Western Connecticut Health Network Celebrates Three Endowed Chairs with Major Gifts from Community Leaders

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Seven-figure philanthropic gifts from generous donors establishes endowed chairs in innovation and research and palliative care at Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) announced two transformational philanthropic gifts to establish endowed chairs in innovation and research and palliative care, and welcomed a new occupant to an existing endowed chair. WCHN now has an unprecedented ten endowed chairs.

In thanking the donors for their generous and deep commitment, John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN, said “This achievement not only speaks to the generosity of our donor community but also to the aspirational nature of our healthcare network, and is an expression of our long-term priorities and enduring commitment to excellence.”

Robert Bedoukian, Ph.D., of Redding, CT and president of Bedoukian Research, established the Bedoukian Endowed Chair in Innovation and Research with a $1 million gift from Bedoukian Research. The inaugural chair is Joann Petrini, Ph.D., MPH, executive director of Innovation and Research at WCHN.

According to Murphy, “Bedoukian Research’s leadership gift will stimulate new learning and innovation at WCHN, and advance our deeply held philosophy that learning, teaching, continuing education, and pioneering research are all vital to understanding the complexities of healthcare.” Bedoukian is a founding member of the WCHN Biomedical Research Advisory Board and now serves as Chair of the Innovation and Research Council.

Greg Smith of Westport, CT gave a seven-figure gift to advance WCHN’s Palliative Care Program through the establishment of the Andrew Cruz Endowed Chair in Palliative Care. Smith lost his cousin, Andrew, to colon cancer when Cruz was only in his 20s.

“My cousin was a caring and compassionate young man. It is my great privilege to honor his life through a gift in support of this important work,” he said. The inaugural chair is Damanjeet Chaubey, MD, the Medical Director of Palliative Care and Denial Management at WCHN.

Smith is president and CEO of Maplewood Senior Living, which owns and operates senior living communities throughout the country. He is a member of WCHN’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Norwalk Hospital Foundation Board. Smith said his volunteer work at WCHN has influenced his philanthropy and has given him a greater appreciation of the financial challenges involved in running a healthcare network.

WCHN also introduced Linus T. Chuang, MD, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as the new occupant of the Fred and Irmi Bering Endowed Chair in Minimally Invasive Surgery. Dr. Chuang is also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. The late Fred Bering, of Redding CT, a long-time friend and supporter of WCHN, gave $2 million in 2008 to establish the Bering Endowed Chair.

“Our guiding philosophy of medical excellence and compassionate care is deeply rooted in our ties to the community and is fueled by the community’s philanthropic investment in our facilities, programs, and patient services. We are so grateful for their investments in furthering WCHN’s mission” said Murphy.

Murphy added, “Endowed chairs go far beyond improving WCHN’s level of care. They serve to enhance our healthcare network’s reputation and to attract and retain high-quality clinicians. These endowed chairs help to foster innovation and research and fund important, creative projects that imagine and shape the future.”

Endowed-chair donors become part of the fabric of WCHN through the establishment of an endowed chair. They leave a legacy of caring while honoring an outstanding medical professional for his or her accomplishments and vision.

Please contact the WCHN Foundation at 203-739-7227 for more information on WCHN’s endowed chairs.
About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premier, patient-centered healthcare organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, and Norwalk Hospital, and their affiliated organizations. The continuum of care offered includes numerous Western Connecticut Medical Group medical and subspecialty practices, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Danbury Hospital & New Milford Hospital Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation, and other affiliates. For more information, visit WCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital, Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital, and Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital.

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Andrea Rynn
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