In announcing the decision with his wife, Belinda Yen-Lieberman, to commit $1 million to the School of Medicine, Jim Lieberman (MED ’74) acknowledges gratitude to every person who played a role in his pursuit of medicine as a profession.
Still, one individual stands out among them all: John L. “Jack” Caughey, Jr., MD.
A member of the Case Western Reserve University medical school faculty since the mid-1940s, Caughey not only taught and practiced medicine, but contributed immensely to the famed Western Reserve curriculum of 1952, an approach to medical education that reshaped the field around the world.
As influential as Caughey’s curriculum work proved to be, he looms large to Lieberman and hundreds of other physicians for another reason: He served as the school’s primary admissions interviewer from the moment he arrived on campus through to his retirement in 1974, and then continued to speak with potential students all the way through the class that entered in 1995.
As Lieberman says today: “It all came down to Dr. Caughey’s decision to admit me.”
From there Lieberman enrolled, completed classwork, and then began clinical rotations—including one at MetroHealth Medical Center. It was there he met a postdoctoral fellow named Belinda Yen. The two married, and Yen-Lieberman joined the Cleveland Clinic. After stints at University Hospitals and MetroHealth Medical Center, Lieberman joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2002. Both also hold faculty appointments at Case Western Reserve.
This week the couple announced their $1 million commitment to the School of Medicine to support scholarship assistance for students in both the university track and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine track of the medical school. Financial assistance for promising students is a priority of leaders of both tracks, as well as the university’s overall capital campaign.
“We are delighted and honored that Jim and Belinda recognize the vital role that scholarship support plays in student success,” said School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD. “Their generosity will make a measurable difference for the brilliant young people who enroll in each track to pursue careers of discovery and healing.”
Lieberman is an associate professor of radiology and a radiologist at the Clinic, while Yen-Lieberman is a professor of pathology and also the Clinic’s Director of Clinical Virology, Serology, and Cellular Immunology.
“Jim and Belinda are dedicated to excellence in their respective fields,” said James B. Young, Executive Dean of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, “and at the same time feel a true responsibility to assist those who follow them in medicine. I very much respect their commitment to future generations, and deeply appreciate this pledge.”
The family’s ties to the university date back nearly a century. Lieberman’s father, Irving S. Lieberman, DDS, [ADL ’36, DEN ‘38] is an alumnus, and his mother, Marjorie, attended Flora Stone Mather College. His uncle Isadore “Izzy” Silber, MD [ADL ’16, MED ‘19] was a graduate as well as the family’s pediatrician, and another uncle, Myron Weitz (MED ’25) also is an alumnus of the medical school.
“When I needed the school in 1970, it was there for me,” Lieberman says. “Now we are in a position where we are blessed to be able to do this.”