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October 4, 2010
Charlotte, N.C. -- Officials at Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) today announced a major gift from the Leon Levine Foundation that will be a catalyst for major innovations in the delivery of cancer care in communities served by CHS facilities.
The Levine Cancer Institute (www.levinecancerinstitute.org) is made possible by a $20 million leadership gift from the Leon Levine Foundation, its largest gift to date. Additionally, to honor this extraordinary support from the Levine family, Carolinas HealthCare Foundation and community volunteers have pledged to raise $5 million in endowment funds in support of the Institute -- representing a total commitment of $25 million. All totaled, Carolinas HealthCare System plans to invest more than $500 million over a 10-year period, supplemented by local philanthropy in communities served by CHS facilities.
Joseph G. Piemont, President and Chief Operating Officer of CHS, said the first phase of development will include "the recruitment of nationally prominent leadership and medical teams, building on the outstanding base of medical teams that currently practice in the region."
It will also include, he said, "the start-up of new programs and treatment protocols that will significantly improve the quality of services available at CHS hospitals throughout the Carolinas."
Initial funding will be used to create an enlarged physical facility in Charlotte, expanding the Morehead Medical Plaza II building from one story to six. This expansion will provide a prominent and easily identifiable headquarters for the Institute on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center. Clinical activity there will focus heavily on rare and complex cancer conditions, in conjunction with extensive research and educational endeavors.
The Institute will also facilitate an extensive outreach effort to build upon the achievements of CHS-affiliated hospitals and providers, according to Dr. Roger Ray, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CHS.
Dr. Ray said the Institute will serve as a catalyst in sharing preventive strategies and best practices on a System-wide basis. In addition, it will foster easier access to clinical trials and shared access to the latest clinical research protocols.
In announcing the gift, Leon Levine noted that cancer is a disease that touches the lives of virtually every family in the United States. He said the time has come for Charlotte "to take a national leadership role in building a research and treatment model that provides enhanced benefits and offers more hope to greater numbers of people."
"Instead of focusing on a more tradition model of centralizing cancer services at a flagship hospital, the Carolinas HealthCare System approach seeks to do the opposite -- offering compassionate care at convenient locations using state-of-the-art equipment and protocols," said Mr. Levine. "This approach positions CHS and its partners among the most innovative providers in the nation."
Fulfillment of the current vision is expected to take a decade, according to CHS Chief Executive Officer Michael C. Tarwater. Mr. Tarwater said formation of the Institute provides a timely opportunity to ensure that all CHS communities can benefit from the strength of programs already developed and the expertise of physicians and other specialists already in place.
"The innovations introduced by Levine Cancer Institute are representative of an exciting model for detecting cancer, treating patients and conducting cancer research. Putting all the pieces into place at CHS will require commitment, foresight and teamwork on an unprecedented scale. With the support of our regional affiliates, physicians and community leaders like the Levines, I am confident of success and convinced that the long-term benefits for our patients will be truly extraordinary."
Leon Levine Foundation (www.leonlevinefoundation.org) is a private, independent foundation dedicated to improving the human condition in the areas of education, healthcare, Jewish religion, and human services. Since its inception in 1980, it has committed more than $75 million to a wide variety of charitable and not-for-profit organizations including Carolinas HealthCare System.
In addition to providing generous support for cancer, neurosciences, and cardiac programs, the Foundation provided a $10 million leadership gift to support creation of Levine Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2007. This gift was supplemented with an additional $5 million in matching grant support for the development of permanently endowed funds to enhance pediatric care in the Carolinas.
For more information contact CHS Office of Public Relations, 704-355-3141
For more information, contact: Public Information Department, P.O. Box 32861, Charlotte, NC 28232-2861, 704-355-3141.