March 28, 2005

Ed Federico
(215) 349-5659


Penn’s Department of Dermatology Receives $2 Million Grant from the Annenberg Foundation to
Support Educational Programs

Gift to Create the Paul R. Gross, MD, Professorship

(Philadelphia, PA) – The Annenberg Foundation is donating $2 million to the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. This gift will provide major support for educational programs – critical to the training of the next generation of leaders in academic and clinical dermatology. The endowment will create the Paul R. Gross, MD, Professorship, and will support the Director of Educational programs, as well as associated educational expenses.

“The Annenberg Foundation’s steadfast support has strengthened Penn in countless ways over many years,” says Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania. “The Foundation’s commitment to encouraging more effective ways to share knowledge benefits not only Penn, but all of humanity.”

Training of new dermatologists has been a priority of the Department of Dermatology at Penn since its founding in 1874. Penn has one of the most sought-after residency training programs in dermatology because of its expertise in training residents in all aspects of the field – a breadth of training that few other departments of dermatology can match.

The Paul R. Gross, MD, Professorship will help Penn maintain its leadership in training the brightest and most talented dermatologists for the future. Training of medical students and clinical fellows is critical to the future of dermatology. For these reasons, it is vital for Penn to have a dedicated position aimed at promoting the clinical expertise that will keep new generations of dermatologists at the forefront of their field. This grant will ensure that Penn’s Department of Dermatology will have a world-class dermatologist – who has at least 50 percent of his/her time to devote to teaching – to help maintain its active and outstanding Residency Program.

“Leonore Annenberg’s generous gift of the Paul R. Gross, MD, Professorship is a fitting tribute to Dr. Gross, an excellent and compassionate physician who has been associated with the Department of Dermatology for over 40 years,” says John R. Stanley, MD, Milton B. Hartzell Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology. “Dr. Gross has always maintained his diagnostic and therapeutic skills to be at the forefront of dermatological knowledge, which is the exact goal that we want to instill in our residents for their future careers.”

“To have this new professorship named in my honor was completely unexpected and totally thrilling,” adds Paul R. Gross, MD, Emeritus Head of the Dermatology Section at Pennsylvania Hospital. “I am particularly pleased that this new chair will support the director of residency education, since my efforts have been largely directed toward this goal. Undoubtedly, this magnificent gift will help to ensure the continued pre-eminence of Penn Dermatology both nationally and internationally.”

Dr. Gross received both his undergraduate (1958) and medical (1962) degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. Following his MD studies, he did a year of internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and two years in the U.S. Public Health Service.

His relationship to Penn’s Dermatology Department dates to 1959, when he participated in a medical student summer research program. On completion of his professional training in 1968, Dr. Gross was appointed head of the Dermatology section at Pennsylvania Hospital, which was recruiting young, ambitious, academically-oriented physicians. The nation’s first hospital was about to re-emerge as a "teaching" hospital where highly-skilled private practitioners could succeed based on their abilities and their willingness to work. Thirty-five years later, he retired as section head, continuing in private practice as a clinical professor and consultant physician at Pennsylvania Hospital.


The Annenberg Foundation is the successor corporation to the Annenberg School at Radnor, Pennsylvania established in 1958 by Walter H. Annenberg. It exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving its goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at