Around Winship

Hope and Gratitude Inspire Three New Endowments


Winship in 2021 created three new endowed professorships, and the stories behind them offer compelling evidence to potential donors of the tremendous impact they can make by using their financial contributions to drive discovery and innovation in the cancer field.

In fact, a single professorship can raise the bar for an entire department. Although a great honor, a Winship professorship or chair is not used as an honorific. Faculty in these endowed positions are among the most active members of our scientific community. They are the scientists most likely to have a profound impact on advancing new knowledge in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship.

"Endowed chairs/professorships are critical to support the research efforts of top-notch Winship faculty," says Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, holder of the Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research in Emory University School of Medicine and Winship's executive director. "Our collective aspirations to end cancer as we know it are accelerated through the support of the generous gifts that make the endowed positions possible."

Continuing their father's legacy

Kenneth Cardona, MD

Kenneth Cardona

Photo: Jack Kearse

Winship Advisory Board members and siblings Ann Reynolds Crouse and Rick Reynolds in 2021 continued their late father Tom Reynolds' commitment to Winship by elevating the Patricia R. Reynolds Endowment for Sarcoma Research, which Tom Reynolds established in 2008 to honor his late wife, into the Patricia R. Reynolds Professor in Sarcoma. Kenneth Cardona, MD, associate chief of surgery for Emory University Hospital Midtown and Sarcoma Disease Team lead for Winship, was named the inaugural holder of the Reynolds Professorship.

"My father was energized by the passion and challenged by the vision that Winship leadership had as to what could happen here at Emory with the proper staffing and resources directed toward a cure," says Rick Reynolds. "Sarcoma was my dad's focus, and this led to his participation in the Winship Advisory Board and establishment of the endowment in my mother’s name to create not only awareness of sarcoma but also initiate a higher level of research and staffing."

Wanting to help other patients

Nabil Saba, MD

Nabil F. Saba

Photo: Javier De Jesus

"I was awestruck by the care and concern of everyone at Winship," says former patient Howard Halpern. "Chemo and radiation treatments are no fun, but everyone at Winship was compassionate and caring, and made the ordeal so much more bearable." After his successful recovery, Halpern says, "It was then time for me to give back. With a recommendation of Winship leaders, and in honor of those who supported us, we have established the Lynne and Howard Halpern Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Research." Nabil F. Saba, MD, professor of hematology and medical oncology in Emory University School of Medicine, was named the inaugural holder of the Halpern Chair.

"Endowed chairs such as this one," says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, Emory University's executive vice president for health affairs, "are critically important to the success of an academic health center. They allow us to accelerate the pace of breakthrough discoveries that lead to better care and cures, and they offer powerful opportunities to recruit and retain stellar faculty."

Honoring her physician

David H. Lawson, MD

David H. Lawson

Photo: Jack Kearse

Brenda Nease, a lifetime member of the Winship Advisory Board, in 2021 donated the requisite $1.5 million to establish the David H. Lawson, MD, Professorship in Cancer Research, named for and honoring Lawson’s more than four decades at Emory with a notable focus on cancer immunology. Nease made the gift in gratitude for Lawson’s care for her after she was diagnosed with breast cancer more than two decades earlier. Says Nease, "I hope future holders of the Lawson Professorship will be encouraged by Dr. Lawson's example of compassion and commitment to research that makes a difference for those faced with a cancer diagnosis."

Responding to Nease's honor, Lawson says, "So much of what Mrs. Nease has done is to try to make Winship a place of healing, not just a place where you go to get your chemo and go home, but a place where there can be some healing of the soul, spirit." He adds, "There's a saying, 'the secret to the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.' And I think that's a lot of it. Letting the patients into your heart is a lot of it. It's important for patients to feel heard and cared about. I've tried to do that. I really do care about what happens to each of my patients."

Why they're important and how they work

ENDOWED CHAIRS AND PROFESSORSHIPS provide faculty with the resources necessary to run their labs and free up more time for research, mentoring students and publishing more research papers. The endowments, usually $2 million for endowed chairs and $1.5 million for endowed professorships, are typically targeted to a research program or disease focus. The chair or professorship recipient receives an annual allocation of funds and a prestigious academic title. They benefit Winship by supporting a competitive academic environment and advancing scientific discoveries that improve the lives of cancer patients.

Endowed chairs and professorships benefit Winship by supporting a competitive academic environment and advancing scientific discoveries that improve the lives of cancer patients.

Supporting a Winship chair or professorship gives the donor an opportunity to support a cancer researcher whose role is deemed critical to advancing scientific inquiry relevant for understanding the mechanisms and pathways common to many different types of cancer and developing elegant solutions to what are now intractable problems.

Winship is actively recruiting and striving to retain top talent focused in cancer immunology/immunotherapy, harnessing the immune system to kill cancer; drug discovery, seeking to develop novel compounds and therapeutic combinations to treat cancer more effectively; and bioinformatics, the data collected from research that can provide insight into the underpinnings of disease and expedite the progress of precision medicine with tailored prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies based on the molecular characteristics of a patient's unique disease profile.

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