Birnbaums were passionate about translating research into health care
Bill and Hilde Birnbaum were consumer leaders at Group Health for more than five decades. Bill, a former University of Washington professor and mathematician, was internationally renowned for his research on probability. He served as a Trustee for Group Health in 1948 and 1949.
Hilde had a pioneering relationship with Group Health as its first woman president in 1955 and a Group Health Trustee for 23 years. Trained as an attorney and later an economist, Hilde recognized early in her career that health care was one of the most important factors impacting household economics.
During her career, Hilde served on several national health care policy councils and was the chair of the economics department at Bellevue Community College.
Not content with the status quo, Hilde had been a staunch advocate for the need to integrate new research into health care practice. In 1993, the Birnbaums gave a major gift to the Group Health Community Foundation, which founded the Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Fund for Benefiting Patients through Healthcare Research.
The fund has financed several forward-thinking programs at Group Health, including the Lifetime Fitness program for seniors and the annual Birnbaum Endowed Lecture.
The Foundation recognizes the Birnbaums for their generous gift, their long relationship with Group Health, and their vision for affordable, research-based health care throughout the community.