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Transforming Medicine Campaign
The way to gain a good reputation is to
endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
—Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
Two chairs for cancer
By Kate Villars
Acommitment to helping children overcome cancer and a desire to honor a renowned former leader of Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) have inspired gifts that will establish two new endowed chairs at DMS, both of them within NCCC. Scott and Lisa Stuart pledged $2.5 million to create a professorship in pediatric oncology,while colleagues, friends, and family of Dr. O. Ross McIntyre have honored the former NCCC director with gifts that will endow a professorship in his name.
Twenty-four DMS faculty members hold endowed chairs, which are considered one of the highest honors in academia. Such professorships are key currency in attracting and retaining top faculty to advance DHMC's three-part mission of research, teaching, and patient care.The funding of additional chairs is a major priority of the $250-millionTransforming Medicine Campaign.
"Endowed professorships are vital to our work at Norris Cotton Cancer Center," explains Dr. Mark Israel, director of NCCC."They provide critical resources to sustain pioneering research and its translation into advances in clinical care that put us at the forefront of patient care nationally.This kind of support has become essential in light of shrinking federal funding for cancer research. Endowed professorships also allow our faculty to dedicate time to our important mission of teaching the next generation of cancer physicians and scientists."
Honoring Ross McIntyre The O. Ross McIntyre, M.D., Endowed Professorship is named for an esteemed longtime NCCC director.Under his leadership from 1974 to 1992, Norris Cotton became highly respected, earning National Cancer Institute designation as one of only 39 comprehensive cancer centers.A noted researcher himself,McIntyre fostered an unusual degree of collaboration among labs.
It was McIntyre's friend and DMS '55 classmate John Moran who initiated the effort to establish the chair. He and McIntyre and their families have remained close over the years, and Moran recognizes the enormous impact of McIntyre's work."Ross was highly regarded, not only as a caring and highly competent physician and talented investigator, but also as an excellent administrator and a charismatic teacher," says Moran. "There could be no more appropriate way to recognize his contributions." Moran is among over 60 donors to the $2.5-million endowment for the chair.
"I just have a world of respect for the guy," says Steven Gillis, who, with his wife, Anne, made the lead gift commitment to the McIntyre Professorship.
A pioneer in tumor immunology who earned his Ph.D. at Dartmouth in 1978, Gillis calls McIntyre "a scientific father figure. . . .Ross was important to me because he was a good advisor. He saw the big picture—that the new field of cytokines and cytokine receptors we were working to create was going to explode—that it was bigger than me, it was bigger than the lab where I was doing my doctorate research, it was bigger than Dartmouth, and that it would be far better to have as many advocates and pioneers coming from Dartmouth than to try to control the playing field."
Gillis continued his research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. A few years later, he entered the nascent biotech industry, cofounding Immunex Corporation in 1981 and Corixa Corporation in 1994. He has since sold both highly successful companies and now is a managing director at ARCH Venture Partners, a venture capital company that invests in the biotech industry.
"I still enjoy science. I like being involved in new areas of research where on day one you don't necessarily know what the application is, but you just have a feel that this is an area that's worth spending some money and time on," says Gillis. "ARCH believes in basic science, and that from good basic science, breakthrough science, come breakthrough products. There are no shortcuts."
Reflecting on his gift, Gillis says, "I've always had a fondness for Dartmouth and for the freedom and support that I was given during my time there to follow my nose and let the results take me wherever they may. I view it as a privilege that Anne and I are in a position to give something back to the greater Dartmouth community in honor of Ross. . . . Loyalty is important in life, and Ross has been loyal to Dartmouth, and that's worth celebrating."
Helping kids fight cancer
The Scott M. and Lisa G. Stuart Professorship in Pediatric Oncology will further strengthen the resources available to children with cancer and their families at NCCC and the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. "By enabling us to recruit a leading physicianscientist who will advance our research and teaching as well as the care of these vulnerable patients, this gift will be instrumental in the growth and development of our pediatric cancer program," says Israel. "The impact of this gift cannot be overstated."
This gift is not the Stuarts' first in support of children with cancer. When hurricane Katrina hit Scott Stuart's hometown of New Orleans in 2005, the Stuarts established a fund to ensure that young cancer patients evacuated to Houston continued to receive essential treatments. "Kids with cancer were showing up at Baylor without medical records, without insurance documents, without parents, but needing treatment immediately. It was grim," says Scott Stuart, who with Lisa and their four children now live in Greenwich, Conn." We raised close to a million dollars and sent it straight to Houston."
The Stuarts made their commitment to endow a chair in pediatric oncology in honor of Scott Stuart's 25th Dartmouth College Class of 1981 reunion. But Lisa Stuart, a UC Berkeley graduate who now jokes about having been rejected by Dartmouth,made sure they designated their reunion gift to "something that speaks to my heart. . . . Kids fighting cancer," she explains,"are working so hard and enduring brutal treatments.They deserve all the supports possible."
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.
Highlights of 2007
More than 28,000 donors made 2007 a record-breaking year for theTransforming Medicine Campaign. Gift commitments from friends, patients, alumni, faculty, and staff topped $63 million for the year, bringing the Campaign total to $195 million. The year was marked by a $20-million gift commitment from Dr. Peter Williamson and his wife, Susan—the largest gift ever to Dartmouth Medical School—embracing the vision of the future Koop Medical Science Complex as a place where discovery and collaboration will accelerate medical advances. Other lead commitments during 2007 are building endowment reserves, strengthening care of the mentally ill and victims of child abuse, and supporting cancer research. At the same time, strong participation in the annual funds provided important unrestricted monies for DMS and DHMC.
For more about the Transforming Medicine Campaign, visit http://transmed.dartmouth.edu
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Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DHMC.
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