As 2022 draws to a close, Rockport’s Steven Law reflects with gratitude on the success of a foundation created following the death of her husband, Dr. William D. “Donald” Stroud, who passed away in March 2021.
As he worked through his grief, Law, a retired Congregational minister and gallery owner from Rockport, had the spark of an idea.
Just days after the passing of her partner of 45 years, Law woke up with the idea of forming a foundation to promote compassionate care in the health care system.
“There was no foresight or planning. We had never discussed such a thing. Perhaps it stemmed from an ER experience that Donald described as ‘dehumanizing,’” Law said.
But in its first year, the Law/Stroud Foundation awarded grants of $31,000 to Tufts Medical School for a pilot education program, and $14,000 to Rockport-based Persistent Productions for a series of films documenting positive beliefs. about age.
Law’s journey to create a foundation began when he shared the news of Stroud’s death with certain friends and acquaintances, people from various backgrounds, including a medical doctor, a Jungian psychoanalyst, a children’s educator/philanthropist, an elderly care professional and a tax attorney. , among others. Many agreed to be on the first board of directors.
After many months of research and interviews with experts, he took the steps to create a state-approved non-profit public charity, after which he began reaching out to donors and potential recipients.
The foundation’s mission is to promote compassionate healthcare and improve the well-being of people who age at home.
“To accomplish this, we support new initiatives that encourage positive age beliefs, better health habits, greater empathy in medicine, and better public health and home care communication,” Law said. “We envision age as defined by ability, not limitation.”
The Tufts Medical School proposal will engage 25% of fourth-year medical students in the Balint Group experience, with the potential to expand the program to more students. The Balint Group, created in London in the 1950s, has been included in residency programs but not in medical school. It uses evidence-based techniques to give clinicians the opportunity to reflect on challenging patient experiences with trained facilitators in a group setting with the idea of continually improving patient care.
“The hope is to reverse an unfortunate trend of declining empathy as a result of medical education. The Law/Stroud Foundation and the medical school share the goal of ensuring that future physicians provide patient care with skill and high levels of empathy,” said Dr. Wayne Altman, of Tufts Medical School, in a statement. Press release. “This experience will help plant the seeds for students to provide compassionate, relationship-focused care throughout their careers. We understand from Steven Law that her late husband, Tufts alumnus Dr. Donald Stroud, was an exemplary physician who valued compassion in the practice of medicine. We look forward to continuing his legacy with every student who benefits from this new Balint Group program at Tufts.”
The other grant for Persistent Productions will benefit its “In Life” series of short video portraits of seniors that demonstrate how they live vibrant lives while coping with the challenges of living longer.
Law noted that such a series could affect the detrimental effects of age bias over time.
“Persistent Productions is delighted to have the support of the Law/Stroud Foundation for our video series. By depicting these nuanced portraits of people as they age, we hope that these works of art can be part of our cultural conversation about thriving as we age,” said Meghan Shea, producer.
Persistent Productions is an award-winning film production company that has worked in over 35 countries. Its most recent feature, “How I Live,” looks at equity in childhood cancer worldwide. The film was a collaboration with The Dana Faber/Boston Children’s Hospital Global Health Initiative and was supported by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The film was presented at the United Nations General Assembly and won Best Director at the Chambal International Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the UK Fisheye Film Festival.
Law said that financing these two projects is a good start.
“I can’t wait to see what happens next,” he said. “Donors can be sure that their money will be used to fulfill our mission. We keep administrative costs to an absolute minimum. There are no executive salaries. More than 95% of the money raised will go to the proposals that best impact our mission. We encourage innovation.”
Law will be on Dan Rea’s NightSide on WBZ News Radio 1030 on December 22, airing between 11:30 pm and midnight.
For more information visit: lawstroudfoundation.org.