From early in their lives to life’s last moments, patients of all ages benefit from all UCLA does to improve their health. Two recent gifts have expanded UCLA Health’s capacity to care for those with specialized needs at both ends of the lifespan.
Training Needed Specialists
UCLA leads the way in pediatric epilepsy surgeries, performing more than 2,000 operations over several decades. Approximately 3.4 million people in the U.S. — including nearly 160,000 in the greater Los Angeles region — are affected by epilepsy. About half of cases begin in infancy, childhood, or adolescence, a critical period because seizures can have devastating effects on child development. But there aren’t enough specialists to care for those in need.
Now, building on 13 years of generous support from the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and its Care and Cure Institute, the university will continue the UCLA Care + Cure Pediatric Epilepsy Fellowship Program, funded in perpetuity by a newly announced endowed fellowship that will equip doctors with specialized clinical and research training in pediatric neurology and epileptology.
Guiding Caregivers and Their Loved Ones
At the other end of the spectrum, UCLA is helping older adults and their caregivers through the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (ADC) Program. Since 2012, the program has developed individualized care plans for nearly 3,000 patients, coordinating medical care and caregiver education, support, and referral. And demand for services continues to grow alongside society’s aging population.
To support the program’s local and national expansion, siblings Cameron Draine and Janet Odell ’74 gave $2 million to establish the Robert and Patricia Draine Endowed Chair in Geriatrics to honor their parents. Held by the ADC Program director, the chair will provide sustainable funding that could cover anything from developing scalable service models or electronic resources to hiring more care managers. The contribution is especially meaningful given Robert Draine’s story: As his wife’s caregiver, he felt lost about how to help her; to honor her and help others, he was instrumental in envisioning and launching the ADC Program.
Both gifts will extend UCLA’s efforts to improve quality of care — and life — until cures are found.
Published December 2019