The cardiology division of UCSD’s School of Medicine received a holiday gift of its own Dec. 20 when local philanthropists Judith and Jack White donated $1.1 million to create the Judith and Jack White chair in cardiology.
The donation, upon its ratification by the UCSD Academic Senate, will be the largest of its kind in UCSD history.
“”We trust the institution and its people,”” White said. “”We hope our contributions will give more resources for faculty to pursue opportunities to address the problems of heart disease.””
The gift brought immediate praise from UCSD officials, who said the donation would provide welcome support for UCSD’s educational and research programs in cardiac medicine.
“”Their endowment will benefit the millions who suffer from the devastating effects of heart disease by advancing our efforts to improve prevention and treatment of the nation’s No. 1 killer,”” said cardiologist Dr. Anthony DeMaria, chief of the division of cardiology.
For the Whites, who have been involved with the UCSD Cardiovascular Center for four years and sit on the center’s Board of Directors, the donation had personal implications.
“”This endowment is in honor of our family members who have had heart diseases,”” White said. The Whites have lost relatives to heart disease, including Judith’s father who was an internal medicine physician who specialized in cardiology.
The Whites believe in endowments because they directly help UCSD in attracting and supporting the best doctors and researchers, such as DeMaria, who also serves as president of the American College of Cardiology and of the American Society of Echocardiology.
DeMaria is held in the highest esteem by the Whites, who stated, “”We have great regard for Dr. DeMaria personally and professionally. We also have a great regard for the tremendous research he performs in cardiology at UCSD.””
The endowed chair will help UCSD researchers with support for their projects.
Specifically, the endowed chair will help support the projects of UCSD researchers such as DeMaria, who is developing less invasive ways to measure coronary blood flow to the heart and to detect abnormalities.
This is accomplished by replacing traditional catheters with noninvasive gas bubbles, which are the size of red blood cells.
The gas bubbles are inserted into an artery, which can then be used to detect problems with the heart.
As UCSD’s medical centers expand, the need to attract and retain the best doctors and researchers becomes crucial in creating a world-class medical center. UCSD is currently undergoing an expansion of its medical facilities, including plans to create a cancer center and a new cardiac center, as well as expanding the Shirley Eye Center.
The Whites have lived in la Jolla for over 25 years and are one of 83 UCSD endowed chairs.
Philanthropists such as the Whites are helping raise money for the new centers.
Those who wish to help fight heart disease may attend the Heart of San Diego Gala, a dinner dance at the U.S. Grant Hotel on Feb. 10. Tickets are available from Salah Hassanein, who can be contacted at (619) 543-3755.