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Elsie Franz Finley, said the gift also honors her late brother, longtime Providence supporter Robert W. Franz

A record-setting $1.5 million gift will help train physicians of the future at Providence Milwaukie Hospital.

PHOTO COURTESY: JEAN MARKS - Elsie Franz Finley is pictured with her brother, Robert W. Franz, prior to his death in 2016.The donor, Elsie Franz Finley, said the gift also honors her late brother, longtime Providence supporter Robert W. Franz, who died in 2016.

The Providence Milwaukie gift is the largest in the facility's history, and will be used to create The Robert W. Franz and Elsie Franz Finley Endowed Chair for Family Medicine Residency.

"The endowed chair will ensure sustained excellence in family medicine education and patient-centered care in our residency program," said Glenn S. Rodriguez, Providence Milwaukie Foundation board member and past medical director of the Family Medicine Residency Program.

Hospital officials said the $1.5 million endowment doesn't "fund" a specific position so much as provide for ongoing financial support of the program, since it will provide a source of revenue. Providence officials say they don't share the budgets of their programs, but added that the gift will help underwrite the cost of the operation. It will not fund the entire operation.

"I came to Providence Milwaukie Hospital in 1997 to help build this program because of Providence's strong mission to provide health care to the local community and the need for more primary care physicians," Rodriguez said. "Elsie's gift will translate into more young physicians being trained to serve the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our community."

The Providence Oregon Family Medicine Residency program routinely receives more than 500 applications and interviews more than 100 students each year for the nine available resident positions.

"Robert Franz and Elsie Franz Finley have shown their support for Providence Milwaukie for more than 40 years," said Lesley Townsend, executive director of the Providence Milwaukie Foundation. "They lived in Milwaukie and had their banking business in downtown Milwaukie. All of us are appreciative and grateful to see their names and history continue on in the naming of the family medicine residency at Providence Milwaukie in their honor."

A total of 21 residents are in the multiyear program designed to train family physicians to be the cornerstone of patient-centered, socially responsible and community-oriented medical care. The program's unique curriculum includes a rotation at the Hood River campus where residents learn leading-edge inpatient, intensive care and obstetrical training in a rural setting.

The program began in 2001, with the first class graduating in 2004. Since its inception, the program has trained more than 100 doctors specializing in family medicine. That's nearly 25 percent of all family physicians prepared in Oregon over that time period. Nearly 80 percent of the graduates remain in Oregon to practice.

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