Anne Osborn: Giving Back to the Institution She Loves

Anne Osborn is a medical pioneer in the field of neuroradiology—medical imaging of the brain—at the University of Utah Medical Center. Esteemed in her field, she is an internationally recognized physician, teacher, lecturer, and author who believes in giving back to the institution she loves. Her generous gifts support programs within both the health sciences as well as on the academic campus.

“I’m a great believer in public education,” she says. “My late husband, Ron Poelman, was the eldest son of immigrants and the first in his family to go to college, and from there to law school. Together, we endowed the Hendrik and Ella Poelman Professor of English in the College of Humanities in honor of Ron’s parents.” (Poelman, who was an Emeritus General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died in 2011.) The professorship is structured to attract an individual to the position who will bring expertise in underserved areas of the University. “I also wanted to demonstrate support for a part of the University’s enterprise that is outside—far outside—my own department and school. Hopefully other faculty will follow suit!” says Anne.

ao_2_cropped_600wAs for the School of Medicine, she describes it as a unique resource for the entire Intermountain area and emphasizes the importance of its endowed chairs. “They are precious and I’ve been fortunate to have one. I’m the first holder of the William H. and Patricia W. Child Presidential Endowed Chair Honoring Pioneering Utah Women in Medicine,” she says. The Child endowment acknowledges Anne’s vital role in the department and provides funding for her research and international education outreach efforts. “The extra academic time provided by the funds has enabled me to write books and lecture all over the world,” she says. With full appreciation of that opportunity, she and Ron endowed the Anne G. Osborn and Ronald E. Poelman Chair for Young Clinician Investigators in Radiology. “This will help support promising young academicians early in their careers by affording them the same luxury I’ve had—extra academic time—except they will have it early in their careers, when it’s most needed. I wish we had more of these but it’s a start!”

While Anne wasn’t born or educated in Utah, she has spent her entire career here and loves the U. “I enjoy development work and sharing my enthusiasm with potential donors,” she says. “It will take all of us working shoulder to shoulder to continue broadening the scope and excellence of the U—big, small, whatever. A gift to the U is leveraged—and appreciated—to a much greater degree than a similar gift to a wealthy private institution (like my alma mater Stanford) would be. Here at the U we know how to work hard and grow the gifts of all sizes we receive so their significance and reach is magnified exponentially.”