Boehlecke Establishes Medical Scholarship in Honor of Parents

Brian Boehlecke, MD ’70, retired professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has made a generous bequest commitment that establishes the Albert and Loraine Boehlecke Memorial Medical Scholarship in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in honor of his father and mother.

Boehlecke, who was raised in Boston, NY, says that his parents had only a modest income yet  always supported his education.

“My mother came from a large family and had to quit school in the eighth grade to help support her family,” he explains. “But in her 50s, she returned to school and earned her GED and a realtor’s license  She was a person who never had the opportunities I had, but never gave up on her education.”

Boehlecke’s father had a degree in agriculture from Cornell University and worked on his parents’ farm until  they retired and sold it. “My dad had to start a new career in midlife and this couldn’t have been easy,” explains Boehlecke, who adds that his father went on to work as a health inspector for several health departments in New York State, “but he never made much money.”

Boehlecke, a board-certified pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist, says the bequest commitment also acknowledges the excellent education he received at the Jacobs School, where he was taught by internationally renowned pulmonary physiologists Herman Rahn, PhD, and Leon Fahri, MD, and mentored by Robert Klocke, MD, who later became chair of medicine at UB.

After completing his internship at UB, Boehlecke entered the US Public Health Service (PHS), trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and completed a thoracic diseases fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He then served as Chief of the Clinical Investigations Branch of the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Disease until 1980 when he left the PHS and completed a MSPH degree in epidemiology at UNC. In 1982 he joined the faculty of the UNC School of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, where he served as medical director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory and the division’s bronchoscopy service. He later also directed the division’s sleep clinic and co-directed the hospital’s sleep laboratory. He entered phased retirement in 2006, and after serving as a medical monitor for clinical trials, fully retired from medicine in 2015.

“I know that a medical education is very expensive today, and I know that there are students who come from families like mine,” says Boehlecke. “And one of the reasons why I want to honor my parents is that they never indicated that I couldn’t go to medical school because they didn’t have much money. They never even made me aware of the sacrifices they made to help pay for my education. I want to remember them for this, and I want to help future medical students who are in a similar situation.”