Photo of Renee Stirling, Eileen Anderson, Gail Zimmerman and Cory Stirling
Left to right: Anne Templeman Zimmerman’s daughter, Renee Stirling, MD (MED '95); Eileen Anderson, EdD; Gail Zimmerman, PhD; and Renee Stirling's husband, Cory Stirling, MD

Alumna’s family makes $1.5 million gift to establish professorship in bioethics

An accomplished physician who served at-risk populations across the United States, Anne Templeton Zimmerman (MED ‘74) later spent time working to improve the lives of people around the world as an advocate for human rights and religious freedom.

Zimmerman’s philanthropic spirit and passion for providing comfort to others will continue through a generous $1.5 million gift from the late doctor’s husband, Gail D. Zimmerman, PhD, to establish a professorship in bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. 

The Zimmerman family came to Cleveland this week as Eileen Anderson, EdD, became the inaugural Anne Templeton Zimmerman MD Professor in Bioethics. The professorship also serves as the director of the school’s Center for Medicine, Society and Culture. Anderson is committed to continuing Zimmerman’s legacy of medical excellence, scientific progress and cultural understanding.

“The Zimmermans believe in this work,” said Anderson. “And they think ours is the right approach to alleviate suffering and improve human health. What I want to accomplish (through this professorship) is a celebration of their family and their tireless work for the well-being of others at home and around the world.”

Since Anderson’s 2016 arrival at the medical school, the department has established a concentration in Medicine, Society and Culture within the bioethics and medical humanities  master’s degree program. Both the center and concentration integrate humanities, arts and social sciences with community and cultural partners. The result is an innovative, holistic model for education and research that enhances the preparation of healthcare providers and leaders in Cleveland and beyond.

Remembering Anne, Gail Zimmerman said his wife’s greatest attribute was her passion for reaching the underserved—whether in their home state of Wyoming or across the world in Africa. In Anderson, he sees similarities that make her the perfect fit for a professorship that will carry Anne’s name. 

Citing parallels between the two—including their philosophies on enhancing health through bioethics, medical humanities and social medicine—Zimmerman also said “(Anderson) has impressed me with her energy and enthusiasm. If she gets discouraged, it never shows.”

Sharing Zimmerman’s sentiment, medical school dean Stan Gerson noted Anderson’s own focus and determination. “Dr. Anderson shares Dr. Anne Templeton Zimmerman’s drive to provide equitable health care worldwide through attention to social health and linking ethical issues to medical humanities—ensuring health access can improve the lives of all,” he said. “She is a superb educator and is passionate about understanding and teaching medical ethics in the classroom and at the bedside.”

Before her passing in 2004, Anne Templeton Zimmerman practiced clinical medicine in Casper, Wyoming. In retirement, she was able to commit more fully to her charitable work bringing care to victims of religious persecution. Through her leadership role with the human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Zimmerman made several trips to Sudan, helping secure the freedom of enslaved women and children.