• Kathleen (Katie) Miller, MD, knew from her school days in rural Brookville, Ohio, that she wanted to be a doctor, but it took her a long time – nine years after graduating from college – before she started medical school.

    Why? Times were different back in the ‘60s, she had never met a woman doctor, and …

    “I have a vivid memory of being in high school and an older English teacher asked me what I wanted to do,” Miller says. “I told her I was interested in medicine and she said, ‘Oh! You want to be a nurse.’ I didn’t contradict her. There’s nothing at all wrong with being a nurse; it’s just not what I was thinking about.”

    Putting her medical aspirations on hold, Miller went away to college and graduate school. After receiving her graduate degree, Miller worked as a counselor at Purdue University, encouraging students to try whatever they wanted and follow their dreams.

    “I decided to follow my own advice,” she says. “The only medical care I knew as a child was our small town’s general practitioner, so when I started medical school, I assumed I’d go into family medicine. I was introduced to all the specialties and I liked them all, so that reinforced my decision – in family medicine, I had the opportunity to do them all.”

    As a family physician, Miller enjoyed a diverse and distinguished career, serving in private practice, teaching at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and providing medical care to inmates at an Illinois state prison for women. While Miller retired about a decade ago, her impact on family medicine didn’t stop. She recently established the Dr. Kathleen J. Miller Humanitarian Fund at the AAFP Foundation. The fund will support domestic and international initiatives, including Family Medicine Cares USA, Family Medicine Cares International, and the Family Medicine Cares Resident Service Award.

    David R. Smith, MD, MPH, FAAFP, and President of the AAFP Foundation Board of Trustees, says Miller’s gift reflects her appreciation for the value of time and her dedication to supporting those in need – now. After all, why put help on hold?

    “Dr. Miller’s passion for helping the underserved, both at home and around the world, is remarkable and her approach to giving now sets an example others can follow,” Smith says. “Her fund is a permanent extension of her generous spirit and legacy of compassionate care.”

    From the heart and very smart

    The approach Miller has taken with her generous gift creates benefits for everyone involved; she’s sending required minimum distributions from her IRAs directly to the Foundation, bypassing the need to count the money as income and pay taxes on it. That saves her money and provides the Foundation with essential financial resources sooner rather than later. In addition to annual gifts from the IRA, by naming the AAFP Foundation as a beneficiary of the IRA, Miller’s fund will receive a significant boost of support after her lifetime.

    “I feel very fortunate to be living during a period of time when the nation’s financial status allows us to have savings that grew substantially – savings that I don’t require to live on,” Miller says.

    “Throughout my life, I’ve been influenced by my parents and grandparents. They taught me to be generous with whatever I have and give to those in need. I have a great respect for everything the Foundation does and I know that if I give now, the Foundation can use it now.”

    Give now

    Miller, like her Illinois friend and colleague Carolyn Lopez, MD, drew on the expertise available at the AAFP Foundation when making her estate plans. Mike Armstrong, donor relations at the Foundation, is happy to answer any questions you might have about estate planning and giving; information is also available online