A University Hospitals surgeon is donating $1 million to establish a fund to push advancements in cardiac surgery.
Alan Markowitz, MD, and his wife, Cathy Pollard, RN, have pledged a commitment of $1 million in order to help establish the Alan Markowitz, MD and Cathy Pollard Cardiac Surgical Innovation Fund at University Hospitals in Cleveland, where they both work. The fund will heavily upgrade the University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, supporting cardiac surgeons and specialists in furthering their education about new techniques and technologies.
Markowitz, who currently is the Cardiac Surgical Director in one of the University Hospitals campuses, has done a great deal in his life to bring new heart surgery methods and tools from overseas into the United States. In 2009 for example, he took a team to Portugal to study transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR), and came back to lead clinical trials to get the procedure approved in the U.S.
“I’d like to think of this as seed money that will give the division the ability to stay in the forefront of the field for years into the future,” Dr. Markowitz said of his donation.
“Alan is relentless in his pursuit of innovative approaches for heart surgery. The TAVR experience really demonstrates the impact Alan and Cathy’s gift could have on the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute,” said Dan Simon, Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospitals. “Our time overseas learning this minimally-invasive, catheter-based procedure put UH in a position to be a pioneer in new approaches to aortic valve replacement initially and now with mitral and tricuspid valve repair and replacement.”
Bringing any new medical procedure into the United States from abroad requires clinical trials to prove that it is safe and well-understood. The expense of these has often kept useful techniques out of the hands of surgeons and doctors. This donation will ease that barrier, at least a bit.