Dr. Jeffrey Urman ’67 (PHARM) and his wife Marian have established two new funds in honor of his family’s deep connections to the University.
Dr. Urman completed both his undergraduate degree and his medical residency and a fellowship in rheumatology at UConn. His three siblings also graduated from the University, and they all married UConn graduates.
It makes perfect sense, then, that he and his wife Marian (a Husky by association) would choose to honor both his own academic experiences and his family’s with generous gifts to UConn totaling $1.2 million.
The Urmans’ gifts will establish the Rose and Julius Urman Endowed Professorship in the School of Pharmacy, so named for Dr. Urman’s late parents, and the Linda Urman Rashba Memorial Scholarship Fund in the School of Nursing, named in memory of his sister, who graduated from the school in 1964. She succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2015.
“My dear sister Linda, with whom I was extremely close, was loved, admired, and respected by family, friends, colleagues, patients, and all who were fortunate enough to know her,” says Dr. Urman. “I miss her greatly and think of her constantly. She would be very pleased to know that a scholarship fund in her name will help, in perpetuity, those nursing students needing financial assistance.”
For his part, James Halpert, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, says that the Urmans’ gift to his school is the largest ever given by private donors, and it will enable great flexibility in supporting the work of a School of Pharmacy faculty member.
“This is indeed a special gift, and it speaks to Jeff’s commitment, not only to UConn but to the interest he has in research and the compassion he has for patients,” says Halpert.
Dr. Urman is a native of Stamford, Connecticut, but has lived in Palo Alto, California with his wife Marian and his family since 1977. There, he maintains a private practice specializing in internal medicine and rheumatology and is also an attending physician and adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. In addition, he has served as medical director at the RotaCare Free Clinic for indigent patients without insurance.
His interest in bench science, however, has never left him. While completing his rheumatology fellowship at the UConn School of Medicine, he became acquainted with Arthur Bobrove, M.D., who subsequently became a close friend and business partner. The two eventually teamed up to devise a safer treatment for people who suffered from “hyperhidrosis” or excessive sweating — a condition that affected Dr. Urman’s mother, Rose.
“We came up with a topical application that worked like magic for my mother,” he says. “It stopped the sweating completely and enabled her to lead a normal life for the remaining years of her life.”
Dr. Urman and Dr. Bobrove obtained patents for the product in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe, and later reached an agreement with a biopharmaceutical company to bring the treatment to market under the name QBREXZA. It received FDA approval in June of 2018 and became available in October as a prescription medication.
“Jeff Urman is a role model for our current faculty, as demonstrated by his successful efforts in bringing a treatment for hyperhidrosis to the market,” says Dean Halpert. “It will be great to have him speak to our faculty about what he has accomplished and how he did it.”
Halpert hopes the Urmans’ gifts will help to link the School of Pharmacy and the School of Nursing on a deeper level, as both schools train health care professionals for the future. Nursing Dean Chyun agrees.
“I am so grateful to the Urmans for understanding the needs of our students, and for their caring and leadership. [Jeff’s] dedication and his desire to improve the quality of life for others could not be more consistent with our mission at the School of Nursing.”