Dear Colleagues-Friends:

This February, as we come to the end of Heart Month, we also have the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable generosity of a local family who are longstanding partners in our work in the cardiovascular field. With a $5 million gift, the Pauley Family Foundation will advance the treatment of patients with harmful irregular heart rhythms at the Pauley Heart Center.

Under the direction of Ken Ellenbogen, M.D., and Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., VCU Health has gained international recognition in the field of arrhythmias. The Pauley family will advance this collaborative work even further by investing in research in the Cottrell Surgical Innovation Suite and providing clinical equipment to better diagnose and treat these disorders. You can read more about the Pauley family’s gift online.

This is the latest example of the Pauley family’s enduring friendship to our medical school and to VCU Health. Led by Mr. Stan Pauley, a former heart center patient, the family’s foundation made its initial gift of $5 million in 2006. Later, the heart center was renamed the Pauley Heart Center, and the family’s support has been unceasing.

At VCU Health and in our medical school, we hope to foster a culture of philanthropy that inspires grateful patients like the Pauleys. Both here on campus and nationally, we see how philanthropy can transform an institution or a program, helping provide resources that allow us to deliver best-in-class care for all of our patients as well as life-changing training for our students and research into tomorrow’s innovations and cures.

With this in mind, we have now convened 53 participants who make up the second cohort of the VCU Medical Philanthropy Academy. The program aims to better train all of us to partner with our development team in raising support for our academic missions. Through the Medical Philanthropy Academy, we are learning about the best practices and techniques that undergird our development teams’ work and are developing the comfort, awareness and skills needed to identify and respond appropriately to donor interest.

We are grateful to the partnership and leadership of Greg Hundley, M.D., director of the Pauley Heart Center, and Ms. Carrie Mills, senior major gift officer, in working with Mr. Pauley and his family to realize this new gift. As Carrie explained at this week’s launch of the Medical Philanthropy Academy, ‘the number one reason why people don’t give is because they weren’t asked.’ We asked, and the Pauley family said ‘yes’ emphatically.

The generosity of the Pauleys and other similarly grateful patients has demonstrated benefits for our academic medical center and – just as importantly – our entire community. Moreover, we take great pride in knowing that this gift – like so many others – was given because of the care and attention extended to this family by everyone on the care team. As Dr. Kasirajan emphasized at this week’s Medical Philanthropy Academy, exemplary care to every patient is the single most important component of the grateful patient experience.

Our deepest thanks go to the Pauley family and to others in our community who have partnered with us through their generosity. We are eager to tell more success stories like theirs in the months ahead.

With every good wish,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Interim CEO, VCU Health System, and Senior Vice President, VCU Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System