UCLA Neurosurgery Goes Hog-Wild Over Actor-Comedian Tim Allen; Film and TV Star to Receive Rodney Dangerfield Legacy Award

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Mark Wheeler
(310) 794-2265

The division of neurosurgery at UCLA Medical Center announced today that actor and comedian Tim Allen will receive the Rodney Respect Award Oct. 4 at its 2007 Visionary Ball fundraiser in Beverly Hills.

One of the leading forces in television and film comedy, Allen starred in the award-winning ABC sitcom "Home Improvement" and the popular "Santa Clause" films. Other credits include the computer-animated "Toy Story" films and the 2007 comedy "Wild Hogs."

The late comedian and actor Rodney Dangerfield successfully underwent rare and technologically difficult "brain bypass" surgery at UCLA Medical Center in 2003 to improve brain blood flow impaired by a blockage in his right carotid artery. The Rodney Respect Award, presented by the comedy legend's widow, Joan Dangerfield, recognizes comedians who embody her late husband's extraordinary professional legacy and devotion to making a difference in the lives of others. Jay Leno, host of NBC's "Tonight Show," received the first award in 2005.

"Rodney has our full respect and gratitude for the wonderful relationship he forged with the division of neurosurgery at UCLA, and his wife, Joan, continues to provide invaluable support," said Dr. Neil Martin, professor and chief of neurosurgery at UCLA. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize Rodney Dangerfield's legacy and Tim Allen's many achievements with the 2007 Rodney Respect Award."

The Visionary Ball will raise money to help advance neurosurgical research, education and patient care at the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which will replace UCLA's current Westwood hospital in 2008. Much of the neurosurgery division's latest technology, including a remote-presence robot used by doctors in the neurosurgical intensive care unit, will be on display.

The benefit is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel, with a VIP cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. and dinner, awards and entertainment at 7:30 p.m. Guests will also have an opportunity to experience two interactive health care technologies: the aforementioned RP-7 Remote Presence Robot for patient care manufactured by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based InTouch Technologies and a portable health care information system manufactured by San Diego-based VisionTree Software. Cost is $500 per ticket. For additional information about the event or to purchase tickets, members of the public should call (323) 904-4400.

The division will also recognize two Los Angeles leaders, in medicine and business, with 2007 Visionary Awards at the event:

·         Michael Phelps, Ph.D., Norton Simon Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, is actively engaged in medical research, educational programs and multimedia technologies at UCLA. Phelps is the original inventor of positron emission tomography (PET) a molecular imaging technique used in the early detection of cancer, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease and for the evaluation of therapeutic responses.

·         Peter Morton, co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe, the world's first restaurant chain devoted to rock music, and its sibling, the Hard Rock Hotel, Peter Morton long ago achieved a reputation as a visionary, yet one as modest and restrained as his worldwide brand is colorful and boisterous. Today, 35 years after opening the first Hard Rock Cafe in London, he continues to distinguish himself not only as a quietly effective entrepreneur but as a committed philanthropist and environmentalist.

In addition, Edie Baskin Bronson and Skip Bronson have been named Honorary Chairman's Sponsors in recognition of their profound commitment to UCLA Neurosurgery. The Bronsons have demonstrated extraordinary generosity to Dr. Martin by supporting his Neurovascular Research Program, an internationally recognized research initiative for the management of vascular diseases of the brain and spinal cord. 

UCLA Medical Center is a nonprofit, self-supporting 668-bed hospital providing patient care in all medical specialties. It is the primary teaching hospital for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The division of neurosurgery carries a continuing commitment to provide excellence in leadership in the major disciplines of neurosurgery. Neurosurgery Centers of Excellence have been established in brain injury, brain tumors, epilepsy surgery, neurovascular surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, spinal and peripheral nerve surgery, and stereotactic and functional neurosurgery. Other developing programs include neuroendoscopy, hydrocephalus, interventional magnetic resonance surgery and neurological critical care.

UCLA Medical Center has ranked as the best hospital in the Western United States for 18 consecutive years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey that reviews patient outcomes data, reputation among physicians and other care-related factors. UCLA Medical Center is the only Southern California hospital to earn a spot on the magazine's "honor roll" rankings during all 18 years U.S. News has conducted the survey. The hospital ranked No. 3 nationally in 2007. The honor roll recognizes hospitals that demonstrate excellence across many specialties. UCLA Medical Center's clinical neuroscience program, which includes neurosurgery, consistently ranks among the survey's top 10 nationally.

-UCLA-

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Media Contact:
Mark Wheeler
(310) 794-2265
[email protected]