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Family values find generous expression in Mayer scholarship fund

portrait of Greg and Anita Mayer

Greg and Anita Mayer

April 15, 2021

From an early age, Greg Mayer’s large, extended family ingrained two principles into their children: One: Get an education. Two: Give back to your community.

Those family values live on and live well in both the establishment of the Drs. Gregory K. and Anita P. Mayer Science of Health Care Delivery Scholarship at the College of Health Solutions and in Mayer’s ongoing work with the college and the greater Phoenix medical community. 

For Mayer, a physician and former senior executive with Arizona’s Hospice of the Valley, and his wife Anita Mayer, a doctor of internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the scholarship represents their belief in both the power of education and the mission of the College of Health Solutions. Mayer has been a professor of practice and faculty for the science of health care delivery program since 2016 and has been a part of the college’s evolution from a collection of separate health-related departments to a unified college committed to improving population health and well-being. 

“Education is critical to society’s advancement and to maximize an individual’s potential in order to find solutions to current problems and problems that future generations will likely face,” Mayer said. “When I first joined the college, I immediately saw the quality of its programs and its students and faculty, and through the years, I’ve watched the college as a whole get even better as it has come together and focused on research, education and collaborations that are making a difference in our communities.”

Started in 2019, the scholarship has been awarded twice to two graduate students in the science of health care delivery master’s degree program. This year’s recipient was Katie Coleman, who said the scholarship allowed her to complete a degree that has been of great benefit in her current role as a director of utilization management operations and member services in a California pediatric primary care network. “I work extensively with the regulatory agencies and the many regulations that apply to managed care programs in California. The lack of consistency in the interpretation of regulations creates wide gaps in how health care is applied. I hope to make a difference that could improve the care received by patients throughout the state.”

The Mayers recently added to the scholarship fund, an increase that will allow even more graduate students in the science of health care delivery program to benefit, said Deborah Helitzer, dean of the College of Health Solutions. “Our students are our future hope for solving population health challenges. Greg and Anita clearly understand that and are setting an example for others with their investment in our students. I am so appreciative of this support that helps our students to go out and make a difference in the communities we serve.” 

Mayer attributes his passion for education and community to the influence of his large, close-knit family, especially the examples set by his great-grandfather, Oscar F. Mayer, the founder of the Oscar Mayer meat company, and his grandfather Oscar G. Mayer, who grew the company into a multimillion dollar enterprise. They preached the values of hard work, lifelong personal development and generous giving. 

“I was fortunate to grow up in an extended family with powerful role models, especially my grandfather and parents — a family where you were expected to work hard, have a strong sense of and commitment to family, give of yourself, enjoy your journey and be grateful every step of the way,” he said. 

In addition to giving through the scholarship fund, Mayer gives generously of his time and talents to both the College of Health Solutions and the greater Phoenix health community. He retired as a full-time physician of palliative and hospice care after 18 years with Hospice of the Valley but continues to do research projects with both them and Mayo Clinic. He collaborates on a podcast series for HonorHealth and a BlogTalk radio program in addition to his teaching duties for the college. He also facilitates three College of Health Solutions’ Project ECHO telementoring groups to improve access to health expertise in the rural areas of Arizona.  

Mayer is passionate and enthusiastic about what he has seen during his time with the college and its potential for the future. “It’s living out in front of our eyes,” he said. “The college started by putting a few health programs together and has evolved into one integrated college that is on the front lines of health and health care, doing everything to become synonymous with excellence and solutions for better health.”