A Valentine’s Day philanthropic gift of $2.5 million will support the expansion of the renowned Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute with a new hub at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield and clinical care services at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva and Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb.
“This expansion is a unique opportunity to offer the highest level of academic medicine and research in a community hospital setting,” said Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Developing true connections across the entire Northwestern Medicine health system to share talent and knowledge will ensure we are providing exceptional and all-encompassing cardiovascular care to all Northwestern Medicine patients.”
The $2.5 million donation is composed of many unrestricted gifts to the Northwestern Memorial Foundation from donors in the community to Central DuPage and Delnor hospitals over many years.
“Philanthropy has always played a significant role in our community hospitals. Our foundation is proud this investment will expand our health system’s nationally-ranked cardiology program to now include the western suburbs,” said Dee Manire, vice chair, Northwestern Memorial Foundation Board of Directors. “Our investment will improve the health of our loved ones, friends and neighbors throughout the communities we serve.”
The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute was established on Valentine’s Day 2005 under the leadership of Dr. McCarthy with a generous gift by Chicago real estate developer and philanthropist Neil Bluhm. Since then, Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program has gone from unranked to 6th nationally as rated by U.S. News and World Report. Northwestern Memorial is also currently ranked first in the country for heart failure survival and second for heart attack and stroke survival in Medicare patients, the triple threat of cardiovascular disease.
“Creating this institute was the best investment I’ve ever made,” said Bluhm. “It is exciting to expand the geographical reach of the program to offer more patients access to leading-edge cardiac care, complex heart procedures and clinical trials close to home.”
In preparation for the expansion, the Central DuPage and Delnor teams have been training under the guidance of the experienced Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute team to bring cutting-edge cardiovascular procedures to the western suburbs. Recent ‘firsts’ at Central DuPage include Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), Intuity sutureless aortic valve replacement, CardioMEMS for heart failure and cryoablation for heart rhythm disorders.
“Our community hospitals are enthusiastic about the opportunity to join one of the top cardiovascular programs in the country and become a destination for patients seeking superior cardiovascular care who wish to have their care closer to where they live and work,” said Michael Vivoda, senior vice president of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and president of Northwestern Medicine West Region.
Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute will be developed in the western suburbs with a focus on coronary disease, heart failure, heart rhythm disorders, heart valve disease, preventative cardiology and vascular disease. The expansion will also streamline and enhance coordination for west suburban patients who may require heart transplantation or other cutting edge treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
In the past 12 years, following the development of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, the number of cardiology patient visits have tripled and Northwestern Memorial Hospital is now the leading center for cardiac surgery volume in the state. The astounding growth and development would not have been possible without the generous support of many philanthropic donors.
“There are so many families each year who endure the shock, trauma and fear that comes from a sudden heart attack. We feel truly blessed that when we were faced with that life changing experience, we could rely on the world-class care of Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines, who was treated for a heart attack and then subsequently received a heart transplant in 2016 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Separate from the Valentine’s Day announcement of $2.5 million from various donors, Mr. and Mrs. Munoz recently provided a generous gift to support the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s Center for Heart Failure in honor of the patient care team who saved his life.
“We are committed to ensuring that more families have access to such life-saving treatment. I am here today thanks to the incomparable talent and dedication of the physicians, nurses and staff, who worked as a team to restore me to total health. My wife, Cathy, and I are grateful to be able to provide a gift that will help advance the field of cardiovascular medicine,” said Munoz.
The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is part of the Northwestern Medicine health system, with multiple sites of care in Chicago and the region. For more information or to make an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist, visit heart.nm.org.