KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Leaders of the Pat Summitt Foundation and The University of Tennessee Medical Center held a media event today to announce a new strategic partnership to significantly expand the scope and capacity of the Medical Center's existing Alzheimer's Clinic and establish the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic. The joint announcement was made by the Foundation's Advisory Board Chairman James A. Haslam II and The University of Tennessee Medical Center President and CEO Joseph R. Landsman, Jr.
"The Pat Summitt Foundation Advisory Board with Tyler and Pat have been exploring how our three year old Foundation could have the most significant impact at this point in time on the ever increasing need for Alzheimer's services," said Haslam.
"We are unanimous in our belief that this alliance with The University of Tennessee Medical Center is the right fit for the mission of Pat's foundation and will benefit an enormous number of families in our region and the state."
At the event, the Foundation presented the initial grant of $100,000 to support The University of Tennessee Medical Center in the launch of this milestone initiative as part of their commitment to raise $500,000 per year over the next five years - $2.5 million - to support the Clinic's operation and services. As a kick-off to the national fundraising campaign it was reported that an anonymous donor has stepped forward with a challenge pledge to match the first $1,000,000 in donations to the Foundation for this initiative.
"The need for additional patient care capabilities, family caregiver support and clinical trials for those facing Alzheimer's disease is staggering," said Landsman. "We currently serve 3,000 patients and their families at our Alzheimer's clinic and project the need will double to 6,000 in the next five years. The Pat Summitt Foundation partnership will allow us to help so many more families and expand discovery by virtue of new national clinical trials, made possible by the establishment of a clinic dedicated exclusively to the care, family support and advancement of new treatments of Alzheimer's disease."
The American Alzheimer's Association's 2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report that more than 120,000 senior citizens in Tennessee faced Alzheimer's disease in 2010, a 20% increase from a decade prior. By the year 2025, more than 160,000 Tennesseans are expected to have Alzheimer's disease.
"The Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic will provide timely, comprehensive and compassionate care, with an experienced multi-disciplinary team, to East Tennesseans faced with cognitive disorders," said Dr. Monica Crane, a geriatric medicine physician at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "It will allow us to further grow the services we've provided to patients and families faced with degenerative neurological disorders for the past 35 years at the medical center. Further, it will assist us in our unending goal of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's disease through expansion of our participation in clinical trials."
A key step in the launch of the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic, according to foundation and medical center representatives, is to recruit and retain a full-time medical director with national recognition for work in both treating and researching Alzheimer's disease. The medical director will lead the development of the Clinic including recruitment of other clinicians and researchers to advance its scope and impact.
In a joint statement Pat and Tyler Summitt said, "We could not possibly be any more excited about The Pat Summitt Foundation and the University of Tennessee Medical Center partnering in the creation of the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic. We are looking forward to the clinic becoming a huge help to patients and their families, caregivers and friends, who are living with Alzheimer's disease and its related dementias. It is our hope that by creating this clinic, everyone will have access to resources that will help them as they walk through this difficult journey."
Pat and the Foundation's leadership are committed to aggressively raise funds to fulfill her vision and support this milestone initiative. Pat is inviting individuals, corporations, and foundations to help with this battle by joining her team and making a contribution to The Pat Summitt Foundation. For more information visit www.patsummitt.org to learn about the many ways anyone can give or get involved.
About The Pat Summitt Foundation
The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, was established by Pat Summitt in November 2011. Dedicated to winning the fight against Alzheimer's disease, its mission as a grant-making foundation is to advance research for prevention and a cure; to provide hope, care, and critical support for patients, caregivers and families; and to educate the public on the impacts of Alzheimer's disease and the urgent need for a cure. Pat Summitt, her family and friends have chosen East Tennessee Foundation to receive and manage contributions to Pat's fund, and to facilitate their grantmaking in support of the mission. To learn more visit the website at www.patsummitt.org.
About University of Tennessee Medical Center
The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the region's only hospital to achieve status as a Magnet® recognized organization, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region's only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at www.utmedicalcenter.org.
A photo accompanying this release is available at:
CONTACT:Patrick Wade Cell: 865-696-1182 Jim Ragonese Cell: 865-228-0585
Source:The University of Tennessee Medical Center