Photographer: Lauren BowersHerbert Eglie (right) receives a plaque honoring his patient advocacy fund for the College of Health Sciences and Professions from Dean Randy Leite (left).
Ohio University graduate Herbert E. Eglie is passionate about healthcare personnel communicating at a high level with patients; so much so that in 2014 he committed $1 million to establish the Herbert E. Eglie Patient Advocacy Fund. On Sept. 7, he was invited to the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ Student Scholarship Awards Reception where he was presented with a replica of a plaque that hangs in the interprofessional education lab on the second floor of Grover Center in honor of Eglie’s gift.
CHSP Dean Randy Leite said Eglie is a “very valued friend of the college” and thanked him for his generosity and the manner in which he gave.
“When people make gifts to the college, you get a thick stack of papers and contracts will all kinds of language about how to use the money and what you can and can’t do. Herb’s gift agreement was basically one sentence. It just said to use this gift to help your students communicate better with their patients,” Leite said. “He has a passion about that and we thank him. It’s been a wonderful gift for the college that will bear fruit for decades to come.”
Eglie is a 1957 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and former food service director at Aramark. In an interview following the ceremony, Eglie said that he, his deceased wife, his mother, an aunt and many of his good friends felt mistreated by medical professionals and he wanted to do something about it.
“I want for everyone in the medical profession, from the top to the bottom, to do a better job of relating to people and to listening to the patient,” he said. “The patient needs to be solicited and made comfortable to speak up and say yes, no or whatever when being treated.”
Eglie said the fund is meant to help health professionals communicate and create a two-way street for that communication with patients to help prevent misdiagnosis and facilitate both healing and confidence in medical professionals.
Sally Marinellie, senior associate dean of CHSP, and Tobe Gillogly, chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies, are collaborating with Merri Biechler and Samuel Dodd, of the College of Fine Arts, to implement the initiative by designing courses that equip future healthcare professionals with effective patient communication skills and increase their self-awareness in regard to overall communication.
“I feel like overall our society has a communication issue and that can’t exist in healthcare. You have to be able to communicate with patients and their families,” Gillogly said. “I know how much this means to Mr. Eglie. He is passionate about this and he should be.”
Eglie said he’s been told community studies are taking place to gather information from people with medical conditions regarding their interactions with medical personnel. That information will be used to help students devise new ways to communicate.
“I think we’re on the right path,” he said. “Randy (Leite) and the staff in the college are doing an excellent job.”
Eglie was surrounded by family during the ceremony which he called “kind of overwhelming.”
“When I was a student, I never thought anything like this would happen. Patient advocacy is a problem I and members of my family and friends have had and I just wanted to do what I could to correct that problem.”
In addition to the Herbert E. Eglie Patient Advocacy Fund, Eglie also previously established the Russel W. and Ida L. Eglie Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents. To date, 27 students have been recipients of the scholarship.