Dr. Rose Margarita DeSantis was a renowned pediatrician who devoted her career to children and left an amazing legacy to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital that will forever impact our pediatric patients.
Before she passed away in May 2012 at the age of 79, Dr. DeSantis arranged to leave a very special gift to help the patients and families that BMSCH at RWJ will care for. In honor of that gift to the RWJ University Hospital Foundation for the hospital, a plaque was unveiled and dedicated to Dr. DeSantis last week to recognize her for her generosity and her commitment to pediatrics.
Dr. DeSantis was born in Orange, New Jersey. After medical school at New York Medical College, she set up a pediatric practice in Orange that operated for 40 years. In addition to treating generations of pediatric patients in her community, Dr. DeSantis also served her greater medical community. She was a member of the American Medical Society and the Medical Society of New Jersey, the latter of which she served as a delegate in the late 1970s. She had twice received “Woman of the Year” commendations for her community service and philanthropy.
Dr. DeSantis had been very impressed with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital when it was first constructed. She mentioned at that time that she would include us in her estate plans. Over a decade later, that promise became one of our largest gifts in history: more than $3.4 million dollars!
The Senior Vice President for Development and Executive Director of the RWJ University Foundation, Brian D. Agnew, explained exactly what her gift will do: “Dr. DeSantis’ gift will support the Pediatric Health Campus Fund, which is used to attract and recruit highly skilled pediatric physicians and surgeons, as well as support the Palliative Care Program, which provides our patients and families with specialized care to address physical, emotional, and psychological stresses associated with serious illness like cancer and blood disorders. We are excited about the impact that Dr. DeSantis’ gift will have in growing our pediatric care team and caring for our patients and their families.”
Family member, Thomas Sullivan, remarked, “With her generous legacy support, we know “Margie’s” love and concern for the health of all our children will live on. On behalf of her brother Joe, her nieces Cathy and Linda and nephews Michael and John Di Benedetto, we would like to thank all the dedicated staff at the children’s hospital and look forward to the growth and expansion of all of their excellent pediatric focused programs.”
The plaque in Dr. DeSantis’ name which will hang outside the Center for Advanced Pediatric Surgery (seventh floor) at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital.