david gardner

David F. Gardner, M.D., professor emeritus, celebrates with Trey Wickham, M.D., associate professor at the VCU School of Medicine and the inaugural holder of the Gardner Professorship in Endocrinology. Photo: Eric Peters, MCV Foundation

Love of Teaching, Patient Care Inspires Professorship

gardnerChange was inevitable during the 44 years David F. Gardner, M.D., worked on the MCV Campus, from the buildings where he taught or the equipment he used in his classrooms, to the ideas and methodologies pertaining to science, research and medicine.

Regardless of what happened around him, however, two constants were steadfast in Gardner’s life: his love of teaching and his dedication to patient care.

Now, he’s grateful he can provide an opportunity for others to be as fulfilled as he was.

He has established the David F. Gardner, M.D., Professorship in Endocrinology to help attract or retain a faculty member in the Division of Endocrinology within the VCU School of Medicine.

“This is a form of payback,” said Dr. Gardner. “I feel blessed that the two things I wanted to do — teach and see patients — I was able to do in a very supportive environment.”

Dr. Gardner’s career on the MCV Campus began in 1978. His main area of expertise was thyroid diseases. Among other recognitions, he’s been honored with the VCU School of Medicine Faculty Teaching Excellence Award and the MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award.

Though he retired in 2016, Dr. Gardner, professor emeritus, remains active in the endocrinology program. Outside of VCU Health, he volunteers at Richmond’s Health Brigade, formerly the Fan Free Clinic.

Dr. Gardner said today’s medical students are more technologically savvy. They’re also working in more sophisticated environments. But he’s encouraged by what he sees as a familiar trait in the next generation of clinicians — that same love and dedication to treating individuals that captured him years ago.

“To feel a patient’s pulse, talk to the patient — there’s always been that anticipatory excitement of direct patient care,” he said, referring to students’ latter years of education when they get beyond lectures and classroom instruction. “Even though things around me changed, sitting in the office with a patient, face to face, hearing their story — that’s what I enjoyed most, and those things haven’t changed.”

If you would like to support endocrinology at the VCU School of Medicine, contact Jodi T. Smith, director of development with Medical Philanthropy and Alumni Relations, at jodi.smith@vcuhealth.org or 804-628-2248.