June

A Gracious Gift: Endowed chair praised as vital in battle to treat dementia

Published on Monday, June 1, 2015

Media Contact: Gary Pettus at 601-815-9266 or gpettus@umc.edu.

Published on June 01, 2015

Dr. Thomas "Tom" Mosley Jr., a nationally renowned authority on brain aging, was honored on April 14 as the recipient of the Dudley and Robbie Hughes Distinguished MIND Center Chair.

A gift of $2 million from Robbie and Dudley Hughes of Jackson endowed the faculty chair for the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center, which Mosley directs in its work to expose the causes of, and find treatments for, Alzheimer's disease and related forms of dementia. 

"It is critically important for the center to have the chair for the long-term success of the MIND Center," said Mosley, professor of medicine (geriatrics) and neurology, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor and associate director of geriatric medicine. 

"It ensures that UMMC will be able to recruit a top scientist and sustain our leadership in this area long after my career is over."

The ceremony in Jackson also paid tribute to the Hughes family, whose MIND Center donation is personal; Dudley Hughes, a titan in the oil and gas industry, had struggled with dementia. One week after he and his wife were recognized at the event, he died, on April 21.

Several members of his extended family have been affected by the disease as well.

"I would not have any of them live through the anxiety, confusion and loneliness of this disease," Robbie Hughes said last year after the endowment was announced.

The disease, for which there is no known prevention or cure, brings on memory loss, impaired reasoning and personality changes.

"That is why I wanted to do what I could to stop dementia from ravaging our family, and families like ours," said Robbie Hughes, a successful stock market investor.

Mosley has known the MIND Center benefactors for about four years.

"You will not meet a kinder, more gracious family," he said. "Mrs. Hughes, along with us at the MIND Center, is really thinking about how we can save the next generation. If we don't put money behind research we're not going to be able to do it."

Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, afflicts 5.3 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, reports the Alzheimer's Association.

To better understand the disease, the MIND Center is leading several collaborations in research with other top medical centers in the U.S. and Europe. In March of last year, it opened its first clinic, which offers state-of-the-art treatment and patient-based research.

Lately, it has embarked on one of the largest and most wide-ranging studies to pinpoint early risk factors for dementia and brain aging.

As founding director of the MIND Center, Mosley was among the first to discover that abnormal brain changes can begin in healthy, middle-aged people. His research also revealed that these changes go hand-in-hand with cardiovascular risk factors - meaning that early intervention could affect them.

His involvement in a collaborative, groundbreaking effort that detected memory loss related to genetics could be the first step toward developing new treatments.

Continued progress at the center depends on funding from the National Institutes of Health and support from people like Robbie and Dudley Hughes, who were named Philanthropists of the Year in 2009 by the Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In 2013, the MIND Center recognized Robbie Hughes as a Community Champion.

"Mrs. Hughes is very interested in the work of the MIND Center," Mosley said.

"I'm deeply honored by her generosity and her support of the center and of me personally. I couldn't be more honored than to have the Hughes' name linked with mine."

In perpetuity: Draper’s endowment fortifies psychiatry fund

Dr. Edgar Draper
Dr. Edgar Draper

A generous gift from retired UMMC professor and physician Dr. Edgar Draper of Jackson has now become a fully endowed fund, continuing in perpetuity a lectureship in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and recognitions for top psychiatry residents. 

The Edgar Draper, M.D., Psychiatry Support Fund at the University of Mississippi Foundation benefits UMMC. It honors Draper, who served as chair of the department for 20 years. During that time, he brought the department from three to 33 faculty members and from three residents to 22. 

The lectureship fund goal of $25,000 has been met, a feat made possible not just by Draper, but also by contributions from his friends, family and colleagues in the medical profession.

"I'm delighted at the response of many people who have taken this thing over the top," Draper said. "I feel like celebrating."

 "We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Draper for his continued involvement in the education of our residents in psychiatry at UMMC," said Dr. Scott Rodgers, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. "His commitment to this department has been longstanding, and this fund allows us to recognize excellence."

The Psychiatry Support Fund for several years has been hard at work, Draper said, with the inaugural lecture being delivered in October 2013 by Dr. Tom Mosley, professor of geriatric medicine and neurology and director of the MIND Center at UMMC.  

And, one of Draper's former School of Medicine residents, Dr. Joseph Novello, gave a grand rounds presentation in October 2014 in association with the Psychiatry Support Fund. Novello is an adult and child/adolescent psychiatrist, consultant and teacher in Washington, D.C. 

"He's a remarkably capable person," Draper said of Novello. "He was kind enough to offer to come for free, and he did."

The fund supports annual recognition, including a plaque and cash gift, of a senior psychiatry resident who shows excellence as a scholar and clinician. Previous winners include Dr. Ankur Bindal, 2012; Dr. Pavan Pamadurthi, 2013; and Dr. Umesh Bhandari, 2014.

Continuing gifts to the fund are encouraged by the UMMC Office of Development, said Gift Officer Sheila Henderson. Gifts can be made online at www.umc.edu/givenow. Under UMMC options, choose the Ed Draper, M.D., Psychiatry Support Fund.

Or, send checks payable to the UMMC Fund-Edgar Draper Fund to the UMMC Office of Development, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 N. State St. Jackson, MS 39216.

And the Award goes to: Peds chair is recipient’s ‘Academy Award’

Dr. Ed Harmon, second from right, is honored as the first James E. Keeton, M.D. Chair of Pediatric Urology. Celebrating with him are, from left, Keeton; Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; and Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of Ole Miss.
Dr. Ed Harmon, second from right, is honored as the first James E. Keeton, M.D. Chair of Pediatric Urology. Celebrating with him are, from left, Keeton; Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; and Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of Ole Miss.

Two long-time friends were recognized on May 7 for their dedication to keeping Mississippi's children healthy. 

At the celebration, Dr. Edwin P. Harmon, chief of pediatric urology, was named the first James E. Keeton, M.D. Chair of Pediatric Urology, a newly endowed chair established with a $1 million gift from Friends of Children's Hospital.  

Harmon and Keeton have been friends since 1972 when they met in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy. At the event, they were surrounded by their children, grandchildren and other friends, including one friend Keeton has known since "footie-pajama days." 

Friends of Children's Hospital surprised Keeton, former vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, with the principal gift to establish the chair, which is meant to enhance research and clinical care in pediatric urology. It is the fourth endowed chair in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical Center. 

Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of the University of Mississippi, introduced Keeton, noting that among Keeton's many talents, the strongest is his ability to bring people together.  

"If you want to know something about compassion for other people and caring for other people, he's your man," Jones remarked.  

"This is a personal honor for me, but that's not what this is about," said Keeton. "This is about the children of Mississippi. This is about improving health care in Mississippi. That's our whole mission at the Medical Center. That's our whole mission for the state of Mississippi." 

Sara Ray, chair of the Friends board, has also known Keeton for more than 30 years. She thanked Keeton for advocating for Friends and Batson Children's Hospital. Speaking to the crowd, she told Keeton, "It was truly our honor and our pleasure to honor you because of your support." 

Earlier in 2015, Keeton stepped down from his position as vice chancellor. In that role, he led the Medical Center through five challenging years, including an economic recession and the rollout of the national health-care law. The Columbus native, 75, currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Surgery/Pediatrics and advisor to the vice chancellor. 

"The majority of his career was spent serving a very special group of children and there is no finer way, no better way, no more appropriate way to honor that lifetime of service than by this chair of pediatric urology named for him," said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. "And there's no finer individual to hold that chair than Dr. Ed Harmon."  

Harmon, professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Urology, completed residency training at UMMC in surgery/urology, but spent the majority of his career in New Orleans on the faculty of Tulane University Medical School and as chief of surgery and associate medical director for surgical services at Children's Hospital of New Orleans. 

After receiving the medal from Woodward and Keeton, Harmon said he was humbled by the honor and joked, "This is my Academy Award."

He recounted the events that led to his return to the Medical Center in 2007, saying "I'm a great believer that God directs us if we just let him direct us."

Dr. Boni Elewski, third from left, professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, presented the first Louis J. “Skip” Wise, M.D. Education Fund Lectureship Feb. 23.  The lectureship is named for Wise, third from right, a longtime Jackson dermatologist who graduated from the Ole Miss Medical School, did residency training at UMMC and taught here for several years. Also attending the event are dermatology house officers, from left, Dr. Michael Cosulich, Dr. Lauren Craig, Dr. Lauren Casamiquela and, far right, Dr. Kenneth Saul. The fund was established to honor Wise’s career, commitment and dedication to dermatology in Mississippi. To give to the “Skip” Wise Fund, visit https://www.umc.edu/givenow/Default.aspx.
Dr. Boni Elewski, third from left, professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, presented the first Louis J. “Skip” Wise, M.D. Education Fund Lectureship Feb. 23. The lectureship is named for Wise, third from right, a longtime Jackson dermatologist who graduated from the Ole Miss Medical School, did residency training at UMMC and taught here for several years. Also attending the event are dermatology house officers, from left, Dr. Michael Cosulich, Dr. Lauren Craig, Dr. Lauren Casamiquela and, far right, Dr. Kenneth Saul. The fund was established to honor Wise’s career, commitment and dedication to dermatology in Mississippi. To give to the “Skip” Wise Fund, visit https://www.umc.edu/givenow/Default.aspx.