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$2M estate gift to WVU School of Medicine aids pediatric nephrology care and education

Photograph of the brightly colored exterior of WVU Medicine Children's Hospital in Morgantown.

A $2 million estate gift to the WVU School of Medicine will create a chair in pediatric nephrology position while further supporting WVU Medicine Children’s as a leader in world-class pediatric care. (WVU Photo)

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A West Virginia University alumna’s $2 million estate gift to the School of Medicine will enhance education for future physicians and strengthen renal care for Mountain State children.

The planned gift from Dr. Dianne G. Muchant, of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, establishes a namesake chair in pediatric nephrology. Muchant received her medical degree from WVU in 1986 and worked as a pediatric nephrologist for more than 25 years before her retirement.

Dr. Charles J. Mullett, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, said he appreciates Muchant’s generosity.

“Dr. Muchant and I shared many memorable patients here early in my career and I recall those days fondly,” Mullet said. “This gift will help us plant the flag and solidify the base of support necessary to grow pediatric nephrology as a specialty in our state. Not only will the endowed faculty physician benefit, but so will the patients with kidney diseases and also the next generation of medical students and pediatricians being taught. This gift will raise the profile of pediatric nephrology at WVU and will serve as a model for advancing care in our other specialties.”

Muchant grew up in rural Deemston, Pennsylvania, where she was always interested in health care but questioned whether she was “smart enough” to become a doctor.

She first came to West Virginia as an undergraduate student at Alderson Broaddus University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in medical science. She practiced as a physician assistant in West Virginia for six years before returning to school for her MD.

Muchant said WVU faculty members Dr. Martha Mullett and the late Dr. Bill Neal were instrumental in her career, inspiring her and guiding her even after she left the University. Neal was a pioneering pediatric cardiologist who led the Department of Pediatrics before serving as the founding medical director for what is now WVU Medicine Children’s. Martha Mullett is a retired neonatal medicine specialist who helped establish the neonatal intensive care unit at WVU Medicine Children’s and expand perinatal care services statewide to reduce infant mortality.

“Bill Neal dedicated his life to improving care for children in West Virginia, and Martha Mullet inspired me with her pragmatic approach to care of children,” Muchant said. “Both of these people shaped how I practiced medicine.”

Muchant completed her residency in internal medicine/pediatrics at WVU from 1986-1990 and went on to a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at the University of Virginia. She returned to West Virginia in 1993 and practiced as a pediatric nephrologist at WVU for about eight years, during which she was on call around the clock as the only such specialist at the time.

She later worked at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, and Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania.

“I’m hopeful that my gift will help to provide permanent funding for pediatric nephrology,” Muchant said. “If the department is financially stable, you are able to attract more people who want to practice in West Virginia and continue to provide outstanding care for the children of the state.”

Muchant said she wanted to build upon her legacy where it was most meaningful to her.

“My heart is in West Virginia,” she said. “I’m hoping that, down the road, more endowed chair positions are generated in the Department of Pediatrics. That’s how the department really grows and gains a great national reputation.”

Muchant’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University, in conjunction with WVU Day of Giving. This year’s event, held March 20, raised a record $30.4 million from more than 8,500 gifts.



Senior Communications Specialist
WVU Foundation

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