A $3.5 million bequest from Liliane Elkins will establish a professorship and endow vital supportive care programs in the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center.
Matthew Loscalzo, L.C.S.W., administrative director of the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center and executive director in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine, will be the first holder of the Liliane Elkins Professorship in Supportive Care Programs.
|Matthew Loscalzo is the first holder of the Liliane Elkins Professorship in Supportive Care Programs. (Photo by Paula Myers)|
“This generous gift acknowledges the importance of supportive care medicine to patients and their families,” said Loscalzo, who also is a professor in the Department of Population Sciences. “As so many people live through the experience of cancer today, it is also a recognition of the significance of research into survivorship and quality of life.”
Elkins, who was born in France and most recently lived in Nevada, died in September 2008. Her bequest not only creates a $2 million endowed professorship, but also adds $1.5 million to the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center’s endowment. Interest from the endowment provides dependable funds for patient care, research and education, including learning opportunities for national and international colleagues.
“This professorship in supportive care is one of the very few in the country,” said Alexandra Levine, M.D., chief medical officer. “Having this endowed leadership position and a dependable source of funding through the endowment provides stability to our supportive care efforts and demonstrates that these programs will grow and thrive.”
The Department of Supportive Care Medicine comprises clinical social workers, patient navigators, physicians specializing in palliative care and pain management, psychologists, psychiatrists, chaplains, patient educators and other related health professionals.
The Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, located in the Main Medical Building, is the public space and face of the department, offering health information, healing arts programs, support and educational groups and other resources for patients and their family members.
In 2006, the Sheri & Les Biller Family Foundation provided a lead gift of $2 million to help establish the center.
“Increasing our endowment will be critical to providing important services to patients and families,” said Jay R. Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., the Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine. “We are grateful to Liliane Elkins for her generosity and consideration for the needs of those with cancer.”
As the endowment grows, funds will support new, innovative offerings in music and art therapy, Loscalzo said, as well as additional staff to create a new program in relationship preservation for couples affected by cancer or who are caring for a child with cancer. Plans call for integrative medicine and exercise programs, as well.
Center staff members also plan to expand their touch-screen screening, a standardized assessment of patients’ and families’ needs that is currently in use in City of Hope’s medical oncology clinic and will soon be piloted in hematology. They not only hope to offer screening throughout the medical center, but they also are collaborating with physicians to develop specialized screening tools for seniors and are seeking funding to extend the tools to children.
Leaders thanked donors for their dedication to the department’s vision. Said Loscalzo: “These gifts are a reflection of City of Hope’s unique commitment to making this the best program of supportive care services in the world.”