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Laughter and the Best Medicine

Physician researchers in lab
A rare unrestricted gift for medical research has the potential to drive healthcare innovations and translate scientific discoveries into community care more quickly.

“Nice guys finish first,” comedian, writer, and actor Garry Shandling famously said. “If you don’t know that, then you don’t know where the finish line is.”

As a surgery patient at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Shandling lived up to this quote. At the time, he impressed doctors with his intellect, wit, and desire to help others and openly expressed his gratitude for their best-in-class care. Following his passing in 2016, that gratitude continued in the form of a major gift Shandling left to further the UCLA Health mission.

Unrestricted Research

Most of Shandling’s bequest of more than $15 million to David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will be used at the discretion of the school’s dean. Such flexible funding for medical research is rare and has potential to drive the next healthcare innovations, enabling researchers to pursue emerging ideas and translate scientific discoveries into community care more quickly.

“Garry Shandling’s contribution will enhance the innovative research being undertaken by our exceptional team of physicians and scientists,” says Dr. Kelsey C. Martin, the school’s dean and Gerald S. Levey, MD, Endowed Chair. “His generosity will ensure that we have the resources to pursue promising therapies that dramatically improve our patients’ quality of life.”

Learning That Improves Lives

The remaining funds are designated specifically to support exploration of endocrine surgery, infectious diseases, and pancreatic diseases. Recognizing this important investment in well-being, UCLA has named the Garry Shandling Learning Studio, a 6,400-square-foot multipurpose space in Geffen Hall, in his memory.

Laughter is the best medicine. Through Shandling’s gift to UCLA researchers, that becomes true in more ways than one.

Published March 2019

Judd Apatow speaks at a podium with “Garry Shandling Learning Studio” on the wall behind him.

Judd Apatow speaks at an event unveiling the Garry Shandling Learning Studio. (Photo credit: Jessie Cowan)

Comedian Sarah Silverman poses with medical students in the Garry Shandling Learning Studio.

Comedian Sarah Silverman joins medical students to celebrate the Garry Shandling Learning Studio. (Photo credit: Jessie Cowan)

Garry Shandling headshot

Donor Garry Shandling

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