On May 31, 2023, UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block and Carol Block hosted a dinner at their residence recognizing the establishment of the Nancy and Jonathan Glaser Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Sarcomas. Jonathan (Jon) Glaser is an investment professional and a member of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Board of Advisors; Dr. Nancy Glaser (RES ’95)is a psychiatrist, founding chair and a current member of the Board of Advisors of the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, and a board member of both the Friends of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Dr. Noah Federman (RES ’05, FEL ’08), director of the Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at UCLA, has been named the inaugural chair holder.
Four years ago, the Glasers’ youngest daughter, Aerin, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Typically, 400-to-500 new cases of rhabdomyosarcoma occur in the United States each year, most of them in children. Along with the endowed chair, the Glasers also established a pediatric sarcoma research fund, with the hope of bringing leading-edge research to the clinic in support of other families who find themselves on this difficult and complicated journey.
Dr. Federman has been treating Aerin since her diagnosis. Jon Glaser remembered his immediate impression that Dr. Federman was extremely kind and gifted, saying, “He sees hundreds
of patient families, but he makes each of them feel like the only one.”
Dr. John C. Mazziotta (RES ’81, FEL ’83), vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, presented Dr. Federman with his commemorative chair. Dr. Federman said that at the start of his career, he knew he wanted to focus on the roughly 20% of childhood cancers that are currently incurable, mostly sarcomas. He came to UCLA 20 years ago and was able to found the pediatric sarcoma program with the support of another donor couple in attendance, Melissa and Timothy Pennington. Dr. Federman noted the clinical program is one of the busiest in the country, and that researchers have successfully brought a new drug to market, with more in the pipeline.
Dr. Federman expressed gratitude to the Glaser family and his deep admiration for Aerin, who was also in attendance. “She is brave, talented, artsy, kind and determined,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr. Mazziotta noted how endowed chairs create a special bond between the donors, chair holder and university — a relationship that typically lasts for the chair holder’s entire career. “Endowed chairs amplify our research and how we care for patients, and the support provides valuable time for creative, innovative work,” he said.
UCLA leadership in attendance included Johnese Spisso, MPA, president of UCLA Health, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences, and Dr. Steven M. Dubinett (RES, ’84), dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The Glasers also were joined by family, friends, UCLA faculty and other UCLA supporters, including Jo Champa, Victor Coleman, Cece and Bill Feiler, Sharon and Herb Glaser, Vicky and Chip Goodman, Laurie and Steven Gordon, Terry Hyman Hamermesh, Lisa Kudrow and Andrea and Peter Roth.