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The Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research has selected UMass Medical School scientist Craig Ceol for its Kimmel Scholar program, the foundation announced in late May.
Using zebra fish as the experimental subject, Ceol studies the mechanisms of genetic regulation of the deadly skin cancer melanoma. His work may help explain the limitations of current therapies for melanoma. Ceol received a PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and came to UMass in 2010 after five years at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
Ceol is one of 15 scholars, including physicians, across the country, to receive a $200,000 cancer research award from this foundation. He is the only researcher in Massachusetts to receive the Kimmel award this year.
Sidney Kimmel, the organization's founder, is chairman of The Jones Group Inc., and president of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Each year, he meets with the Foundation's medical advisory board of cancer doctors and observes as they narrow down the applicants from a pool of approximately 150. Since 1997, Sidney Kimmel has contributed more than $550 million to cancer centers and cancer research and another $100 million to the arts and Jewish continuity. Kimmel is a member of Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, having already committed more than half of his net worth to charitable causes.
The Foundation is dedicated to improving the understanding of cancer biology and to developing new methods for the treatment and prevention of cancer. It principally supports the programs of cancer institutions and individuals that emphasize basic cancer research, the rapid translation of scientific concepts into preventative and potential therapeutic applications and clinical research with novel or innovative treatment technologies.
The Kimmel Scholar Awards were created to advance the careers of gifted, young scientists involved in cancer research. The foundation serves to jump-start the career of many exceptional young scientists. They often go on to receive millions of dollars in funding from the NCI and NIH and to make significant contributions in cancer research. Many report that they might never have achieved such success without first receiving a Kimmel grant.
Both the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Alliance Charitable Foundation and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation are supporting a new children’s asthma program at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Together, the foundations awarded grants totaling $20,000 in April to UMass Memorial for a home-based asthma reduction program to begin in the city’s Bell Hill neighborhood. In this program, a community health worker will visit selected families who have a child with moderate to severe asthma. The child may be missing school days due to this chronic illness. These children often end up in the emergency room with asthma attacks.
Similar programs in other urban areas across the country have helped families reduce their child’s asthma attacks with specialized cleaning products, with smoking reduction services for adult family members and with help to arrange home repairs to fight mold and allergens.
MMS grants support non-profit health organizations that offer community-based prevention, screening, early detection and health promotion. The foundation funds programs promoting healthy decision-making around behaviors and lifestyle choices and also, physician-led volunteer initiatives to provide free care to uninsured/underinsured patients.
Greater Worcester’s Fallon/OrNda Community Health Fund was established in 1996 with an endowment gift of $4 million from the sale of Saint Vincent Hospital by the Fallon Foundation, Inc. to OrNda Healthcorp. This fund is dedicated to advancing projects that increase access to healthcare or health promotion services for vulnerable populations.
Big Y Foods Inc. has awarded $15,000 to the Comprehensive Breast Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center. The Springfield-based company raised $194,000 for breast cancer related charities in 2012 through its Sixth Annual Partners of Hope Campaign.
The campaign promotes breast cancer screening, education and treatment through this highly successful campaign that raises funds at the company’s supermarkets.
The Big Y award will support a breast cancer surgery fellowship at UMass Memorial’s Breast Center. The one-year fellowship At UMass in Worcester attracts the top new breast surgeons who are committed to bringing the results of research to breast cancer patients.
Receiving the award for UMass Memorial this year was Breast Center Director Robert Quinlan, MD, along with Thomas P. McCullough, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the medical center. Quinlan accepted the check on Feb. 4 at the Holden Big Y, from store director Kristy Haley and Employee Service Representative Shelley Giguere.
In announcing the gift, Ms. D’Amour-Daley said, “Thank you for all you do for awareness, research and support of breast cancer. We know that both employees and our customers appreciate your efforts.”
The Comprehensive Breast Center at UMass Medicine offers professionals in surgery, oncology, diagnostic radiology, behavioral medicine, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, plastic surgery, nursing, social work and clinical psychology. Treatments for breast disorders include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, counseling, educational resources and support services.
John Merck Foundation has awarded $1 million in a three-year grant to support the work of Jeanne B. Lawrence, PhD, of UMass Medical School.
Lawrence is a professor of cell and developmental biology and pediatrics. Her laboratory studies the genetics of Down Syndrome from a novel perspective. The goal is to identify a method of gene therapy that would silence the extra chromosome that people with Down Syndrome have, and potentially reduce their disabilities.
This is one of three $1 million, multi-year grants awarded in late 2012 to U.S. medical research centers by this foundation. The foundation announced the grants in February, 2013.
Lawrence’s work matched the goal of John Merck Foundation’s 2011 initiative to promote research on treatments for people with developmental disabilities, particularly Down and Fragile X syndromes. The foundation expects to eventually award ten, $1 million grants for this initiative.
Terence R. Flotte, MD, Dean of UMass Medical School praised Lawrence, describing her as “an internationally recognized leader in the study of chromosome regulation by non-coding RNA and nuclear and genome organization.”
Marsha Mailick, chair of the fund's scientific advisory board explained to Philanthropy Digest how the foundation is looking for results that can alleviate suffering in the near future.
"What's especially exciting about [the Translational Research] Program,” she said, “is that it supports research with potential game-changing impact that is within the realm of probability — not just possibility — and could be achieved within ten years."
John Merck Foundation began in 1970 when the late Serena S. Merck founded The John Merck Fund, named for her son. Merck was the widow of George W. Merck, founder of the pharmaceutical company. For the first sixteen years, The Fund worked exclusively to support research into children’s developmental disabilities. Beginning in 1986, it added programs in other fields that also were of concern to Mrs. Merck and her husband. Today, the fund has four program areas:Developmental Disabilities, Clean Energy, Environmental Health and Regional Food Systems.
The Gerber Foundation of Michigan has awarded a three-year grant of $291,420 to UMass Memorial Medical Center co-investigators Penny Feldman, MD and Mary Lee, MD, to study thyroid dysfunction in infants with Down syndrome.
This is the first Gerber Foundation grant to the medical center. The foundation was started in 1952 by Daniel Gerber, Sr., the founder and innovator of the Gerber Baby Food Company. In 1994, the foundation became independent of the company, which is now part of Sandoz, LTD. In its history, the foundation has donated some $70 million to research infant nutrition and to support the community of Central Michigan.
Gerber, who died in 1974, set the tone for the foundation to support clinical research that will enhance the quality of life of infants to age 3 children in nutrition, care, and development. Of particular interest to the foundation is research that offers a substantial promise of meaningful advances in prevention and treatment of diseases and those with broad applicability to the general population.
For the UMass team, the goal is to identify the benefits of increased screening for under-active thyroid function on children with Down Syndrome, who are at increased risk for this condition. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be mild, but delayed treatment may affect the neurodevelopment of infants. The study will examine whether there is a benefit to monitoring Down Syndrome infants at intervals more frequent than currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, leading to more prompt treatment.
The Sarah Elizabeth O’Brien Trust has awarded $50,000 to the University of Massachusetts Medical School for a 2013-2014 Breast Surgery Fellowship.
The Breast Surgery Fellowship program began in 2008 and attracts outstanding post-doctoral physicians across the country, said UMMS Professor of Surgery Robert M. Quinlan, MD. Quinlan is also director of the Comprehensive Breast Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Since its formation in 1981, the O’Brien Trust has supported medical treatment and research in Massachusetts in the areas of cancer and blindness. The trust previously donated $21,000 to UMass Memorial’s cancer treatment program.
Bank of America’s Philanthropic Solutions group works for more than 22,000 nonprofit organizations, individuals, and families, across the nation, advising them on investment and also in mission-oriented grant-making.
Through its foundation and trusts under management, Bank of America has donated $780,000 to UMass Memorial Medical Center programs, from the Care Mobile to the Cancer Centers of Excellence to the Emergency Department’s Fast Track Unit.
The Borchard Foundation, Center on Law and Aging, has awarded a grant to two researchers with the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.
Rachel Gershon, J.D., M.P.H and Stephanie Anthony, J.D., M.P.H., received the grant for their research titled “Thinking Long-Term: An Evaluation of Financing Options for Long-Term Services and Supports.”
Gershon and Anthony are research policy analysts with the medical school’s Center for Health Law and Economics in Charleston.
The mission of The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging is, through education, research and service, to help improve the quality of life for elderly people, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability or other barriers. The center began in 1998 as an outgrowth of the California-based Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation. Since 2000, the foundation’s center has awarded up to four grants each year, up to $20,000 each, to further scholarship about new or improved public policies, laws and/or programs affecting the elderly.
Some 1,000 people working for a cure for a fatal disease, stepped off the Wakefield Common on Sept. 8 for The Angel Fund’s 11th Annual Walk of Hope for ALS. Forty-seven teams began their 3.5 mile hike after hearing the words of UMass Medical Chairman of Neurology Robert H. Brown Jr., MD, D.Phil, and following the release of doves signifying hope.
Angel Fund is a non-profit group, begun in 1997 by Ginny Delvecchio, herself an ALS patient who died in 1998. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is frequently called Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is a fatal neurological condition that causes all muscles to eventually fail. There is no known cure. In memory of these people who have died of ALS and in honor of their courage, the Angel Fund has raised more than $1 million for the Cecil B. Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, and the work of Dr. Brown.
Donors have breathed new life into the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
In addition to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England, five foundations contributed substantially toward the purchase of the new vehicle. They are: Fred Harris Daniels Foundation, Inc.; Fallon OrNda Community Health Fund; Greater Worcester Community Foundation; Hoche-Scofield Foundation and the Citizen’s Bank Foundation.
“For the past 11 years, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile has provided high-quality medical, dental and health education services for local, underserved children,” said Jim Garrett, President of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England.
The charity’s Executive Director Karen McEachern, praised RMHC’s retiring director Edie Stevenson for pursuing the dream of a mobile health unit that would bring health and dental care to the city’s poorest citizens. “It’s the tenacity of Edie’s will that brought the first care mobile, and this replacement as well,” Ms. McEachern said.
UMass Memorial Health Care President John O’Brien said the mobile unit, through its dedicated staff, has served more than 75,000 people in Worcester since the project began in 2000.
“Despite the fact that we have health care reform, and we think everybody has health care, they actually don’t,” O’Brien said. “Health care can be fairly foreboding, particularly for the immigrant community.”
UMass Memorial’s Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is a friendly face for citizens of Worcester who seek better health, he said.