Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso will establish an endowed professorship in the Department of Psychiatry thanks to a generous $500,000 gift from the J. Edward and Helen M.C. Stern Foundation. TTUHSC El Paso will match the gift for a total fund of $1 million.
The endowed professorship in the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Psychiatry will help improve and grow mental health resources available to the community. The gift will also assist with the recruitment of faculty researchers, residents and students.
“What we’ve done here is just beyond anything I ever thought of since I’ve been on the board,” said Stern Foundation Chairwoman Barbara Wheeler during a Jan. 28 event on campus to announce the creation of the endowed professorship.
“We have tried over the years to get involved with mental health issues and medical issues,” Wheeler said. “(The endowment) is something that will grow and benefit the community.”
“As a board, we are honored to carry out Dr. J. Edward Stern’s wishes,” said Ginger Francis, a Stern Foundation board member. “We look forward to the TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine moving forward in the development of a robust psychiatry program which will, in turn, improve the support of those in need in our community.”
The Stern Foundation was established in 1993 by the late J. Edward Stern, M.D., and his wife, Helen M.C. Stern, Ph.D., who devoted their lives to improving health care for the El Paso community.
Dr. J. Edward Stern, who earned his medical degree from Columbia University in New York City, was one of the founding practitioners at El Paso’s Providence Memorial Hospital, where, starting in 1952, he would practice for the next 40 years. A board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. J. Edward Stern was one of a group of physicians who lobbied for the first mental hospital in El Paso and helped to establish the psychiatric ward at Providence. He received many awards and honors in his lifetime, and pioneered the early establishment, evolution and practice of neurology, psychiatry and internal medicine in El Paso.
Dr. J. Edward Stern’s wife, Dr. Helen M.C. Stern, also led a long and rewarding career as a clinical psychologist. She was considered a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. She worked as a clinical psychologist with the United States Army and Veteran’s Administration. Later, Dr. Helen M.C. Stern established a thriving clinical practice in El Paso.
The Sterns spent many years practicing medicine in El Paso, establishing themselves as leaders who helped make expert mental health care more accessible to residents of the Paso del Norte region. Their legacy continues to touch lives today through the J. Edward and Helen M.C. Stern Foundation and its committed board members.