Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Internal Medicine receives generous gift

Internal Medicine receives generous gift

Margaret Talkington loved Lubbock. She and her husband, J.T. Talkington, moved from Fort Worth to Lubbock in 1946. Since then, they both were fiercely loyal to their community and its citizens.

Both were successful in business and knew they wanted their means distributed throughout the community; therefore, the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation Inc. was founded. On Oct. 21, 2014, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center announced the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Department of Internal Medicine, the first department to be named at TTUHSC.

“Margaret set us down for a meeting in her home one day and said, ‘Y’all know my heart and I’m trusting you to donate my money the way I would,’ ” said Charlotte Park, friend and former employee of Margaret’s and secretary/treasurer of the Talkington Foundation. “And to this day that is the first test when grants come across our desk: would Margaret want to support this endeavor.”

The Talkington Foundation, comprised of the couple’s cherished friends, had no trouble honoring the grant request to name the Department of Internal Medicine especially since Cynthia Jumper, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, was Margaret’s personal physician in her final years.

“Margaret loved Dr. Jumper, and she was so wonderful to Margaret,” Park said. “They had a wonderful friendship in Margaret’s last years, and she was a great physician.”

The Talkington Foundation gift also supports six endowed chairs for the Department of Internal Medicine: two in gastroenterology, two in rheumatology, and one each in endocrinology and infectious disease.

“We have several specialties that need to be filled in the Department of Internal Medicine,” said Jumper. “These specialties are challenging to fill because they are not procedure based, which is how physicians are primarily reimbursed. However, these specialties are important because they are the ones whom physicians refer to for a problem they can’t diagnose. They are the forerunners of diagnosis and treatment.”

In Lubbock, there are only five rheumatologists and three infectious disease physicians, Jumper said.

“It’s important that we train more physicians in these specialties that will stay in the Lubbock area and give our patients easier access to this specialty health care,” she said. “Margaret had a deep sense of loyalty to her community, and I always admired that about her. I want to be able to serve the community by providing more specialty physicians to our patients to meet their health care needs.”

At the press conference to name the Department of Internal Medicine, Alan Henry, former Lubbock Mayor and board member of the Talkington Foundation, said that J.T. and Margaret would have looked favorably on this gift.

“We are really excited about the prospects of this gift and the future it procures for Lubbock,” he said. “There aren’t many cities that have one world class institution, and we have two (Texas Tech and TTUHSC). We hope this gift sets a pattern of giving and supporting the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, a world class institution with world class instruction.”

TTUHSC President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said the gift was important because internal medicine is the bedrock of any health science center.

“The physicians in the Department of Internal Medicine are the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of medicine,” he said. “They are the ones referred to when no one else can figure out what’s going on. Having these specialties in our department makes our academic health center a referral magnet for this area. These aren’t fields that generate a lot of income, but they are extremely important because not only do they provide better health care for patients but also offer something to physicians in the community, so we are extremely grateful for this gift.”
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