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Dartmouth announces landmark $10 million gifts towards academic clusters on health care and globalization

Dartmouth College

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IMAGE: The two gifts will fund 'academic clusters' that are central to President Phil Hanlon's institution-wide initiative to build on Dartmouth's areas of distinction. view more

Credit: Photo by Corinne Arndt Girouard.

Dartmouth has announced two landmark gifts that will engage faculty and students in tackling some of the world's greatest challenges and ultimately aim to improve the lives of people across the globe.

Richard "Dick" Levy '60 has committed $10 million to support a faculty team in health care delivery science--part of Dartmouth's effort to transform health care in the U.S. by developing strategies to curb costs while ensuring high-quality care and access.

A second $10 million gift, from an anonymous alumnus, will establish a faculty team focused on globalization and human well-being in societies around the world.

These "academic clusters" are central to President Phil Hanlon's institution-wide initiative to build on Dartmouth's areas of distinction. The cluster initiative recruits leading scholars to Dartmouth to conduct research and to teach as part of interdisciplinary teams focused on major global challenges. In partnership with peers and students across the campus and beyond, the new faculty will address global challenges in an interdisciplinary framework, enriching the experience of Dartmouth students, and further attracting top faculty and students to Dartmouth.

In early 2014, the College received a $100 million gift from an anonymous donor, and half of that gift is being used as a match toward the creation of academic clusters. Consequently, the two $10 million gifts announced today will be matched with a further investment of $5 million.

"Through the generosity and visionary leadership of two alumni donors, these academic clusters will help position Dartmouth as a worldwide leader in addressing two of the most important challenges of our time," says President Hanlon.

"Globalization is one of the great forces of this century, and we need to understand how it can drive positive change. And in the area of health care, we need leading thinkers to explore how we can control costs while ensuring delivery of outstanding care. Dartmouth can have a significant impact addressing both of these issues."

Levy's gift will support three faculty with expertise in health care implementation science--part of Dartmouth's larger strategy to lead a national transformation of health care. These faculty will marshal forces from across the College--including The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), the Geisel School of Medicine, and Thayer School of Engineering--to develop better strategies for understanding and improving health care delivery. Their research will develop and spread new models of care that control costs, empower patients, and deliver quality and value to both patients and providers.

Dartmouth faculty are already leaders in this field. Examples include developing the In SHAPE health-coaching model and leading work nationally that led to the implementation of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO), an innovative payment and delivery model. More than 700 ACOs have been established across the U.S., with strong public and private sector support.

"Dartmouth has long exhibited unique capabilities to conceptualize and demonstrate transformative improvements in the U.S. health system," says Levy. "The cluster system will harness additional intellectual resources to accelerate the transformation process and lead the country forward. I enthusiastically support Dartmouth's vision and strategy to fix our health system."

Levy has served as CEO and chairman of Varian Medical Systems and chairman of Sutter Health. He is also a founding member of Dartmouth's TDI Advisory Board.

"Dick and Sue Levy's gift will help us achieve our goal of making Dartmouth the preeminent academic institution leading the transformation of health care in the United States," says Elliott Fisher, director of TDI. "This is a major step forward that will have great impact across the institution, the nation, and the globe."

The anonymous gift to support the globalization cluster will establish professorships in economics and government and at the Tuck School of Business. The faculty recruited to this team will develop data, research, and analysis to help inform elected leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and others seeking innovative policies in areas such as rule of law and human rights.

"Dartmouth possesses internationally recognized expertise in the fields of economics, business, and government," says Provost Carolyn Dever. "With this bold gift, we can build on these strengths, and focus on providing nations with the information and tools that will leverage globalization to strengthen their societies and make them more democratic."

With these two gifts, Dartmouth has received funding for four of the 10 academic clusters it plans to endow by the end of 2015. The other endowed clusters are the William H. Neukom Academic Cluster in Computational Science, supported with a gift from William H. Neukom '64 and the Jack Byrne Academic Cluster in Decision Science at Dartmouth, funded with a gift from Dorothy Byrne in memory of her late husband.

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