Ann Franzenburg

Senior Writer

About Ann

“When your kid is sick, it’s one of the scariest things that can ever happen to you.”

—Medical Director and Cardiologist


This physician knows what she is talking about. When her second son was born, he suffered an unexpected serious illness and required intensive medical care. She, her husband, and their family were thrust into a stressful situation. “It was just a lot to take in when you have an infant,” she said. “We are really blessed with a big family, a lot of good friends, and other folks that supported us and listened to us.”

After her son’s full recovery, this physician needed something more. “Part of the way my family has chosen to process this event is by expressing our gratitude,” she said, “and that’s been a really helpful and healing part of our journey.” She and her family were able to partner with the hospital’s foundation to find an appropriate way to express their gratitude. “Being able to connect with other folks that could help us do that was really important,” she said. “I cannot say thank you enough in a million different ways to all of those people who took care of my child.”

This experience also provided an important new perspective for this physician on her role in philanthropy. Early in her career, she was consumed by the day-to-day role of clinically caring for people. “When you first get started, you’re just trying to be a good doctor; you’re just trying to dot all your i’s and cross your t’s. This really wasn’t top of mind for me,” she said. “I had been a physician here for a few years before I really even started thinking about that.”

The seed was planted when she attended a retreat sponsored by her hospital’s cardiology unit. A component of the retreat was a presentation on philanthropy and grateful patients. “That’s where they talked about physicians not having to ask anyone for anything other than to just say, ‘Thank you so much for saying thank you.’”

After the experience with her son, that seed grew and bloomed. She and her family were not content in just saying thanks. They wanted to do more. They wanted to make sure the story of their son—and the exceptional care he received—was expressed in a tangible way. “I think there are patients and families here who would love to hear, ‘Let me connect you with someone who you can talk to about your story.’”

Listening for expressions of gratitude and offering patients and families an outlet for their gratitude through her foundation colleagues has become integral to the way she takes care of her patients. “One of the essential roles of any healthcare provider is to listen to their patients,” she said. “It’s always in the back of my mind how I was given the opportunity to express gratitude and tell my story. I really believe that part of my job as a listener is offering my patients the opportunity to share their experience with others and possibly make an impact on another person’s life.”

“Being able to share their experience and talk about the things they have gone through is just a continuation of the patient’s journey. Giving them the opportunity to talk with the folks in the foundation and express their gratitude is just another way that I walk alongside my patients in their journey.”

—Medical Director and Cardiologist

Development professionals work with grateful patients every day, helping them tell their stories and find appropriate avenues for expressing their gratitude. Enlisting their help keeps the relationship between the clinician and patient a truly sacred one.