Matching gift jump-starts O’Donnell Brain Institute’s Total Care Program
Brain diseases are complex. Their treatment sometimes feels just as complicated.
Oftentimes, when patients are undergoing treatment, their care teams span multiple specialists and include a litany of support staff, appointments, and paperwork.
Building on its reputation for excellent patient care, UT Southwestern Medical Center is making a big move to simplify things.
The new Total Care Program at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute is creating a more patient-centered experience across the entire health care team, from physicians and neurologists to social workers and billing professionals.
The initiative has already garnered a $5 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation. Founded by Edith and Peter O’Donnell, the organization made the original leadership gift to establish the O’Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern.
The Foundation’s latest donation provides a dollar-for-dollar match for new endowment gifts supporting the Total Care Program.
“The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute is one of the most important endeavors ever undertaken by UT Southwestern,” said William T. Solomon, President and CEO of the O’Donnell Foundation. “We believe that condition of care and assistance in navigating the health care system is critical for the well-being of both patients and their families.”
To date, UT Southwestern has received nearly $4.5 million toward the $5 million match. Opportunities remain for donors to support the Total Care Program and double the impact of their gift.
“While the researchers of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute work to find more effective treatments and cures for patients suffering from diseases of the brain, we want to ensure that our patients today are receiving the best comprehensive care now possible through a coordinated approach that integrates medical expertise with ancillary services,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.
In addition to the O’Donnell Foundation, other philanthropists have stepped forward to share in their support of the Total Care Program, which is designed to help patients and their families make more informed decisions. In support of the Total Care Program, the Hegi family contributed $1 million to establish the Hegi Family Patient and Caregiver Education Program.
“Our excitement for the Total Care Program stems from our family’s experiences dealing with both Parkinson’s and mild cognitive disorder,” said Peter Hegi, spokesman for the Hegi family and son of Jan and Fred Hegi.
Patients and their caregivers benefit from understanding their diagnosis and prognosis, making education an important part of the Total Care experience.
“When the family unit or care camp understands what a patient is going through, the love, empathy, and support for that person grows by leaps and bounds. Education is essential in a comprehensive care experience,” Mr. Peter Hegi said.
For more than four decades, Virginia “Ginny” Eulich has been an avid supporter of UT Southwestern. Mrs. Eulich’s latest gift recognizes the critical role that support services play in helping brain disease patients. Her gift of $500,000 has established the Ginny Eulich Patient Services Fund to support the Total Care Program.
“I’ve had very close friends who suffered with Alzheimer’s, and it made me want to do something about it,” said Mrs. Eulich, whose late husband was Dallas commercial real estate pioneer John Eulich. “I know the turmoil it can cause in a home for somebody who has it and for those who take care of loved ones.”
Patient navigators ease health care burdens by scheduling medical appointments and connecting patients with financial, legal, and social support.
As a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Milledge A.“Mitch” Hart III, Chairman of the Dallas-based Hart Group, knows how essential patient navigators are to patients and their families. He and his wife, Linda, committed a gift of $1.25 million to create the Linda and Mitch Hart Patient Navigator Program.
“Patient navigators are crucial caregivers, guiding patients and their families along their health care journeys,” said Mrs. Hart, who is Hart Group’s Vice Chairman, President, and CEO. “These knowledgeable professionals are vital to achieving the Total Care Program’s goal of exemplary patient care.”