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KU School of Medicine-Wichita grad gives back to school that prepared him for success

October 28, 2020

Don Seidel, M.D.
Don Seidel, M.D., is a Tulsa dermatologist and KU School of Medicine-Wichita alumnus.

By Brian Whepley

Tulsa dermatologist Don Seidel, M.D., and his wife, Brenda, feel fortunate to have reached the point in life where they can look back - and give back - to schools and people who have made a difference in their lives.

He's a partner in Tulsa Dermatology Clinic, and Brenda has worked in a preschool with autistic and other children on the spectrum. Their two sons are adults, one working as a school psychologist, the other is in law school.

Having learned more about planned giving through church, the Seidels set up a bequest - $150,000 initially - four years ago that will go to KU School of Medicine-Wichita when they pass on. They've arranged similar gifts to the University of Kansas in Lawrence and the University of New Mexico, where he did his residency.

The process "made us start thinking about where did my wife and I want our funds to go if we died today? How much would our kids, who were still in college at that time, need? Did they need it all? The answer was no."

Seidel and his wife grew up in Great Bend and went to KU in Lawrence. He earned a degree in human biology and decided on medical school, beginning his studies at KU School of Medicine in Kansas City in 1985. Brenda studied physical therapy, finishing her degree in Kansas City.

Seidel gladly volunteered to be among students doing their third and fourth clinical years in Wichita, drawn by the "smaller, more cohesive" group. He recalls enjoying rotations in surgery and internal medicine (Garold Minns, now dean, was his adviser). "Being from Great Bend, going to Wichita was a great fit. It was a much different feel. The staff and faculty and administrators wanted to make sure you had what you wanted out of the program."

Seidel remembers being drawn to dermatology: "I like to see what I'm treating and diagnosing. I like touching and feeling it." He also liked serving a range of patients, from young to old, with dermatology providing sort of a "family practice age grouping."

After residency in Albuquerque, Seidel and his wife wanted to return to the Plains. His department chair in New Mexico had Oklahoma connections and told him: "You'd be an idiot if you didn't take the spot in Tulsa."

Nearly three decades later, Seidel is senior partner in his group. With eight physicians, it's the largest dermatology practice in Oklahoma. For many years, he's also served as clinical faculty with Tulsa's two medical schools, Oklahoma State University and a joint Oklahoma University/Tulsa University program. Both follow the same community medicine model as KU School of Medicine-Wichita, drawing volunteer faculty from working physicians in the area.

"When you teach, you learn from what the students ask you. But you have to know it even better when you have to explain it to somebody. So it's helpful to keep us connected," Seidel said. "It's part of giving back to those who educated me. It's that simple."

The same is true of the planned gift to KU School of Medicine-Wichita, set up for the school to use as it best sees fit. The process of setting up the bequest was simple. The Seidels named KU School of Medicine-Wichita and the other schools as beneficiaries of specific retirement funds - avoiding wills, trusts and other obstacles - and completed forms from KU Endowment to make the process seamless.

Supporting KU School of Medicine-Wichita is a recognition of the training he received.

"I really respect the amount of time that physicians gave me and how much time and effort goes into that in Wichita," Seidel said. "I think it behooves the Wichita alumni to kind of start stepping up and helping that program along."

Supporting the mission

Alumni or others interested in learning how they can support the mission of KU School of Medicine-Wichita through planned giving can contact Brad Rukes, KU Endowment development director for the Wichita campus, at 316-293-2641 or

KU School of Medicine-Wichita
Last modified: Oct 28, 2020
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KU School of Medicine–Wichita
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1010 N. Kansas
Wichita, KS, 67214

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