With a $125 million gift to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in September 2012, Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, made what is believed to be the largest reported private philanthropic investment to advance cardiovascular medicine in the United States. Their landmark pledge established a new cardiovascular institute at OHSU that is dedicated to quickly translating laboratory discoveries into new and better treatments for the world’s No. 1 killer. Now OHSU and the Knights have announced the new institute will be named the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute.
The Knights’ historic $125 million gift for cardiovascular care and research at OHSU came just four years after they invested $100 million to establish the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. That gift brought to OHSU some of the world’s top minds in cancer research, prevention and treatment, and strengthened the cancer institute’s global leadership in personalized medicine.
The new OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute is co-led by pioneering heart surgeon and Lasker Award winner Albert Starr, M.D. — best known for co-inventing and successfully implanting the first artificial heart valve, the Starr-Edwards valve — and Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., an internationally recognized heart researcher renowned for developing microbubble-based myocardial contrast echocardiography for the early detection of coronary heart disease.
Through this gift, Drs. Starr and Kaul will help change the game in cardiovascular research and care. Their goal is to build a comprehensive, strategic assault on cardiovascular disease that spans the entire health care spectrum – from prevention to transplantation to tissue regeneration – and encompasses the full continuum of biomedical science – from basic discovery to clinical research to drug and device development.
“Penny and I are pleased to help upgrade cardiovascular health in Oregon and around the world. Drs. Starr and Kaul have built a great program in research, care and outreach, and we are excited about what it can contribute to the fight against these deadly diseases,” said Phil Knight.
“The Knights’ decision to honor us with their name recognizes their exceptional commitment to improving health care. We are entering a golden age of cardiovascular medicine. There’s never been a better opportunity to make permanent change, and translational research is the key,” said Starr.
Kaul added: “Dr. Starr and I are gathering a strong team that includes basic and clinical scientists, as well as clinicians, to rapidly translate cardiovascular medicine findings to human therapies. We are in the perfect position to become a leading center for the best translational cardiovascular research, care and professional training.”
In expressing his gratitude, OHSU School of Medicine Dean Mark Richardson, M.D., M.B.A., remarked: “With the Knights’ transformational investment, we will expand the capacity for treating cardiovascular disease in a way that encompasses the full continuum of biomedical science, from basic discovery to clinical research to drug and device development.”
“We are extremely proud to have earned the Knights’ trust,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D, M.B.A. “With two Knight institutes focused on combating the two largest disease challenges and new partnerships that leverage our foundational missions of healing, teaching, discovery and outreach, OHSU is uniquely positioned to drive discoveries in cardiovascular health, cancer, stroke, neurological disorders, immunodeficiency, diabetes and other diseases for decades to come.”