DR. BERNARD SCHAPIRO: Giving Back Is a Path to Happiness
Dr. Bernard Schapiro and his wife Jane Schapiro
Dr. Bernard (Bernie) Schapiro is giving back to NYU Langone Health’s School of Medicine through his will because he is grateful for the exceptional education he received and his experience at Bellevue Hospital that carried him through a long career as a family physician. As Bernie explains, “What you do in life, if you want to achieve happiness, enduring happiness, you need to give back.”
After earning degrees in chemistry and philosophy, Bernie graduated with his M.D. in 1956. His experience at Bellevue shaped his early career. "I learned so much by being exposed to the diverse patients at the hospital. People of all walks of life were treated at Bellevue. Seaman would come ashore with infectious diseases from all over the world. I was able to see and treat illnesses and conditions that would take a lifetime to encounter anywhere else.”
Bernie also learned a valuable lesson in treating patients with respect. “Our class walked into a patient’s room with Dr. Samuel Standard, clinical professor of surgery,” Bernie recalls. “The student assigned to present the case immediately turned his back on the patient and started talking. Dr. Standard held up a hand, ‘Stop. That is not how you begin.’ He walked over, shook the patient’s hand, and said, ‘Hello, I am Dr. Samuel Standard, and these are medical students. With your permission, we would like to present your case and examine you.’ His example made a lasting impression on me and the way I approached patients for the rest of my career.”
As a solo physician in rural New Jersey for many decades, doing everything from making house calls to delivering babies to covering the local hospital’s emergency room, Bernie still found time to continue his love of teaching. He taught at Rutgers NJ Medical School and is Emeritus Attending Physician at Hunterdon Medical Center. Bernie and his wife Jane have been married for 64 years and live in West Palm Beach, Florida. They have three children and seven grandchildren and are awaiting the arrival of their first great-grandchild. Through their will they are establishing the Bernard Lewis and Jane Schapiro Scholarship Fund for medical students.
As Bernie explains, “Giving back is an expression of love. Giving back through our scholarship fund, and other enduring forms of gifts, brings us happiness and other good feelings. It would be nice if all gave back to their universities.”
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