CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to Keynote Advocate Christ Medical Center's 'Salute' Gala

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It will be the "partiest party" in Chicago -- Salute 2012 -- with all proceeds going to modernize the Advocate Christ Medical Center campus. CNN's Sanjay Gupta is one of the evening's headliners.

In black tie fashion and with less than a month to go, multiple Emmy-award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is pressing his tuxedo, preparing to deliver the keynote address for Advocate Christ Medical Center’s annual Salute fund-raising event – one of the largest programs of its kind in the Chicago area. This year’s red carpet gala, to be held May 5 in the United Club at Chicago’s historic Soldier Field, will generate proceeds for the modernization of the medical center campus, including a $202 million, nine-story Outpatient Pavilion now under construction.

“New medical center facilities and cutting-edge technology are necessary to keep pace with medical advancements and meet the modern standards of one of the nation’s leading health care networks,” said Wilfred Boarden, MD, chair of anesthesiology at Christ Medical Center and a physician with the Chicago-based Midwest Anesthesiologists, Ltd., which presented the medical center with a $250,000 sponsorship gift for the 2012 Salute. “We were pleased to provide the lead gift to help construct a new, next-generation hospital on this campus, so that we can continue providing the highest quality care as a health care leader and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest.”

According to this year’s Salute co-chairs, Christine Dannhausen-Brun of Hinsdale, Ill. and Asta Razma of Chicago and Palos Park, Ill., the “Mission Possible”-themed event will showcase what can be done when people come together to accomplish something extraordinary. Chicago’s own Rob Johnson, a CBS television news anchor, will serve as emcee for the event. The evening will include a live painting demonstration by Elliott From of Artbeat Live.

“We expect Salute to be a sell-out event for the second year, attracting more than 1,000 guests. It is a fun event for a great cause,” said Christine Dannhausen-Brun. She added that “planning an event like this is very rewarding because, at the end of the day, we know the proceeds are going to have an immediate impact on the medical center’s expansion efforts and the lives of those whom the campus serves.”

Mel Wichter MD, chair of the neurology department and co-medical director of the Neurosciences Institute at Christ Medical Center, will be the physician honoree at this year’s Salute. Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann will be recognized as “Outstanding Community Leader Honoree” for his significant and ongoing support of the medical center.

“What’s rewarding for me and the committee is that Salute 2012 has been generating an incredible amount of excitement, especially among longtime physicians, staff, and community supporters of our medical center,” said Asta Razma.

Salute will include a “live” auction. Among the featured items are tickets to the 2013 Super Bowl, 2013 People’s Choice Awards and Madonna’s sold-out September concert at the United Center in Chicago.

Christ Medical Center opened as Christ Community Hospital in a six-story building with fewer than 200 patient beds on March 22, 1961. At that time, John F. Kennedy was president of the United States and the Ford Mustang was several years away from production. By 1966, the hospital, which fronted 95th Street at Kostner Avenue in Oak Lawn, was already adding three more floors to its structure to meet community health care needs.

Today, now known as Advocate Christ Medical Center and Hope Children’s Hospital, the campus is a 690-bed, not-for-profit premier teaching and research institution, with more than 1,000 physicians and some 5,500 associates, serving as a major tertiary and quaternary care referral hospital for Illinois and the Midwest and excelling in such clinical specialties as cancer care, treatment of heart and vascular disease, heart and kidney transplantation, neurosciences, orthopedics, pediatrics and women’s health. The medical center has earned national and international recognition in the treatment and correction of heart defects in infants and children, robotic heart surgery, the use of mechanical assist devices to support failing hearts and advanced surgical techniques, including minimally invasive surgery and laparoscopic surgery.

Salute tickets are $350 each, and tables of 10 are $3,000; a portion of that amount will be tax-deductible. Gala sponsorships also are still welcome. More information and tickets are available by contacting Margo Cusic at 708-684-3764 or visiting

Editor’s Note: If you are interested in an electronic photo of Dr. Sanjay Gupta and or Rob Johnson, please contact Toni Gardner at toni(dot)gardner(at)advocatehealth(dot)com.

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