NEW YORK, March 19, 2008 - The Russell Berrie Foundation has donated $28 million to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, as part of a focused effort to provide comprehensive care to diabetes patients while working, through concentrated research initiatives, toward a cure, the Medical Center gratefully announced today.
The nation's fifth leading killer, diabetes is a disease in which the body's failure to regulate glucose, or blood sugar, can lead to fatal complications. It affects more than 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association. Moreover, a recent study showed that caring for the type 2 epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year, nearly as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined.
This generous gift continues the Berrie Foundation's exceptional commitment to diabetes research and treatment. Spanning ten years, the Foundation's total support exceeds $63 million.
The Berrie Foundation's $28 million gift will be divided between Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Columbia University Medical Center's Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center will receive $21 million to fund non-reimbursed clinical care, a new professorship, new pilot research, a continuation of the Berrie Program in Cellular Therapies -- including an effort to create diabetes-specific embryonic stem cells -- and the Center's endowment. The gift also will challenge the Berrie Center to raise an additional $25 million in support. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia will receive $7 million to establish a Diabetes Heart Center of Excellence at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, focusing on the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.
"We are enormously grateful for the Berrie Foundation's commitment to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Their support is vital to the future of diabetes care and research - both here in New York City and across the nation and the world," said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences, dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University. "The generosity of the Berrie family will bring advances in clinical care to patients suffering from this disease in a targeted and timely way. This crucial support will enable the Berrie Center to continue to treat more than 12,000 patients per year with comprehensive, multidisciplinary care, while contributing to the body of knowledge about this disease through focused clinical and basic science research efforts all in the same state-of-the-art space that encourages collaboration between clinicians and scientists focused on the same goal -- curing diabetes."
"I take particular pleasure in the progress that the Berrie Center has made over the years, having had the good fortune of working with Russ and Angelica Berrie and their board in the early discussions that led to its establishment," said Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. "It is indeed exciting to see this further evolution of diabetes care at the Berrie Center and NewYork-Presbyterian, including our new focus on the link between diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes, unfortunately, can lead to the development of heart disease. Our Diabetes Heart Center will address that link, advancing innovative treatments to enhance the lives of patients and their families, and making a significant impact on a major public health problem."
The Berrie Foundation's interest in diabetes is personal. The late Russell Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie and Company, one of the world's leading suppliers of toys and gifts, helped found the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center of Columbia University Medical Center ten years ago. It is named after Mr. Berrie's mother, who, like Mr. Berrie, had diabetes. For his wife, Angelica Berrie, now the president of the Russell Berrie Foundation, these gifts keep alive their dreams of finding a cure for diabetes.
"Russ cared about people, regular people living their lives with diabetes," Mrs. Berrie said. "He wanted his giving to impact people's lives. What would matter to him most is the number of diabetes patients whose lives this support will transform. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center is truly a humanistic enterprise that is patient-centered and research-driven at the same time. It is a center without walls that offers cutting-edge research and total diabetes care to people from all over the world. Every single day, it improves the lives of people living with diabetes. With these daily advances toward excellence, Russ's dream of providing a holistic, caring environment for people with diabetes in world-class institutions is fulfilled."
The only comprehensive, multidisciplinary diabetes center in New York City, the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center integrates clinical care, research and education and is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence and innovation in the field of diabetes and its associated disorders. The clinical program of the Berrie Center cares for more than 12,000 adults and children with diabetes from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and includes one of the largest pediatric diabetes programs, one of the largest number of patients with adolescent-onset type 2 diabetes, and one of the largest insulin pump programs in the country. Since opening in 1998, the Berrie Center has been a leader in the recruitment of minority research subjects into diabetes clinical trials. The Center's research efforts, led by more than 50 Columbia University scientists, focus on the causes and cures of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and the prevention of complications from the disease. Columbia professors Robin Goland, M.D. and Rudolph Leibel, M.D., are co-directors of the Center.
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, nurses, dentists, and public health professionals at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree. Among the most selective medical schools in the country, the school is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York State and one of the largest in the country. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is among U.S. News & World Report's top 10 hospitals nationally, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and its academic affiliate, Weill Cornell Medical College.