Press Releases

$10 Million Gift from Patty and Jay Baker Will Transform Palliative Care in the United States

Newly Named ‘Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center’
to be Dedicated at Mount Sinai

New York, NY (March 21, 2014) — In recognition of a generous $10 million gift to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, made by benefactors Patty and Jay Baker, school leadership today announced the formation of ‘The Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center at Mount Sinai.’ The new Center will support public policy, education, training, national outreach, and research aimed at improving access to quality palliative care for all seriously ill Americans and their families, by uniting the existing Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC).

“The gift will transform care of the nation’s most vulnerable patients and families. Palliative care is a new but rapidly growing field that is proven to improve quality of life and help patients and families get the information and support they need over the many year course of an illness,” said Diane E. Meier, MD, Co-Director of the Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center and Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We will be able to bring this innovation fully to scale thanks to the Bakers’ generosity and insight. CAPC and NPCRC together have led the growth in access to quality palliative care in the United States. The donation will also help to increase the public’s awareness about the important role of palliative care in relieving worry and distress for people of all ages and at any stage of illness. It is important that patients and caregivers are aware of the power and control they have to request palliative care support for themselves and their loved ones.”

“The mission of the Center is to ensure that all patients living with serious illness and their families understand the role of palliative care in improving quality of life and request it; that all clinicians have the knowledge and skills to provide palliative care; and that all healthcare institutions are equipped to deliver it,” said R. Sean Morrison, MD, Co-Director of The Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center at Mount Sinai and Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute and the National Palliative Care Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

While palliative care is an established medical subspecialty that has been shown to improve quality of care and quality of life for patients and families facing serious illness, research conducted in 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies in Washington, DC, concluded that three out of four Americans had minimal to no knowledge of palliative care and its benefits. Furthermore, the poll revealed that over 90 percent of Americans would want the added layer of support that palliative care provides for themselves and their loved ones if they were seriously ill.

“Palliative care takes the larger view of caring for patients by looking at their entire spectrum of needs,” said Patty Baker, a noted Broadway theater producer and philanthropist. “It goes beyond seeing the patient through the prism of illness. One of the many goals of palliative care is to help patients remain safely and securely in their own homes and avoid repeated trips to the hospital, which we wholeheartedly support.”

“We have an ethical obligation to ensure that all aspects of the suffering of patients and families are addressed,” said Jay H. Baker, former President of the Kohl’s Corporation. “Patty and I have a personal connection to this issue. The care and compassion provided to my sister at Mount Sinai made all the difference in her survival and quality of life and we are so grateful. We strongly believe that everyone should have easy access to palliative care services on the national level.”

“Palliative care programs focus on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, CEO and President of the Mount Sinai Health System. “Not only has palliative care improved the quality of life and extended life for many patients, because expert palliative care helps patients and families avoid preventable crises, it also has the potential to lead to significant cost savings for our nation’s health care system.”

As the Director of CAPC, Dr. Meier has worked to increase the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States. Under her leadership, the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has more than tripled in the last 10 years. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine this year, named one of 20 People Who Make Healthcare Better in the U.S. by HealthLeaders Media 2010 and received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award in September of 2008. She has over 100 peer reviewed publications in the medical literature and is the author of Palliative Care: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness, published by Jossey in 2010.

As the Director of NPCRC, Dr. Morrison’s work has focused on improving the knowledge base of palliative care so that seriously ill patients and their families receive the quality of care that they deserve. He has received over $45 million dollars in research funding and published over 150 research articles. He is the former President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and has received lifetime achievement in research awards from both the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the American Geriatrics Society. He has co-edited two of the leading textbooks in palliative medicine.

About the Center to Advance Palliative Care

CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for all people facing serious illness. The Center provides health care professionals with the tools, training, and technical assistance necessary to start and sustain palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings. It is the leading resource for palliative care program development, including the Palliative Care Leadership Centers — which constitute a major national training and mentoring initiative. To learn more visit, http://www.capc.org and follow on Twitter: @CAPCpalliative

# # #

Lesley Snyder, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 212.201.2682 or lesley.snyder@mssm.edu.