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January 15, 2004

Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program Established at PENN Medicine
with a $6 Million Gift

(Philadelphia, PA) -- The University of Pennsylvania today announced the establishment of the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program, comprising a set of collaborative initiatives between PENN Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to advance drug discovery, clinical research, and patient care related to Alzheimer’s disease. The Program is created through a $6 million gift from Marian S. Ware, a long-time supporter of the University and advocate for progress in medical research and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Bringing our strengths together in new ways is a major focus of our strategic planning at PENN Medicine,” said David L. Cohen, Esq., Chair of the PENN Medicine board. “This generous gift exemplifies this goal, and is a powerful demonstration of confidence in this institution’s current and future role in improving the human condition in our community and well beyond. We are proud to have the generous support of the Ware family, which is one of the most charitable families in our Commonwealth.”

The Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program will uphold a three-part mission: drug discovery, identifying and evaluating novel therapeutics; clinical research, particularly in developing and testing biomarkers to identify patients with Alzheimer’s disease; and patient care, formulating best practice models that coordinate the complex care needs of patients and their family members.

“With our aged population projected to expand dramatically in the coming years, and with Alzheimer’s disease research showing great potential, now is the time to focus increased resources and energies on uncovering the mysteries of this devastating disease and offering new hope to its patients and their loved ones,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “The timely and extraordinarily generous gift from Marian S. Ware will be invaluable to advancing Penn’s contributions to several realms of this vital work.”

The Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program will build on the recognized expertise and research strengths at Penn’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, and collaborating faculty and centers within the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

In the last decade, Penn researchers have identified potential targets of therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. The drug discovery component of the Program will capitalize on these recent discoveries by attempting to identify novel compounds that may prevent or ameliorate the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This work will be led by Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research Director Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, MBA, the John H. Ware 3rd Professor in Alzheimer’s Research, and co-director John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, William Maul Measey – Truman G. Schnabel Jr., M.D. Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology and Director of the Institute on Aging. (Both Drs. Lee and Trojanowski are professors in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Penn’s School of Medicine.)

The clinical research initiative addresses another goal within the Alzheimer’s disease medical community: developing a reliable, easily administered, and safe test to both detect Alzheimer’s disease pathology and measure changes in disease progression. The assay would facilitate clinical research and improve a physician’s ability to identify patients with Alzheimer’s disease who might benefit from treatment. This work will be led by Christopher M. Clark, MD (Department of Neurology) and Jason H. Karlawish, MD (Department of Medicine: Division of Geriatrics), of Penn’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center Memory Disorders Clinic.

The third main piece of the Program focuses on developing a comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective model of care management for Alzheimer’s patients, who often have multiple chronic illnesses and must navigate through an intricate, disjointed health care system. A recently completed pilot study, led by Mary D. Naylor, PhD, RN, the Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, demonstrated the potential of an innovative, evidence-based model of care management for high-risk elders and their caregivers, one implemented by advanced practice nurses in collaboration with patients’ physicians and other health team members. Through the Program, Dr. Naylor will lead the implementation and evaluation of this Care Coordination Model to patients within the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

“Managing the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients and providing nursing support for them and their family members is ultimately as critical as managing the disease itself. In order to best care for Alzheimer’s patients, we must be continuously working to develop, test, and apply cutting-edge models of care management. Mrs. Ware’s decision to comprehensively address the many facets of Alzheimer’s disease shows extraordinary vision, ” said Dr. Afaf Meleis, Dean of the School of Nursing.

Marian S. Ware was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1938. In 1947, she co-founded the Oxford Foundation with her husband, John H. Ware 3rd, U.S. Congressman, University trustee, and chairman of the board of the company now known as American Water, in Voorhees, NJ. Mr. Ware passed away in 1997. They raised four children; daughter Marilyn Ware is a PENN Medicine Trustee, and daughter Carol Ware Gates serves on the Board of Overseers of the School of Nursing. Marian S. Ware and the Oxford Foundation established the John H. Ware 3rd Professorship in Alzheimer’s Research at Penn in 1999. The Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program marks a new dimension in her long-standing commitments to Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment and to Penn. Mrs. Ware is currently Chair Emeritus of the Oxford Foundation.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking, and behavior -- drastically affecting the daily lives of patients and their families. Approximately 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease today, and it is estimated that 13 million will be afflicted by the middle of this century unless a cure or prevention is found, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. One in 10 people over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 have the disease. A person with Alzheimer’s lives an average of 8 years and may live as many as 20 years or more from the onset of symptoms. U.S. society spends at least $100 billion a year on Alzheimer’s disease.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.2 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System consists of four hospitals (including its flagship Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report), a faculty practice plan, a primary-care provider network, three multispecialty satellite facilities, and home health care and hospice.

As a nationally top-ranked xchool of nursing, the mission of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is to make a significant societal impact through the generation and dissemination of new knowledge, the development of models of care that define excellent practice, and the education of future clinicians, scholars, and global leaders of the profession. Penn Nursing is consistently recognized as leading the way on a national and international basis in advancing knowledge that positively influences health care policies and practice. With an internationally recognized unique educational curriculum, the School builds on partnerships with leading health systems and community agencies to provide students with theory and practice skills that will meet the needs of culturally diverse patients in any clinical setting.

Penn’s School of Nursing is ranked #4 in the nation for the receipt of NIH research funding and the School’s faculty continue to develop, lead, and participate in signature research programs that are making an impact in health care of older adults, women, and children; health outcomes research; and the history of nursing and health care. In particular, Penn is recognized as a national pioneer in providing cutting edge care to vulnerable older adults through its educational and research initiatives as well as its innovative nurse-managed clinics.


Release available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/jan04/ware.htm