CINCINNATI – A $2 million gift from the estate of Evelyn V. Hess, MD, will support a dedicated lupus researcher in the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology at University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine.
Hess (married name: Evelyn Howett) achieved international renown for a distinguished research career focused across the broad spectrum of immunological and rheumatic diseases, with particular expertise in lupus. She died Dec. 25, 2015.
During her lifetime, Hess gave back more than $600,000 to UC. Her estate gift fully funds the Evelyn V. Hess, MD, Endowed Chair of Lupus Research. A recipient is expected to be named during the next year.
"Dr. Hess advanced lupus research here at the UC College of Medicine and around the world,” said Gregory Rouan, MD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor of Medicine. "The Evelyn V. Hess, MD, Endowed Chair of Lupus Research will honor her memory and continue her vital work, ultimately improving the lives of many affected by the chronic disease.”
The Lupus Foundation of America
estimates that lupus affects at least 5 million people worldwide. The chronic, autoimmune disease is most common in women of childbearing age and more than 16,000 new cases are reported annually in the United States.
"The Evelyn V. Hess, MD, Endowed Chair of Lupus Research will be tasked with pursuing ground-breaking research to advance lupus treatment and care,” said William Ball, MD, senior vice president for health affairs, Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the UC College of Medicine
. "Together with UC Health, our college is committed to leading health improvements in our local and global community. It starts with research, it ends with premier care.”
In 1969, Hess founded the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology
at UC. Her trailblazing work on the environmental aspects of lupus advanced this area of investigation. She was equally known as a compassionate clinician and extraordinary teacher. Widely respected as "the doctor's doctor," her contributions to the well-being of patients and the community have been recognized throughout the world.
"The University of Cincinnati is fortunate to have benefited from the long career of Dr. Hess, a true pioneer in lupus research who improved countless lives,” said UC Interim President Beverly Davenport. "The Evelyn V. Hess, MD, Endowed Chair of Lupus Research is a tribute to her work, will continue what she started and will lift the University and College of Medicine to new heights.”
Today, UC’s Division of Immunology Allergy and Rheumatology consists of two sections: allergy and rheumatology. Its mission centers on teaching, patient care and research. Patient care is performed at the two major teaching institutions—UC Medical Center and Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center—plus two community-based practice settings. Six staff physicians participate in patient care administering to over 10,000 patient visits per year.
"Our division focuses on basic and clinical immunology,” said William Ridgway, MD, director of the UC Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology and professor of medicine. "Through education, patient care and research, we strive to advance understanding of allergic and autoimmune disease.”
"Dr. Hess’ generous estate gift fully supports a research position at the UC College of Medicine now and forever – the implications for lupus research, treatment and care are immense,” said UC Foundation President Rodney Grabowski. "The Evelyn V. Hess, MD, Endowed Chair of Lupus Research will not only improve lives in Cincinnati and beyond but will ensure Dr. Hess’ incredible legacy and work lives on.”