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Albany Med Today

Dr. Falk: A Lifetime of Giving Back


David Falk, MD, ’43, who received financial aid from Albany Medical College when he desperately needed it to continue his studies, has repaid this assistance many times over in ways that have helped generations of medical students finance their education.

And he invites more alumni to join his efforts.

“I encourage others to join me in guaranteeing students receive a superior medical education,” said Dr. Falk, who this year received the College’s Exemplary Alumnus Award for the second time.

In all, Dr. Falk has given more than $6.5 million to Albany Medical College in the form of endowed chairs, scholarships and other financing. In 2001, he developed the most successful fundraising initiative in the College’s history with the Falk Challenge, where he matched every donation from alumni by half.

Most recently, in 2012, he established two endowed funds with a gift of $2.5 million to recognize Albany Med’s outstanding leadership: the James J. and Rose A. Barba Endowed Education Fund, which supports staff development to strengthen the Medical Center, and the Vincent P. Verdile, MD, ’84, Endowed Chair for Emergency Medicine, named after the dean of the Medical College, which allows the recipient to engage in both academic and clinical initiatives.

“Dr. Falk’s vision and generosity stand as a powerful testament to the success our Lifeline Campaign has already achieved as others follow his example,” Dr. Verdile said. “With strong support from alumni and faculty, this campaign will keep Albany Medical College in the vanguard of medical education.”

“Dr. Falk’s support has helped develop some of our top medical minds,” said Christopher King, MD, the first Vincent P. Verdile Chair of Emergency Medicine. “Those inquisitive minds of our medical students combine with the expertise of our faculty physicians to create more ideas for improving patient care.”

Dr. Falk, a urologist who practiced for many years in California, now lives in Palm Springs, CA. He and his wife, Elynor, who died in 1996, first established the Harold C. Wiggers Endowed Scholarship fund in 1975; scholarship recipients include Dr. Verdile.
“Dr. Falk’s generosity has been of great benefit to us,” said Barry Kogan, MD, the Falk Endowed Chair of Urology at Albany Medical College. “In particular, it has enabled students to do research in urology, write up findings and attend regional and national urology meetings. Many will make urology their career choice, but even for those who don’t, the experience has been invaluable.”

When Dr. Falk this year was given the Albany Medical College Alumni Association’s Exemplary Award which honors an alumnus who has demonstrated significant philanthropic support, students past and present joined Albany Med President Jim Barba and Dr. Verdile in creating a heartfelt video tribute thanking the longtime benefactor.