The Tampa-based DeBartolo Family Foundation has committed $2 million to research and education in the field of colon cancer research.
The recipient — Cleveland Clinic — is one of the largest private medical centers in the world, with a staff of 1,600 physicians representing 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. US News & World Report 2006 ranked it as one of the top three leading hospitals in America, and now it is expanding to Florida.
Cynthia and Edward DeBartolo Jr. of Tampa, Fla., have established The DeBartolo Fund for Cancer Research and Education and also made a donation to the Victor W. Fazio-endowed chair for colorectal surgery.
The DeBartolo family of companies has deep roots in Ohio. The company deals primarily in retail shopping center development and merchant banking, and also has operations in Jacksonville, Fla. and Scottsdale, Ariz.
The DeBartolo family is almost as well-known for its philanthropy. The DeBartolo Family Foundation has provided grants to 49 Tampa Bay community organizations. It has shown a strong commitment to healthcare and wellness in the Tampa Bay region, with generous donations to Florida Blood Services; the Gift of Life Foundation, which works to increase organ donation awareness; and Francis House, a respite center for those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
The foundation's donation to the Cleveland Clinic will not only have impact on a national scale, but it will also benefit the South Florida medical community. The Cleveland Clinic now has two Florida branches, one located in Weston and a newly opened one in Palm Beach.
"I'm proud to continue the family's legacy of contributing to the advancement of the diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer," said Edward DeBartolo, concerning the $2 million commitment. DeBartolo is a former member of the board of trustees at the Cleveland Clinic and an honorary chairman of the Digestive Disease Center Leadership Board. Both Cynthia and Edward became honorary chairpersons of the Cleveland Clinic's "Today's Innovation, Tomorrow's Healthcare" campaign, an organization built with the goal of raising $1.25 billion. The Cleveland Clinic's urology and gastroenterology services are ranked among the two best in the nation; the clinic has ranked number one in cardiac care for 12 consecutive years.
The Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 as a nonprofit academic medical center and has evolved into a worldwide beacon for excellence in healthcare.
The new locations in the Southeast are aimed at upholding the standards that were the basis of the original Cleveland Clinic, namely a commitment to providing state-of-the-art medical care and extremely qualified physicians (they must have Florida licenses and be board-certified or board-eligible in one or more specialties) that receive no compensation for the number of patients they see or the number of tests they order. There is a close proximity of examination rooms and offices as well as collegial collaboration and peer review that makes the process much easier and more effective for patients who require the services of more than one physician.
The Weston, Fla., branch recently expanded its campus by establishing the Spine and Neuromuscular Center, increasing the clinic's capacity by 30 percent. The branch also received the South Florida Business Journal's 8th annual Excellence in Healthcare Award for the chest pain alert team. The award is given to healthcare providers who, according to their Web site, "have successfully implemented truly creative programs and practices to meet the challenges faced by the healthcare industry in a variety of healthcare settings."