The Value of Board Service

Philanthropist George Doetsch III steps down as University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Board Chair to put on a new board hat for the UM School of Medicine.

Chip DoetschServing on a University of Maryland medical board energizes George “Chip” Doetsch III and the outcomes provide immeasurable dividends for the community for years to come. “You function as a team— not an individual donor or philanthropist—because of the magnitude of some of these projects,” Chip said. “For me, that brings energy to the equation.”

Pictured L to R: Dr. Bert O’Malley, Dr. Steven Czinn, Chip Doestch, Becky Smith (SECU) and Dr. Getachew Teshome at the Pediatric Emergency Department renovation groundbreaking event in August 2022.

Health care is a community cornerstone, he continued. “It brings stability. When you contribute your time and resources, you never know how it’s going to impact the community or the world. You never know who might benefit. It could be somebody right next to you. It could be somebody you’ve never meet, but somebody is going to benefit from your engagement. Serving on the board allows you to help people get what they need.”

For example, the wife of an employee had complications during her third pregnancy and delivered prematurely, Chip shared. “That was about nine months after we finished up the NICU renovation. This is a guy who worked 10 feet from me every day for 13 years.”

For more than 10 years, Chip has advocated and fundraised for the University of Maryland Medical Center’s littlest patients. “I had young children when I joined the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Board of Visitors,” he shared. “It was a place to serve that fit that time in my life personally and the needs of the community, but it’s time for a change and fresh leadership.” In March, Chip’s decade-long tenure as chair came to an end as he transitioned that same passion and commitment to the UM School of Medicine Board of Visitors.

Chip has been instrumental in the recruitment of new board members and with philanthropic efforts that have expanded many of our programs, said Steven Czinn, MD, Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor and Chair and director of UMCH. “I have known Chip since I came to the University of Maryland in 2006, when he was a member of the Children’s Hospital Board. He has always been a tireless advocate for our organization and the children of Baltimore and throughout the state, and when he assumed the role of chair, his vision for the Children’s Hospital grew to new heights.”

As UMCH Board chair, Chip was instrumental in advancing transformative initiatives. His proudest accomplishments under his tenure include the campaign to renovate and expand the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to meet the rising need for specialty care and innovative research; the upcoming state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac catheterization lab renovation; and Maryland’s first adolescent behavioral pediatric ER unit architecturally and clinically designed to deliver traumainformed care for children 5 to 17 years old. Traumainformed care is a framework for treating patients who have endured abuse, neglect, violence, school issues, or other traumatic events.

“I am grateful for the time that Chip spent at the helm and am looking forward to working more closely with Stephen Lazinsky, who has taken over as chair,” Dr. Czinn continued. “I am excited to see where we can go under his leadership.” Stephen Lazinsky, chair and past-president of Comeq, Inc., “has served with enthusiasm and energy and has gone above and beyond to make our patients feel special, arranging visits from local mascots, handing out Ravens and Orioles gear on the units, and donating winter pajamas and gifts around the holidays,” he added.

Chip is excited to see the University of Maryland Medical System from the UMSOM board’s perspective.

“Serving on a board gives you a clear perspective of an organization and its needs. You learn firsthand when a doctor says, ‘If I had the resources, here’s what I could do.’”

And it is rewarding to hear “‘ Here’s the proficiency that we’ve been developing and getting ready to come to market,’ or ‘Here’s the clinical process that’s been innovated here that has national or international applicability,’” Chip continued. “It’s pretty interesting how much innovation and international-scale research is being done. The folks at UMMS change lives.”

The Doetsches’ philanthropic commitment and service to UMMC began more than 30 years ago, when Chip’s father, George Doetsch, Jr., joined the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Board of Visitors. “Any good business recognizes the responsibility to give back,” Chip said. “Over the last 30 years, philanthropically, our focus has been on health care and education. Every year we allocate a piece of our operational budget to annual needs and a fund oriented toward capital campaigns or long-term larger gifts. We strive be a good corporate citizen and use the fruits of our effort to feed back into the community to make it stronger. There better be a bigger reason than making money to run a business.”

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