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Transforming Medicine Campaign

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.
—Fyodor Dostoevsky

The why and how

By Barbra Alan

The Transforming Medicine Campaign for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth- Hitchcock Medical Center is the largest campaign ever for both organizations.Why is such an ambitious effort necessary?

While DMS and DHMC consistently rank among the nation's finest such institutions, this does not protect them from economic, political, and social pressures that threaten all academic medical centers. Profound changes are jeopardizing the funding Dartmouth can expect to receive from government and private payors.

"We simply can't keep doing more of the same," says Dr. Thomas Colacchio, president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic."We will find ways to operate ever more effectively and efficiently. . . . We are also working to stop further cutbacks in reimbursements, and to work constructively with policy-makers to address problems in the nation's health-care system."

Another key step is letting the communities served by DHMC and DMS know that their help is needed now more than ever, says Brian Lally, vice president for development. "Philanthropy plays a critically important role," Lally explains. "In looking for ways to continue developing our excellent services and medical education programs,we examined what it might take to sustain our healthy trajectory. It became very clear very quickly that bringing our community into the equation was necessary and hugely beneficial for us all."

"The rationale behind our campaign is not simply growth," says Dr. Stephen Spielberg, dean of DMS."The support we seek is for people, ideas, programs, and the associated facilities needed for us to continuously improve our service to those in need . . . based on the deep conviction that DMS and DHMC have responsibility for, and, in fact, have already begun, the process of transforming medicine."

As of mid-August 2005, commitments to the campaign had topped $106 million."This is an extraordinary response," Lally says."We have already exceeded totals we've raised in any previous campaign. Our community is with us, and for that we are very grateful." But, he notes, of the $250-million goal, $152 million is earmarked for endowment and capital projects." Historically, institutional funders have been DHMC's and DMS's primary benefactors. But to develop the level of funding we need for this campaign, we need a strong commitment from individuals as well," says Lally.

Assets that are invested for the long term are known as endowment. Only the income can be spent, leaving the principal to grow and ensure the institution's future stability. Endowment gifts support research initiatives; fund endowed chairs; and enhance the clinical academic environment.

Continuing contributions to the endowment from alumni, grateful patients, community members, and other friends are vital to sustaining DMS and DHMC's excellence for many years to come.

Robust and growing research and educational programs; atcapacity patient-care buildings; and aging labs, classrooms, and offices on the Hanover campus all drive the need to renovate and build facilities.

To meet these capital needs, Transforming Medicine is generating funding for a variety of projects, including new DMS facilities on the DHMC campus that will connect to the Borwell Research Building. The plans include a new home for Dartmouth's famous Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS), to enhance its educational programs and its effort to improve health-care delivery, and a new Translational Research Building (TRB), to house labs dedicated to interdisciplinary research in neuroscience, cardiovascular disease, immunology, infectious disease, and pulmonary disease.The new CECS and TRB will be connected to Borwell by the LeBaron Commons, a place where scientists and physicians can meet and share ideas.A $5- million leadership gift from Dean LeBaron will fund the Commons, which will be named in memory of LeBaron's father, Dr. Francis E. LeBaron.

While these projects have yet to break ground, other capital projects are up and running. A four-story expansion of the Rubin Building at DHMC was completed in 2003, nearly doubling the building's size. And Norris Cotton Cancer Center-North in St. Johnsbury, Vt., a collaborative effort by DHMC and seven other hospitals to bring advanced cancer care to the North Country, has just opened.

More than merely bricks and mortar, these buildings are the physical embodiment of the Dartmouth medical enterprise's extraordinary work and vision: to transform medicine and the lives of those patients we serve.

Annual giving
With all the talk of milliondollar gifts, it's easy to wonder where the smaller donor—who faithfully writes out a modest yearly check—fits in. Last fiscal year was among the most successful for both the Fund for Dartmouth Medical School, which raised $435,545, and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Annual Fund, which raised $722,543. While these two annual funds represent relatively small portions of the academic medical center's overall budget, the monies they raise are crucial, according to Annual Fund Director Amy Schrom.That's because, unlike endowment, they provide current-use funds.

Annual fund growth is especially important during a campaign, says Schrom, since it's the base of support for the future. Schrom hopes to see the annual funds reach $2 million a year by the campaign's end."This community is extremely generous and believes in our mission," she says."As we better communicate the value of annual fund gifts, more people will be inspired to give annually."

The future
"This campaign is about building on our strengths and accelerating our accomplishments to provide better care, more effective treatments, and more targeted therapies for our patients and our community," says Alfred Griggs, chair of the DHMC and MHMH Trustees. "Only with philanthropic dollars can we fulfill the extraordinary promise and potential of these great institutions."

"This is a time of real opportunity and real challenge," concludes Brian Lally."Part of being successful in any campaign is, first and foremost, people have to believe in it . . . believe in the institution, the mission, and want to be part of it.And that is happening. It's wonderful to see the Medical School, the Hospital, the Clinic, the College, and our community so united in this effort."

Raising the bar
The financial goal of the Transforming Medicine Campaign for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is to raise $250 million by 2009. Even more far-reaching is its goal of "raising the bar" in medicine. Of questioning assumptions—respecting tradition but not following it blindly. Of erasing boundaries—translating science from the lab bench to the bedside by connecting researchers with clinicians. Of creating solutions to the nation's most critical health-care issues. Of transforming medicine.

Anatomy of a goal
Gifts to the Transforming Medicine Campaign are building endowment reserves, enhancing programs and services, supporting learning and teaching in clinical settings, advancing medical education, and stimulating a stronger annual giving program, as well as advancing the work of the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Here is a breakdown of the $250-million goal:

  • $98 million for clinical research programs and unrestricted support.
  • $85 million for faculty and clinical academic endowment.
  • $67 million to build and enhance research, academic, and patient-care facilities.

As of mid-August, the Transforming Medicine Campaign had raised over $106 million in cash gifts and pledges—more than 42% of the total goal.

Learning more
For more about the Transforming Medicine Campaign, visit http://transmed.dartmouth.edu

Barbra Alan is assistant director of development communications for the Medical School and Medical Center.

If you'd like to offer feedback about this article, we'd welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

This article may not be reproduced or reposted without permission. To inquire about permission, contact DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

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