MILWAUKEE BREWERS PRINCIPAL OWNER MARK ATTANASIO AND HIS WIFE, DEBBIE, made a $1 million commitment to support the new Innovation in Geriatric Medicine Fund at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Under the direction of Dr. Brandon Koretz (RES ’99, FEL ’00), co-chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics and James and Carol Collins Chair in Geriatric Medicine, the fund will provide unrestricted resources for early-stage research, physician training and education and clinical programs.
According to Mark Attanasio, the family contributed to UCLA out of gratitude for the care UCLA Health has provided for his family, particularly his mother. Dr. Eric Esrailian (FEL ’06), chief of the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and The Lincy Foundation Chair in Clinical Gastroenterology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is an enthusiastic advocate of the geriatrics program and told the family about the fund. Upon learning about the new Innovation in Geriatric Medicine Fund, the family was eager to support Dr. Koretz’s vision for fostering health care innovation and resiliency research.
“Our family sees the Innovation in Geriatric Medicine Fund as an opportunity to make both an immediate and long-term difference in responding to the growing need for high-quality geriatric care,” Attanasio said. “We strongly believe our society must elevate the elderly and value their wisdom and love. They should be cherished and not forgotten.”
The seed funding provided by the gift will advance the work of geriatricians and support research that will help them gain a better understanding of aging and develop interventions that promote healthful aging. Current research underway at UCLA that may benefit from this funding includes studies of the links between social and biological factors that determine a person’s health, and how these shape health outcomes, aging and the life course; how economic and social development interact with genetics and epigenetics; and how long-term social trends shape population trends in mortality and health. Other areas cover mitochondrial-DNA-deletion mutations that may be predictors of physical performance in older adults.
Supporting pioneering research is a vital part of UCLA’s efforts to retain outstanding faculty members and advance knowledge in the field, which in turn will help prepare physicians across the country to care for a growing elderly population. By 2030, about 70 million Americans — approximately 20% of the population — will be 65 years of age or older, which could seriously strain the nation’s health care system.
“The Innovation in Geriatric Medicine Fund will advance a variety of efforts to improve the health of older adults, from accelerating fundamental research and developing new diagnostics and therapeutics to building a pipeline of future geriatrician-scientists,” Dr. Koretz said. “By supporting these efforts, this generous gift from the Attanasio family will help UCLA improve care and quality of life for older adults in Los Angeles and around the world.”
Attanasio is the cofounder and managing partner of Los Angeles based Crescent Capital Group, LP. In addition to health care initiatives, he and Debbie Attanasio are actively involved in numerous philanthropies focused on underprivileged youths, high school and higher education, the arts and Jewish and Catholic communities.
They have instilled similar philanthropic values in their children. For example, their son, Mike, joined with several professional athletes to launch California Strong, which raises funds for those in need following natural disasters and other tragic events. The organization contributed to UCLA Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by donating funds, distributing grants and, with the Wahlburgers restaurant chain, organizing hospital meal deliveries.
For more information, contact Nora McCarl at: 310-210-5795.