Jack and Donna Rust have made a significant gift to further assist a University of New Mexico program geared to educate the New Mexico community about the ethical issues associated with caring for our aging population. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030, 25 percent of New Mexicans will be older than 65 – the fourth highest percentage nationally – and that by 2050 the number of 75 to 84-year-olds in the United States will double. The Institute of Ethics at the UNM School of Medicine will house the program and Dr. Anne Simpson, who is both a geriatrician and the director of the institute, will be the professor in charge. The program, entitled “Bringing Values to the Realities of Aging: Dialogues about Compassion, Respect and Fairness in Caring for the Growing Elder Population in New Mexico”, will both educate the public about the challenges of aging and also train professionals to understand and facilitate the difficult decisions confronting elders and their caregivers. The Rusts’ gift will support broadening public awareness through a community discussion about the many ethical, medical and legal issues facing the elderly and their caregivers. It will also help establish a training course for individuals and professionals who can advocate for older individuals and promote an ethical approach to serving the needs of this population. The course would equip a network of interdisciplinary professionals in the fields of law, geriatric medicine, business and social work to respond to challenges. “The needs of this growing population will require interdisciplinary approaches to education and critical thinking toward problem resolution and prevention in ways that respect and support New Mexico’s culturally rich communities,” Simpson said. “The generosity of the Rust family will open the door for a cutting edge project.” Jack Rust was the founder and owner of Rust Tractor Company from 1960 until its sale in 2002 and has been an active community leader in New Mexico and at UNM. In 2003 the Rusts established The Rust Professorship in Biomedical Ethics, the professorship on which this most recent gift is building. Jack and Donna Rust are known for their philanthropic support of many New Mexico organizations including the United Way, the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation and Central New Mexico Community College. Jack is a former UNM regent and was the founding chair of the UNM Foundation Board of Directors.
For more news, visit UNM Health Sciences Center Newsbeat and follow us on Twitter.