The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) publicly launched its first comprehensive campaign, Many Faces. One Mission., on Thursday, April 8. The campaign, representing the largest philanthropic effort in UTHealth’s history, aims to raise $500 million to address pressing health challenges and secure the institution’s future as a top health science center. Since the campaign’s quiet phase began in 2015, UTHealth’s closest friends have given more than $400 million in gifts and pledges.
“The nearly 50-year history of UTHealth is an inspiring testament to what we can achieve when we work together,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair at UTHealth. “Many Faces. One Mission. expands on that legacy and embodies our longstanding commitment to building healthier communities.”
With a name that reflects the university’s focus on bringing a community of experts together to advance health, Many Faces. One Mission. launches at a pivotal time for UTHealth. The increased demand for health professionals—from nurses to physicians and public health leaders—poses significant challenges for health systems around the nation.
As a comprehensive health science center, education, research, and patient care come together at UTHealth to address looming gaps in health services and move health care forward. Many Faces. One Mission. will enhance these efforts by driving philanthropic support toward three impact areas at the heart of the university’s mission:
- Advancing Brain and Behavioral Health. The campaign will establish UTHealth as a leader in brain and behavioral health, dedicated to developing better treatments and making mental health care accessible to all.
- Training the Next Generation of Health Professionals. UTHealth will address shortages in critical health care professions by deepening the institution’s commitment to the next generation of practitioners and innovators—as well as the experts who educate them.
- Improving Houston’s Health. The campaign will help UTHealth enhance efforts to save lives and improve health outcomes throughout Houston by amplifying collaborative research, encouraging a passion for learning, and promoting patient care and public health initiatives.
A landmark commitment to improving Houston’s mental health
In line with the campaign’s commitment to advancing brain and behavioral health, the John S. Dunn Foundation made a transformative $25 million commitment to bolster behavioral health initiatives across UTHealth.
“The Dunn Foundation sees an urgent need to improve mental health throughout our communities,” said Dick Rogers, Trustee of the John S. Dunn Foundation. “We have dedicated more and more of the Foundation’s annual grants to mental health initiatives over the past eight to 10 years. Working together with UTHealth, we will ensure that Texans have access to faster behavioral health interventions, better treatment options, and more specialists who can provide compassionate, patient-centered mental health care.”
The Dunn Foundation’s pledge will support faculty, students, and trainees at the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth through the establishment of a research fund to ignite discovery in behavioral health; an education fund to enrich the academic environment for students, residents, and fellows; a new lecture series to share knowledge and spark debate about the latest practices and research; and faculty endowments that will help bring the brightest minds in mental health care to Houston.
“It is reported that nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States suffer from a mental health condition,” said Charles M. Lusk, III, President of the John S. Dunn Foundation. “We see this having a profound effect on society, reflected in homelessness, incarceration rates, and drug and alcohol abuse. This grant to UTHealth is historic for the Dunn Foundation. Never have we considered something this large, which is a testament to the importance we place on addressing mental health. Johnny Dunn would be proud to support efforts to reduce the barriers to quality behavioral health resources.”
In honor of the foundation’s generosity, UTHealth will establish the John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center to support innovative behavioral health research, education, and patient care.
“The John S. Dunn Foundation has played an instrumental role in our efforts to improve physical and behavioral health for decades,” said Colasurdo. “We are honored to continue this tremendous partnership and carry on John S. Dunn’s legacy through the Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center.”
The John S. Dunn Foundation’s generosity joins a growing list of philanthropic commitments to Many Faces. One Mission. from friends of the university:
- The John P. McGovern Foundation made a landmark commitment, the largest gift in the university’s history, to advance health education and discovery at the renamed John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
- Jane and Robert Cizik made a significant pledge to shape the future of nursing education and health care delivery at the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.
- Alumnus John J. Kopchick, PhD, and his wife, Charlene, enhanced educational opportunities at MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School through the establishment of fellowships and the Dr. John J. Kopchick Research Symposium.
- The Glassell Family Foundation made a pledge to UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics—the largest commitment in the school’s history—to advance artificial intelligence and data science education and research.
- Donors including the John P. McGovern Foundation, The Elkins Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care, and The Cullen Foundation provided vital early support for the COVID-19+ Cohort Study, a collaborative effort at UTHealth School of Public Health to understand why some patients get severe COVID-19, to track long-term outcomes, and to identify the most effective treatment options.
- UTHealth School of Dentistry alumni and faculty, including Victoria Q. Cisneros, DDS; Rita M. Cammarata, DDS; Bernard Katz, DDS; and John M. Powers, PhD, gave back to the school to support programs and initiatives ranging from restorative dentistry to prosthodontics to biomaterials.
“Many Faces. One Mission. represents a bold and ambitious next chapter for UTHealth,” said Colasurdo. “This moment in health care demands it, and we know our community will help us meet the challenges at hand to create brighter, healthier futures for all.”
To learn how Many Faces. One Mission. will help UTHealth tackle pervasive health challenges, visit the campaign website.
Deborah Mann Lake