On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the University of Cincinnati announced that it surpassed the $1 billion goal of its Proudly Cincinnati campaign—four months ahead of the campaign’s June 2013 deadline.
Over the next four weeks, we will be featuring stories to highlight ways the campaign has positively impacted each of the four colleges at the Academic Health Center, improving our tripartite mission of education, research and clinical care.
Through the Proudly Cincinnati campaign, the UC College of Medicine saw an incredible rise in the number of its endowed chairs, crucial positions to ensure the growth of its departments and programs.
Since the start of the campaign in July 2005, Proudly Cincinnati donors established or completed funding 22 endowed chairs—gifts that will provide dedicated support to UC faculty in their roles as educators, researchers and physicians.
Unlike a donation to a general fund, endowed chairs provide permanent support for a faculty position, says Mike Zenz, executive director of development and alumni affairs for the College of Medicine.
"With an endowment, approximately 5 percent of the fund’s market value is awarded each year to serve the purpose of the endowment,” he says. "Named chairs honor donors or organizations, enabling the college to provide enduring recognition for a gift.”
Funding Departmental Missions
Currently, the College of Medicine has a total of 63 funded endowed chairs, with another 12 in the process of being funded. It currently takes $2 million to completely fund a chair.
These prestigious positions allow departments to recognize the work of excellent professors who are already part of the faculty, or create new programs and positions in areas of potential growth. Importantly, they are a secure source of funding during times of financial change, or through the ebb and flow of national research funding.
"The missions of education and research are often underfunded,” says Gregory Rouan, MD, Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Chair in Internal Medicine. "These gifts provide such a remarkable resource in recognizing excellence for chair holders, enabling us to retain and recruit faculty members and to innovate and succeed in our research mission.”
UC’s Department of Internal Medicine holds 18 endowed chairs, which Rouan calls an impressive number for a department at a public university. He says the positions have allowed the department to support talented faculty in less prominent fields.
For example, the Richard W. and Sue P. Vilter Chair was given to Professor of Medicine Eric Warm, MD, in recognition of his national prominence in Graduate Medical Education training. As a chair, Warm has been able to continue developing innovative educational models in Cincinnati that are influencing educators across the nation.
"We are grateful for this support as we carry out the missions of the department and accomplish our vision of enhancing the health and health outcomes of our local and global community,” says Rouan.
Setting the Stage for Growth
The financial support and recognition of an endowed chair can not only help departments retain talented professors at the College of Medicine but also can set the foundation for faculty to build a new area of study.
Through the Kautz Family Foundation, alumnus and former chair of the UC Foundation Jim Kautz created the Endowed Chair of Geriatric Medicine Education to support a subspecialty in UC’s Department of Family Medicine.
Kautz says he created the chair both to honor Professor of Family Medicine Gregg Warshaw, MD, and to enable the department’s geriatric program to continue to grow. He met Warshaw when his late wife, Carol, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
"Dr. Warshaw was a combination of a brilliant physician and compassionate guide as we searched for answers on an extremely difficult journey,” says Kautz. "I believe that, ultimately, there will be a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Until then, our endowed chair will continue to provide funds to study and treat this ever-growing segment of our society.”
By increasing faculty support through an endowed chair, faculty leaders can develop new programs or centers of excellence to benefit patient care, education or research of a condition or disease.
Recruiting for Excellence
Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery Peter Stern, MD, says endowed chairs make it easier for departments to attract high-caliber physicians who can add to the department’s mission.
When the college conducts national searches to fill academic positions, he says they look for the "best and brightest,” and recognize that these faculty leaders are in high demand across the country.
Stern believes in the importance of endowed chairs so much that he worked with former residents, fellows and family members to fund a new position, the Peter J. Stern, MD Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery. The UC Board of Trustees approved the chair at its Feb. 19 meeting.
"The best way for us to maintain a strong orthopaedic department at UC is to have endowed chairs,” he says. "I’d like to see basic research be an area of growth in our department, and endowments provide a financial underpinning for our faculty to conduct this important work.”
The Ward E. Bullock Endowed Chair in Infectious Diseases was another chair created by a faculty member passionate about improving scholarship in his own field. Ward Bullock, MD, headed the infectious diseases division within the college from 1980 to 1994, additionally serving as senior associate dean of the college from 1989 to 1991.
In 2007, Bullock gave the university a $1 million endowment to develop an endowed chair in the division. He died later that year, following a 45-year career in medicine.
His wife, Charlotte Brooks, says Bullock was very successful in gaining National Institutes of Health funding for his research throughout his career and understood just how crucial that funding could be for an academic physician.
The chair was officially established in 2011 due to gifts from Brooks, friends of the family, colleagues and the department of internal medicine. UC Associate Professor of Medicine George Smulian, MD, was named the first recipient of the chair.
Brooks said it was fitting, since Bullock recruited Smulian to UC and train him—and since Smulian studies histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that affects the lungs and the same disease that Bullock studied.
"Ward wanted to do something significant with his gift,” she says. "He knew it would always be well-used in in the division of infectious disease and I know Ward would be very, very happy that George has the chair.”
For more information about current endowed chairs or to establish an endowed chair, contact Mike Zenz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-558-3355.
Proudly Cincinnati Endowed Chairs
Since it started, the Proudly Cincinnati campaign has led to the establishment or completed funding of 22 endowed chairs:
Established in 2002, funded during Proudly Cincinnati
Virgilee & Oliver W. Waddell Chair in Multiple Sclerosis
Henry W. & Margaret C.Neale Endowed Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Established in 2006:
The Anonymous Endowed Chair
Dr. Ira A. Abrahamson, Jr. Endowed Chair of Pediatric Ophthalmology
Dr. Stanley M. & Mickey Kaplan Endowed Chair in Psychiatry
Established in 2007:
Drs. Diya F. Mutasim & Hugh M. Gloster, Jr. & Harry L. Claassen Endowed Chair of Dermatology
Ward E. Bullock Endowed Chair for Research & Education in Infectious Diseases
The Bob and Sandy Heimann Endowed Chair in the Research and Education of Alzheimer's Disease
Robert Lukin Endowed Chair of Neuroradiology
Carl H. & Edyth Lindner Endowed Chair of Colon and Rectal Surgery
Established in 2008:
The Endowed Chair, Cincinnati Cancer Center
W. Brian Gibler Endowed Chair for Education in Emergency Medicine
John M. Tew, Jr. MD Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology
Established in 2009:
Evelyn V. Hess, MD Endowed Chair for Lupus Research
James J. & Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorders Endowed Chair
Peter A. Stern Chair in Orthopaedics
Established in 2010:
Alice W. & Mark A. Brown Chair in Internal Medicine
Established in 2011:
The Advancement of Academic Emergency Medicine Endowed Chair
Harold C. Schott Endowed Brain Tumor Molecular Therapeutics Chair
Established in 2012:
Edward J. (Mel) Otten Chair for Education in Emergency Medicine
Taylor Asbury, MD Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology
Established in 2013:
The Endowed Chair of Geriatric Medical Education