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Eskenazi Health Announces New Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation to Treat Alzheimer's Disease, Schizophrenia and Other Mental Disorders

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For years, Eskenazi Health has been laying the groundwork and conducting research necessary to create a new approach to brain care. Today, Eskenazi Health stands on the threshold of something truly innovative as it announces the new Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation, the first of its kind in the nation.

Eskenazi Health and the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC) have named the Center in honor of a leadership gift from Sandra Eskenazi to the Eskenazi Health Foundation's $50 million campaign in support of the Center's vision: "transforming brain health for all, now." Sandra is the daughter of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, the Central Indiana couple who provided a $40 million gift to the Eskenazi Health Capital Campaign and for whom the Eskenazi Health system is named. For more than 150 years, Eskenazi Health has provided Indianapolis-area residents with the highest-quality health care and the Sandra Eskenazi Center is an opportunity to expand their world class care nationally and internationally.

The Sandra Eskenazi Center will employ a completely re-envisioned model of care that includes two important distinctions: It will provide care for the whole person – mind, body and family – and it will expedite the translation of best practices discovered in the lab directly to patient care.

"The most important thing we can do at this moment is to address the crisis in mental health, which draws very deeply on the work that we've committed to for decades here at Eskenazi Health," said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health. "We've created a rich environment historically designed to promote and support the health and well-being of each patient from every direction, creating the perfect backdrop for us to focus on mental health. Sandra's gift has empowered us to follow our passion – one we mutually hold."

Always at the forefront of innovative practice, Eskenazi Health is already a leader in advancing brain health through implementation science in Indianapolis. Recognized internationally for the work of the Healthy Aging Brain Center (HABC) and the Prevention and Recovery Center for Early Psychosis (PARC), what is happening here is unprecedented.

"Eskenazi Health is more than a health system to me – it's home," said Sandra Eskenazi. "I am so honored to follow my parent's legacy in helping serve not only our community but the rest of the world in support of this groundbreaking new Center."

"Diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer's, will affect you in your lifetime, whether it is your own experience or that of a friend or family member. And as every family knows, these illnesses do not discriminate by ethnicity, geographic or socioeconomic status," said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and chief executive officer of the Eskenazi Health Foundation. "We are incredibly grateful for Sandra's leadership gift and the further extension of the Eskenazi family legacy. Her passion and experience working in health care gives her a very personal perspective on the needs of patients and care teams."

"The brain is the most complex organ of the body. It controls the essence of who we are. The brain shapes our thoughts, our emotions and what we are able to do. And our brain deserves the same level of care and attention that we invest in the rest of our bodies," said Mike Smith, co-chair for the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation capital campaign. "I am honored to stand among extraordinary leaders from Eskenazi Health as we work together to expand access to novel and proven treatments for individuals and families who have been affected by diseases of the brain."

Dr. Malaz Boustani has been named the founding director of the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation. As director of the HABC, he developed core competencies to address the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease and dementia for his patients. He will build on this expertise in brain care research and health care innovation to lead the Sandra Eskenazi Center in developing and implementing a far-reaching and visionary model of brain care.

"Through decades of research in brain health, we have learned that by reorganizing care, we can obtain better outcomes at lower costs," said Dr. Boustani. "While the Sandra Eskenazi Center will first focus on patients and their families in Indianapolis, the model of care will be scalable to various locations, age groups and diseases, and could soon expand nationally and internationally, and become a new standard of care in the 21st century."

The Sandra Eskenazi Center will be "mission control" for brain care, integrating pioneering technology with personalized treatment. Care will not be limited to patients; caregivers and family members will also be active participants and have significant responsibility in the overall success of treatment.

Dr. Alan Breier has dedicated his career to treating and finding new solutions for those who suffer from severe mental illness. His clinical work currently focuses on patients at PARC. Dr. Breier's research, which extends back more than 30 years and includes more than a decade at Eli Lilly and Co., focuses on understanding the causes of psychotic disorders and developing innovative therapies for such illnesses, particularly schizophrenia.

"The Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation will provide the highest quality care to those not currently receiving it and will give patients a chance to recapture some normalcy in their lives while supporting their caregivers and family members," Dr. Breier said. "Countless patients and their families will be touched by the work that Eskenazi Health is doing to provide innovative, personalized care to Hoosiers and people all over the world."

"As a health system that has continually worked to stay at the forefront of innovation and progress, Eskenazi Health is poised to create the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation as a first step in improving brain care for all of us. This is a serious public health epidemic that cannot be ignored," said Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department.

"Our community has come together in an extraordinary way to do great things for this health campus, and today they continue to support us, for which we are grateful," said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and chief executive officer of the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. "The Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation is bringing together the brightest minds from all walks of medicine to treat the patient as a whole. We have the opportunity to change the world, starting here in Indianapolis. Eskenazi Health is the place to spearhead this initiative, and the time to do so is now."

Space on the fourth floor of the Fifth Third Bank Building on the Eskenazi Health campus is being developed into specialized clinical, laboratory and office space to launch the Sandra Eskenazi Center, which will initially serve patients and families afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

Learn more about the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation at

For 155 years, Eskenazi Health has provided high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care to the residents of Marion County and Central Indiana. Accredited by The Joint Commission, nationally recognized programs include a Level I trauma center, regional burn center, comprehensive senior care programs, women's and children's services, teen and adolescent care programs, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health, and a network of primary care sites located throughout the neighborhoods of Indianapolis known as Eskenazi Health Center. In partnership with the Regenstrief Institute, Eskenazi Health conducts groundbreaking work that informs health information technology around the globe. Eskenazi Health also serves as the sponsoring health care system for Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services. As the public hospital division of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Eskenazi Health partners with the Indiana University School of Medicine whose physicians provide a comprehensive range of primary and specialty care services. In 2009, Marion County voters approved construction of a new hospital with 85 percent support for the measure. Eskenazi Health received a $40 million gift from Indianapolis' Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, in honor of whom Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County named the hospital facilities. The Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus opened in December 2013.

SOURCE Eskenazi Health
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