Page 58 - Healthcare News Nov/Dec 2021
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Amherst Couple Gives $1 Million to CDH Emergency Department
 NORTHAMPTON — Dr. Lynnette Watkins, the new president and CEO
of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, an- nounced the receipt of a $1 million gift from John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst to support the hospital’s Emer- gency Department.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to talk to the Armstrongs about their com- mitment to the Emergency Department,” Watkins said.
The Armstrong’s gift will support Trans- forming Emergency Care: Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Depart- ment, a $15.5 million expansion, reconfig- uration, and renovation which will allow the hospital to meet the ever-evolving emergency medical needs of community members, from infants to older adults.
For John, whose accomplishments in- clude a 30-year career at IBM and serving as a presidential-appointed member of the National Science Board, supporting the hospital fits in with his and his wife’s phi- losophy of giving. “Lise and I are blessed to have resources, and one of our main criteria for giving is to help out right where we are,” he said.
Their reasons to support Cooley Dickin- son are born of direct experience. “I’ve seen firsthand the growing pressures on the Emergency Department,” John added. “I have been admitted to the ED on at least three occasions, and I’ve witnessed the in- creasing number of patients relying on the department. Each time, I received excellent care and service despite the fact that the ED can be overcrowded.”
Elizabeth added that “we live in a retire- ment community with 115 other elderly people, many of whom need Emergency Department services. For their sake, as well as for our own possible future needs, we’re glad to have a role in making the Emergency Department as efficient and up-to-date as possible.”
Cooley Dickinson’s Emergency De- partment is 40% undersized to meet the community’s needs and cares for many patients who require critical medical atten- tion. The number of patients visiting the department has grown from 17,000 annu- ally in the 1970s to nearly 34,000 in recent years. For those patients, Emergency Department teams treat approximately 300 traumatic injuries per year; last year alone, over 6,000 patients needed to be admitted for further care.
The Armstrongs recognize the urgency of expansion and renovation. They also recognize that hospitals everywhere are financially challenged, due to changes, beginning in the late 1980s, in state and federal reimbursements. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a dramatic slowdown in volume of patients and in revenues, has put the importance of philanthropy into sharp relief.
“Cooley Dickinson is grateful to John and Lise Armstrong for their generosity and for understanding that charitable giving is a critical resource to provide access and deliver the range of healthcare our community needs, demands, and deserves,” Watkins said.
Gifts to the Emergency Department will support more and better designed spaces and increased privacy for patient care, faster access to computerized tomography (CT) scans, improved coordination of care to allow face-to-face communication between providers and nurses, and more patient rooms.
Other planned improvements include enhanced geriatric care, a larger behavior- al-health pod, a pediatric observation unit, and a streamlined admission process.
The groundbreaking for the Emergency Department renovations is expected to occur at the end of 2022.
John and Elizabeth Armstrong
  WNE College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Wins $300,000 Grant
SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University’s (WNE) College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences was recently awarded a $300,000 research grant from Quercis Pharma. The grant, focusing on the role of Isoquercetin and/or Zafirlukast in the inhibition and possible treat- ment of cancer and other diseases, is a four-year grant that will allow further development of the university’s patented work on Zafirlukast in combination with Quercis’s pat- ented Isoquercetin blend.
Isoquercetin belongs to a family of compounds known as flavonoids. Flavonoids, found in many fruits, veg- etables, and wine, are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to provide multiple health benefits. This study will further explore the use of Isoquercetin and its potential synergism with Zafirlukast as a potential treatment for cancer and thrombotic diseases, which are significantly
more common in cancer patients. The combination of these two agents may help prevent this significant issue, as Zafirlukast has the ability to inhibit thrombosis without altering bleeding times.
The grant will fund a PhD studentship in the labora- tory of Dr. Daniel Kennedy, Department of Pharmaceuti- cal and Administrative Sciences chair and professor of Pharmacology. Kennedy’s laboratory explores a new class of drugs that can potentially treat diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary emboli. This work will expand on his current NIH-funded study explor-
ing Zafirlukast for this purpose, which is undergoing a phase-2 clinical trial.
“This grant will further establish WNE as the pre- eminent institution in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science education in Western Massachusetts,” Kennedy
said. “WNE students have the opportunity to work with internationally renowned faculty on their innovative research projects through our professional PharmD pro- gram or graduate program in Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacogenomics.
The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences educates future-focused leaders in the health and wellness fields through innovative doctoral, master’s, and dual-degree programs. Collaborative faculty research, including research with students, is a hallmark of the master’s and doctoral experience.
Quercis Pharma AG, a private, clinical-stage bio- pharmaceutical company, and Western New England University entered into a worldwide license agreement in May 2021 for the exclusive rights to develop and market Zafirlukast in a variety of medical indications.

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