to get care
Alumnus Legacy Gift
Dennis Battock, MD ’64, was inspired to become a physician by his father, Benjamin Battock, MD ’29.
Battock entered medical school and quickly found he was
at home in clinical settings. “I loved relating to patients and being
in the clinic. It was so rewarding,” he said.
residency in Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Battock said “I think that on a subconscious level, I chose to become a cardiologist, in part
because of my father’s illness." Benjamin, an anesthesiologist, died prematurely at age 50 of a heart attack when Dennis was 16 years old.
After completing graduate training in clinical pharmacology and cardiology, Dr. Battock joined the U.S. Army, serving at Madigan General Hospital in Tacoma, WA. He then returned to Denver, joining the cardiology faculty at the University of Colorado as a
clinical associate professor of medicine. He subsequently entered private practice and founded Aurora Denver Cardiology Associates.
Now retired, Battock remains connected to CU through the School of Medicine’s Alumni Association.
on the board opened my eyes to the many needs of the university and, in
particular, the medical students.” He said, “In my time, you could work
enough over the summers to cover the costs. It was pay as you go. I
didn’t have any debt when I graduated. That’s just not possible now.”
the need, he and his wife, Jo, created the Dr. Dennis and Jo Battock
Scholarship Endowment Fund in memory of Dennis’ father.
of the Battock Presidential Scholarship is first-year student Jahmel
Jordon, a first-generation American whose mother emigrated from Jamaica.
worked in hospice where he developed an interest in becoming a doctor.
“There was one patient in particular who had a zest for life, despite
all the odds he faced. I’ll never forget that patient.”
Battock Presidential Scholarship lifts some of the financial burden from
Jahmel. “I have always dreamed of becoming a physician and now, through
this scholarship, I am poised to excel at CU Anschutz.”
Winter, MD ’66, met her husband William at the CU School of Medicine,
which she says offered her a high-quality medical education and set her
on track for a fulfilling career. For nearly 10 years, the Winters
moved around the country before settling in Denver.
was an anesthesiologist. She worked in academic medicine at the
University of Kentucky, and entered private practice when she returned
to Denver. “I have had a very satisfying career, and I always enjoyed
working with patients. Toward the end of my career, I worked with
laboring mothers, which was very rewarding,” she said.
her husband, who died in 1998, and his career in orthopedic surgery, she
established the Winter Presidential Scholarship.
“A scholarship is an investment. It is an investment in a student’s career and the people they treat,” she said. “This scholarship is so valuable to me and my family and a fitting way to honor my husband.”
Winter Presidential Scholarship was awarded to first-year student Sara
Graves, who said she would not be able to attend medical school without
“I almost withdrew,” she said. “I got a call about
the scholarship on a Thursday and the deadline for submitting paperwork
to hold my spot in the class was Monday. This scholarship was the
deciding factor in me going to medical school.”
Sara moved to
Colorado from the San Francisco area. She hopes to specialize in family
medicine so she can work with a wide range of patients and focus some
of her time on health-care policy. “I want to be involved in advocating
for my patients, while also being able to care for them throughout the