2021 Midyear Report to Our Donors

Thank You

Thank you for helping NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) care for our community through your generous giving. Over the past six months, we have seen the power of philanthropy in action in countless ways, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to share with you just a few examples of how donor partners like you are making a lasting difference in the lives of so many. We are deeply appreciative of the incredible commitment from those who have been contributing to NorthShore consistently over the years and are humbled to welcome those who have recently joined our family of donors to assist in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing to Address COVID-19 in Our Communities

Patients, families and friends from Chicago’s North Shore and adjacent communities continue to play an essential role in helping NorthShore tackle the COVID-19 crisis, just as their support has been vital from the outset of the pandemic in early 2020. Through demonstrations of encouragement for our frontline caregivers and in-kind and monetary gifts, our communities have come together to support NorthShore’s vital mission “to preserve and improve human life” during an unprecedented period. As a result, NorthShore became the first hospital system in our region to develop and implement its own COVID-19 test; was able to purchase large quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential safety and disinfection supplies to protect our care teams and patients; distributed thousands of COVID-19 Care Kits to patients recovering at home; launched more than 50 COVID-19 research studies, many in collaboration with other leading healthcare institutions from around the country; and above all, cared for approximately 40,000 COVID-19 patients to date. At times, the care has involved providing rarely available innovative therapies, such as lifesaving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. We are grateful to all who have recognized the critical need for philanthropy during this time.

Supporting Nursing Excellence

The global COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on nurses as key members of care teams and reinforced the critical role they play in healthcare worldwide. NorthShore donors have long recognized how important nurses are to society and have consistently directed their philanthropic giving to support nursing scholarships and professional development. In May, NorthShore awarded scholarships to 49 NorthShore team members who are currently earning their nursing degrees at 17 different colleges and universities. Each of the recipients is pursuing either an associate degree (ADN), bachelor’s degree (BSN) or master’s degree (MSN) in nursing, with several pursuing advanced practice leadership credentials.

“This scholarship not only has helped me financially, but it also gives me another reason to persevere through all the stress of working, going to school and helping my family. It has also motivated me to become the best nurse I possibly can for all of you. I won't let you down. I hope to one day be in a position to help students the way you all have helped me. It might seem like a small prize for some people, but just know it means the world to me.” —Aornina Abram, Patient Account Specialist, Skokie Hospital, and nursing scholarship recipient.

Caring for Our Most Vulnerable: NorthShore Community Health Center

NorthShore Community Health Center Staff

396 donors made contributions during the Community Health Match in May and June, raising $92,000 for the NorthShore Community Health Center. The Center is located on the NorthShore Evanston Hospital campus and serves as a lifeline to nearly 4,000 patients across our region every year. Most of these patients have nowhere else to turn for their healthcare needs.

Your philanthropic funding is helping ensure that people who are experiencing poverty have access to primary and specialty care at the Center. When necessary, patients who require surgery or other hospital-based care can receive it in NorthShore Hospitals for nominal costs or free of charge, based on their ability to pay.

The Center is a critical resource for people in our community who have a low income—many of whom seek treatment only when a disease, such as cancer, is more advanced. Conditions of patients who rely on the Center are often more medically complex than the general population, and English often is not their primary language. Rates of chronic illness such as diabetes and asthma are higher, as is mental illness, alcoholism and other factors such as domestic abuse. COVID-19 has hit this patient population especially hard right from the start of the pandemic. Thanks to support from our donors, the Center’s dedicated team has been able to provide direct care, social work and financial counseling for thousands throughout the pandemic and is committed to doing so well beyond.

Community Health Center Offers ‘Dreamer’ New Hope

Anthony is a “dreamer” whose family came to the United States from Mexico when he was just 5 years old. He has struggled with mental illness most of his life but received care and medication through Illinois’ All Kids insurance program until he turned 18. When he lost this coverage, his family did not have the resources to continue his medication and therapy. Anthony digressed severely; he couldn’t leave his room or go to work. His mother, Teresa, was devastated and desperate to find him help. Fortunately, she found her way to the caring team at the NorthShore Community Health Center, where comprehensive psychiatric care is available to patients. The Center’s volunteer psychiatrist and medical residents worked with Anthony, then 22 years old, to create a personal treatment plan for getting him stable again so he could return to work. Part of this effort involved advocating with a drug company to have the costs of his very effective (but very expensive) schizophrenia drug underwritten. Their efforts were successful, and Anthony now visits the Center monthly for an injection that keeps his symptoms at bay. Every time they see him, the team reflects on the incredible difference from Anthony’s first visit, where he was completely withdrawn, to today, where he’s energetic and has a positive outlook. Anthony is now back to work and can plan for his future. His family couldn’t be more grateful.

Keeping Families Connected: ISCU Cameras

Thanks to the volunteer fundraising efforts of The Associate Board of NorthShore, the Henrietta Johnson Louis Infant Special Care Unit (ISCU) was able to purchase 16 NICVIEW cameras, which enable parents with babies in the ISCU to watch their children from their smartphone, tablet or computer. The cameras have been an especially timely benefit when family visitation has been restricted due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Maria, whose premature firstborn son William spent time in the ISCU, said, “I really jumped at the chance—not just for myself, but for my mom and my mother-in-law, who had only seen him in photos and videos we sent.” Since 2013, The Associate Board has raised over $1 million to benefit neonatal projects at the ISCU and the Department of Pediatrics at NorthShore Evanston Hospital.

Donor-Funded Advanced Practice Nursing Position for Autonomic Clinic

Melissa Budahazy, APN-BC, MA, RN-BC.

Many patients in the greater Chicago area seek the unique expertise of Alexandru Barboi, MD, in the NorthShore Neurological Institute. Dr. Barboi is one of the few neurologists who specialize in autonomic dysfunction, a group of conditions that can be challenging to diagnose and treat because symptoms are wide-ranging and can be associated with many other diagnoses. They can include chronic pain, fatigue, and problems that affect the heart, digestive system and bladder. Patients seeking a consultation, testing and follow-up with Dr. Barboi are often on a waiting list. One grateful patient family who had the good fortune to see Dr. Barboi wanted to help when they learned it would free up some of his time to assess new patients if a skilled associate could be brought on board to work closely with established patients. To that end, they made a philanthropic gift that allowed NorthShore to hire Melissa Budahazy, APN-BC, MA, RN-BC. An Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) who has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Adult Gerontology, Melissa was eager to take on this role. She hit the ground running, launching a patient and caregiver support group (the first of its kind in the area) while triaging patients and helping them navigate care across various services. “Neurology is intellectually interesting but also seemed like a place where I could make a difference in the growing geriatric population as they face neurodegenerative conditions that often involve autonomic dysfunction,” she said. “This grant has singlehandedly improved access for patients and will allow for the creation of a comprehensive multidisciplinary program to impact many more.”

Tackling Maternal Mortality Through SAVE MOMS

Maternal mortality is on the rise in the United States, and NorthShore has developed an innovative solution. SAVE MOMS uses NorthShore’s electronic health record (EHR) system to continuously track maternal health, alerting the healthcare team before, during and after delivery to avoid serious complications through timely intervention. This data-driven solution aimed at protecting and preserving maternal health identifies early indicators of potential risk. More than 50,000 women experience the most severe complications of pregnancy, and up to 75% of maternal deaths in Illinois are thought to have been potentially preventable. SAVE MOMS was funded through the volunteer fundraising efforts of The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem via proceeds from the 2020 and 2021 American Craft Exposition, which was held virtually in 2020 and will be again this fall.

Training Tomorrow’s Cardiovascular Experts

Donors to the NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) help support the CVI’s mission of delivering excellent patient-centered cardiac care and rehabilitation, as well as cutting-edge research and sub-specialty training. Our three-year cardiovascular medicine fellowship trains board-certified internal medicine physicians in the latest techniques and provides a high-volume, diverse clinical setting to conduct groundbreaking research. The program is extremely competitive, with hundreds of applicants for just three openings per year. “Our fellows have the opportunity not just to learn but to innovate and create new knowledge through this program,” said Gregory J. Mishkel, MD, MBA, Allstate Foundation/Judson B. Branch Chair of Cardiology and Division Head of Cardiology. We select the most accomplished candidates to train them for careers in forward-thinking academic medicine. A NorthShore CVI Fellow is prepared for leadership positions in clinical care, research, teaching and public advocacy—not just here at NorthShore, but at many of the most prestigious medical institutions around the world.

Translational Research in Cancer: From the Laboratory to the Clinic

The John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health at NorthShore not only is a destination for a full spectrum of top-quality general and specialty urological care but has become recognized for its strong translational research program. In particular, NorthShore has emerged as a leader in understanding the genetic risks for inherited prostate cancer, which accounts for 57% of the risk of developing the disease. NorthShore recently partnered with GoPath Laboratories to offer PROSTATE/NOW™, the most comprehensive inherited risk assessment for prostate cancer. The simple saliva test can predict the risk for developing the disease in unaffected men; predict the prognosis in patients with localized disease, guiding them in choosing the best treatments; and predict the response to specific drugs in those with advanced/metastatic prostate cancer. The research that led to this technology is defining new standards of care throughout our communities, and across the country, as it becomes incorporated into guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Philanthropic investment from donors laid the foundation for much of this work, enabling NorthShore to attract leading physicians like Brian Helfand, MD, PhD, Director of the Walter Center, Division Chief of Urology, and the Ronald L. Chez Family and Richard Melman Family Chair of Prostate Cancer, and distinguished researchers like Jianfeng Xu, MD, DrPH, Vice President of Translational Research at NorthShore and the Ellrodt-Schweighauser Family Chair of Cancer Genomic Research.

Kellogg Cancer Genomic Initiative

Karen Kaul, MD (L) and Bruce Brockstein, MD (R)

A new initiative at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center offers cancer patients integrated, genomically driven care not available elsewhere in the Chicago area. The Kellogg Cancer Genomic Initiative—led by Bruce Brockstein, MD, the Kellogg-Scanlon Chair of Oncology and Medical Director of the Kellogg Cancer Center, and Karen Kaul, MD, PhD, the Duckworth Family Chair and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine—is a groundbreaking program that incorporates the latest in genomic testing and science for patients diagnosed with cancer. In the current pilot phase, Kellogg Cancer Center is using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to characterize the tumor mutations for 500 new patients with advanced or metastatic cancer. This genomic data will greatly augment a complete, detailed diagnosis and identify genomic targets for treatment. Simultaneously, we will perform pharmacogenomic assessment to help identify the right medication and the right dose based on each patient’s genetic makeup.

While reimbursement for NGS is improving, insurance companies and other payors are looking for further outcomes data to demonstrate the clinical and financial benefits of this testing. Early learnings from this exciting pilot, made possible with seed funding from the donor-supported Transformation Through Innovation Fund, are expected to help develop the evidence base necessary to support payor coverage of tumor sequencing across the spectrum of cancer care and ultimately create a bold new standard of care for cancer patients.

NorthShore is appreciative of our donors, partners, and friends who are committed to our mission "to preserve and improve human life." You are playing such an important role in transforming the lives of so many others.

Thank you.


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