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David Geffen School of Medicine


The People-Animal Connection (PAC) Program at UCLA will benefit from a $100,000 gift made in honor of UCLA benefactor Wallis Annenberg. One of the most comprehensive animal-assisted-therapy and activity programs in the nation, PAC has 70 trained and dedicated volunteer teams (the canine and his/her human partner) who offer companionship to more than 1,000 critically ill children and adults per month. Since its inception in 1994, PAC’s teams have recorded more than 250,000 inpatient visits, as well as hundreds of thousands of unrecorded visits with families and guests at UCLA medical centers and community events.

Gunnar and Evelyne Bjorg have made a contribution to support the Movement Disorder Program in the UCLA Department of Neurology. Their gift will fund the Parkinson’s disease research of Jeff Bronstein, MD/PhD ’88 (RES ’92), director of the Movement Disorder Program, and be used to purchase the equipment necessary for the cross-disciplinary projects that focus on finding the cause and new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

The Sam and Sooky Goldman Charitable Foundation, Inc. has contributed $100,000 to the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program to support comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia care programs for patients and their families. Under the direction of Dr. David B. Reuben (FEL ’88), chief of the Division of Geriatrics, the program focuses on individualized care plans in an effort to slow further decline in cognition, manage symptoms, and maximize independence and dignity for each patient, as well as minimize caregiving strain for family members.

The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation has received a gift of $100,000 from the Kenneth Jonsson Family Foundation that continues the Jonsson family’s nearly 50-year legacy of support for cancer research at UCLA. This latest contribution — for the Director’s Leadership Initiative at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) — provides invaluable discretionary funding for strategic investments in faculty as well as discovery research and next-generation technology, all crucial needs identified by the JCCC academic leadership as top priorities.

The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) has awarded a $900,000 Team Science Award to Dr. Roger Lo (RES ’06), a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center with faculty appointments in the UCLA Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology and the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology; and his collaborator, Dr. Alain Algazi (MD ’04, RES ’05, ’07) in the Division of Hematology/ Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco. The MRA award will allow the investigators, under Dr. Lo’s direction, to continue the quest to understand how advanced melanomas develop resistance to drugs and to comprehensively profile both the genetic and non-genetic alterations repeatedly detected in drug-resistant tumors, but not in tumors prior to treatment. The ultimate goal of the research is to develop ways to curtail drug resistance and dramatically extend patient survival.

Charles and Peggy Norris have made a generous philanthropic commitment to the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery to name the Charles and Peggy Norris Global Conference Room in the department’s Global Neurosurgery Center in the new Edie & Lew Wasserman Building. The facility will include technically advanced, internationally connected conferencing capabilities for as many as 70 participants, providing collaborative opportunities for physicians and patients across borders and time zones. Seasoned physicians as well as those in training will be able to enhance their surgical skills through the global knowledge-sharing environment.

The Will Rogers Institute has made two gifts totaling $270,000 to the UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. One gift will support the research fellowship program that trains the next generation of physician-scientist leaders in pulmonary and critical-care medicine. With the second gift, the Will Rogers Institute continues its long-term partnership with Dr. Thomas Ganz (MD ’78, RES ’81, FEL ’83), whose groundbreaking research has revolutionized the field of iron biology and has transformed the way scientists and clinicians study and treat iron and anemia-related diseases.


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