Dr. Merola kicks off fundraising effort with $3 million gift

Submitted by St. Joseph’s Health

St. Joseph’s Health has kicked off its $20 million 150th Anniversary Capital Campaign. This is the organization’s most determined philanthropic endeavor yet, with key projects in three areas: cardiovascular, breast care, and nursing education.

St. Joseph’s Health is a non-profit regional health care system based in Syracuse. It provides services to patients throughout Central New York and northern Pennsylvania.

“This is a significant day in the history of St. Joseph’s Health, and for health care in Central New York,” said Leslie Paul Luke, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health. “This multi-tiered initiative is a transformational project that is part of a long history of initiatives St. Joseph’s has undertaken to bring the most sophisticated care to the area. It will position our health-care system to provide the best care possible for patients and learning facilities for students, while acknowledging the pace of sweeping changes in our industry, and will touch the lives of families all across our service area.”

“St. Joseph’s has not wavered from its mission of providing the highest level of care and compassion, regardless of each patient’s economic circumstances, since the hospital was founded nearly 150 years ago. And this new initiative creates a medical delivery system to prepare us for the next 150 years,” added David Panasci, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors and chair of the 150th Anniversary Campaign. “A significant portion of this project will need to be funded by philanthropic dollars, and with the kind of support that we have already seen, we have extreme confidence we will reach the most ambitious goal in the history of St. Joseph’s Health.”

The capital campaign supports these projects:

   A. John Merola, M.D. Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at St. Joseph’s Health

The initiative’s touchstone component is the construction of a new center for Cardiovascular Care. It will allow the hospital to become a destination center for all cardiac services. St. Joseph’s cardiac program is already the most awarded cardiovascular care in the region, and it is ranked in the Top 15 in the nation.

In addition to the new, expanded, state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab that will open this month, the plan would renovate existing space in the hospital. With six special-procedure rooms, a new Hybrid Operating Room, and nearly double the space currently used for these services, the suites in the new center will enable physicians and teams of caregivers to continue to expand and innovate with procedures that have been pioneered at St. Joseph’s, like the Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Repair (TAVR) procedure. The center, slated to be fully completed by the fall of 2018, will offer the latest techniques and treatments on an outpatient basis. The Cardiovascular Center of Excellence is important to the health of CNY residents in particular because heart disease is the second-leading cause of early death in our region.

The center will be named for A. John Merola, M.D., who has been closely aligned with St. Joseph’s Health for more than 50 years; he helped create the family medicine residency program in the 1970s. Dr. Merola, the honorary chairman for the 150th Anniversary Campaign, has donated $3 million toward this project.                                                                                                       

Breast Care and Surgery Program

About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  While not yet preventable, breast cancer can be managed successfully if detected and treated early. Although costly, premium diagnostic equipment such as three-dimensional (3-D) imaging is highly valuable to physicians in identifying very small tumors in the breast and in lymph nodes under the arm —including those that cannot be felt.

As part of an advanced Breast Care and Surgery Program, St. Joseph’s Health has acquired a 3-D Imaging Unit and Workstation to provide an enhanced level of care in collaboration with affiliate St. Joseph’s Imaging Associates. Additional funds are also being sought to support needs and enhancements already in progress to provide St. Joseph’s Breast Care and Surgery facilities with a warm and inviting space including a new imaging suite, patient lockers, a private imaging waiting space, a space for genetic counseling, and a conference space for support groups.

By redesigning the current Breast Care and Surgery suite to provide access to more comprehensive services in a single location, St. Joseph’s, in partnership with St. Joseph’s Imaging Associates, will offer a superior patient-centered model of care.

College of Nursing

St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, established in 1898, became the main resource to secure quality graduate nurses for the hospital and health care facilities in the region and beyond. But the College of Nursing facilities are in dire need of renovation.

To upgrade this important academic facility, this project is looking to build a new lecture hall and upgrade and modernize existing infrastructure, already in progress with the renovation of the sixth floor of the college. These renovations will make St. Joseph’s College of Nursing a sustainable, efficient environment and an attractive choice for future students.

St. Joseph’s Hospital was founded by Sr. Marianne Cope and four other Sisters of St. Francis in 1869 at the summit of Prospect Hill, where it is still located today.

Earlier this month, St. Joseph’s leadership announced that $12 million has already been raised toward the $20 million goal to fund these major community health-care projects.

Upon completion of these three projects, St. Joseph’s plans for an updated Women and Children’s Unit, renovations to the Center for Orthopedic and Spine Center, and expansion of the community-based Primary Care Center-West.

For more information on the 150th Anniversary Capital Campaign and each of the individual initiatives, visit www.sjh150campaign.org.

Incorporated in 1976, St. Joseph’s Health Foundation has a primary purpose of raising funds that will be used to enhance patient care and comfort throughout St. Joseph’s Health System. Outright gifts and planned estate gifts are graciously accepted for a specific project or department or in memory of a loved one, or they can be directed by donors to where the need is greatest.

To learn more about making a gift or to discuss including St. Joseph’s in your estate plans, contact the Foundation at (315) 703-2137 or email at Foundation@sjhsyr.org.

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