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Louise Tumarkin Zazove

The Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation commemorates the life of a remarkable woman. Born in 1915 in New York City, Louise Tumarkin was the eldest child of poor Russian immigrant parents. Her dream was to become a physician but in those days few women, especially Jewish women, were accepted at American medical schools. She perservered and was finally accepted at the Chicago Medical School as the only woman in an entering class of 92 students. Louise married Earl Zazove, a fellow medical student, and upon completing their internships, Louise and Earl set up their practices in Chicago and began to build their family.


After learning that their 4-yr old son had a profound bilateral hearing loss, Louise proceeded to learn everything she could about hearing loss, studied sign language and sought experts' opinions as to the best way to educate her son. The consensus was that he should be sent to a special school where he'd be taught to live in the world of the deaf, but Louise and her husband made the then radical decision to send him through public schools so he could become self-sufficient in the hearing world. The boy succeeded in becoming one of the first deaf physicians in the United States, and went on to earn advanced degrees in medicine and business. He is now chair of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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