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Columbia University Medical Center/NYPH receive $28 million donation toward curing diabetes

NEW YORK, March 19, 2008 The Russell Berrie Foundation has donated $28 million to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, as part of a focused effort to provide comprehensive care to diabetes patients while working, through concentrated research initiatives, toward a cure, the Medical Center gratefully announced today.

The nations fifth leading killer, diabetes is a disease in which the bodys failure to regulate glucose, or blood sugar, can lead to fatal complications. It affects more than 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association. Moreover, a recent study showed that caring for the type 2 epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year, nearly as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined.

This generous gift continues the Berrie Foundations exceptional commitment to diabetes research and treatment. Spanning ten years, the Foundations total support exceeds $63 million.

The Berrie Foundation's $28 million gift will be divided between Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Columbia University Medical Centers Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center will receive $21 million to fund non-reimbursed clinical care, a new professorship, new pilot research, a continuation of the Berrie Program in Cellular Therapies including an effort to create diabetes-specific embryonic stem cells and the Centers endowment. The gift also will challenge the Berrie Center to raise an additional $25 million in support. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia will receive $7 million to establish a Diabetes Heart Center of Excellence at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, focusing on the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.

We are enormously grateful for the Berrie Foundations commitment to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Their support is vital to the future of diabetes care and research both here in New York City and across the nation and the world, said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences, dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University. The generosity of the Berrie family will bring advances in clinical care to patients suffering from this disease in a targeted and timely way. This crucial support will enable the Berrie Center to continue to treat more than 12,000 patients per year with comprehensive, multidisciplinary care, while contributing to the body of knowledge about this disease through focused clinical and basic science research efforts all in the same state-of-the-art space that encourages collaboration between clinicians and scientists focused on the same goal curing diabetes.

I take particular pleasure in the progress that the Berrie Center has made over the years, having had the good fortune of working with Russ and Angelica Berrie and their board in the early discussions that led to its establishment, said Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. It is indeed exciting to see this further evolution of diabetes care at the Berrie Center and NewYork-Presbyterian, including our new focus on the link between diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes, unfortunately, can lead to the development of heart disease. Our Diabetes Heart Center will address that link, advancing innovative treatments to enhance the lives of patients and their families, and making a significant impact on a major public health problem.

The Berrie Foundations interest in diabetes is personal. The late Russell Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie and Company, one of the worlds leading suppliers of toys and gifts, helped found the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center of Columbia University Medical Center ten years ago. It is named after Mr. Berries mother, who, like Mr. Berrie, had diabetes. For his wife, Angelica Berrie, now the president of the Russell Berrie Foundation, these gifts keep alive their dreams of finding a cure for diabetes.

Russ cared about people, regular people living their lives with diabetes, Mrs. Berrie said. He wanted his giving to impact peoples lives. What would matter to him most is the number of diabetes patients whose lives this support will transform. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center is truly a humanistic enterprise that is patient-centered and research-driven at the same time. It is a center without walls that offers cutting-edge research and total diabetes care to people from all over the world. Every single day, it improves the lives of people living with diabetes. With these daily advances toward excellence, Russ's dream of providing a holistic, caring environment for people with diabetes in world-class institutions is fulfilled.


Contact: Alex Lyda
Columbia University Medical Center

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