STEWART AND LYNDA RESNICK FUND SPECIALIZED CARDIAC TRAINING FOR NURSES Stewart and Lynda Resnick have contributed $500,000 to further training, professional development and self-care for nurses in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. This comes at a crucial time, when the current shortage of clinical staff, especially among experienced nursing specialists, has been worsened by the emotional and physical demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift supports the acquisition of a new simulation manikin and other training tools that enhance proficiency among this specialized team of nurses. In addition, this funding established the Resnick Nursing Scholarship, which will enable clinicians to attend national conferences to continue building their expertise and disseminate what they learn among their colleagues, and provides resources for an annual symposium for cardiac nursing that will give nurses more opportunities to increase their clinical and decisionmaking skills.
Stewart and Lynda Resnick, through their business The Wonderful Company, also provided care packages for more than 700 nurses who work in the unit. “Lynda and I understand the sacrifices nurses make every day,” Stewart Resnick, alumnus and longtime UCLA supporter said of the gift. “We want to acknowledge the exceptional care these nurses provide by ensuring they have opportunities to build new skills, while providing the best care in the nation. We are grateful for the work nurses do every day with selflessness, dedication and passion.” In recognition of the gift, UCLA Health named a nurses station on the cardiac unit in the medical center for the Resnicks as a visual reminder of the resources invested in nurse training. For more information, contact Ellen Haddigan-Durgun at: 310-206-3878.
IMPROVING CARDIOVASCULAR CARE A $225,000 contribution, facilitated through the Lawrence and Annette Ades Unitrust, has established the Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Support Fund. Under the direction of Dr. Ali Nsair (FEL ’10, FEL ’11), director of the UCLA Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, the fund will advance groundbreaking research, innovative clinical care and training to improve cardiovascular outcomes for patients living with advanced heart failure. Dr. Nsair’s efforts in heart transplantation led UCLA to reach a milestone of 2,500 heart transplant surgeries, only the second heart transplant program in the United States to do so. For more information, contact Laurel Zeno at: 310-418-2364.
PAYING IT FORWARD Alumni from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA class of 1976 organized a mini reunion in October 2021 that raised $25,000 for their class scholarship fund. The alumni have set a grand goal of raising $1 million for their scholarship fund. For more information, contact Emily McLaughlin at: 310-794-4763.
Class of ’76 alumni at the mini reunion. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Randy Johnson (’76)
HELPING HEAL WOUNDED WARRIORS Lynn Booth has directed a gift of $500,000 from the Otis Booth Foundation to benefit the surgical and physical-injuries programs of Operation Mend. "Our young people put their lives on the line for us, and we should help them in any way we can,” she said. Established in 2007 as a partnership between UCLA Health and the United States military, Operation Mend continues to address ongoing complex reconstructive needs of service members injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
“The lifeblood of the program is the generous financial support we receive from our friends and partners across the nation,” said Dr. Christopher Crisera (RES ’04, FEL ’05), executive medical director of Operation Mend. For more information, contact Nicholas Middlesworth at: 310-206-2089.
BLENDING GIFTS FOR BLENDED HEALTH CARE Jessica Iclisoy and Beth Friedman have each given a $75,000 gift to support a fellow in the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM), which blends the best of Western medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to provide safe and effective health care. The fellowship, under the direction of Dr. Katie Hu (RES ’15, FEL ’17), “emphasizes practical clinical training and prepares physicians for board certification in integrative medicine utilizing TCM modalities,” said Friedman. “These evidence-based integrative therapies are key to wellness, and I am excited to see how the fellowship program develops,” said Iclisoy. For more information, contact Lori Gremel at: 310-869-2774.
ADVANCING MEDICAL INNOVATION IN CARDIAC SURGERY A bequest of $953,000 from the Bert M. Dahl Trust, Patsy Weedon Charitable Remainder Trust, Lanny B. Clifton Charitable Remainder Trust and Mildred O’Neal Dahl Trust is enabling the UCLA Division of Cardiac Surgery to spearhead pioneering research under the direction of Dr. Richard J. Shemin, chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery and Robert and Kelly Day Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery. The funding will help ensure that UCLA remains at the forefront of medical innovations in cardiac surgery, where scientific discovery translates to lifesaving procedures for countless patients. “The future is bright for the development of groundbreaking treatments for cardiac diseases,” said Dr. Shemin. “We are grateful for the Dahl family’s shared commitment to advance innovations in the treatment of cardiac diseases.” For more information, contact Laurel Zeno at: 310-418-2364.
SUPPORTING LOWVISION PATIENTS THROUGH ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY Hana and Kelvin Davis have contributed $100,000 to UCLA Stein Eye Institute to establish the Hana and Kelvin Davis Low Vision Fund. The gift was made in honor of Dr. Jennie Kageyama (FEL ’00) for her dedication to the innovative programs of the Vision Rehabilitation Center. The fund will provide visual assistive devices not covered by insurance for those who cannot afford them, training for low-vision patients to improve their accessibility of screen-based technology and the use of a socially assistive robot for research. The family’s previous gifts to Stein Eye have benefited the UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic and the research of Dr. Steven Schwartz (RES ’92). For more information, contact Joy Kruger at: 310-825-3381.
Socially assistive robot. Photo: Courtesy of UCLA Stein Eye Institute
GIFT ESTABLISHES EDGERTON FOUNDATION FUND FOR PANCREATIC CANCER RESEARCH The Edgerton Foundation made a contribution to the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, creating a named fund under the direction of Dr. Timothy Donahue (RES ’09), chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The donation will support Dr. Donahue’s efforts to develop new treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer, which has a median survival of approximately one year and a fiveyear survival rate in the U.S. of 9%. “A radical shift in pancreatic-cancer research and care is imperative to improve the survival of patients with this devastating disease,” said Dr. Donahue. “I am hopeful about our research and clinical trials and grateful for the philanthropy that supports this essential work.” For more information, contact Margaret Steele at: 310-968-0734.
SUPPORTING CRITICAL CARE AND RESEARCH Through the Omaze platform, $925,000 was granted by Charities Aid Foundation America to support the President’s Strategic Fund/UCLA Health, the UCLA ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) Program and research activities that will advance medical care and patient outcomes.
The Mobile ECMO Transport Service, which utilizes a newly purchased ECMO-equipped ambulance, will provide treatment to critically ill individuals whose lungs and hearts are not functioning properly. The funding will also benefit research efforts in cardiac surgery and endocrine surgery and the work of Dr. Peyman Benharash (MD ’02, RES ’08, FEL ’10), director of UCLA Adult ECMO Services and associate professor-in-residence of surgery and bioengineering, and Dr. Michael Yeh, director of the UCLA Endocrine Center. For more information, contact Laurel Zeno at: 310-418-2364.