Amidst the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the public phase of the most ambitious fundraising campaign in UTHealth history as our supporters gave with visionary generosity in Fiscal Year 2021.
This year, a total of 2,286 donors contributed nearly $83 million to the university, growing the UTHealth endowment to $733 million and strengthening the combined efforts of our faculty and students to solve our community’s most pressing health challenges.
Many Faces. One Mission.
On April 8, we publicly announced the university's first comprehensive campaign, Many Faces. One Mission. This unprecedented initiative aims to raise $500 million to improve the health and well-being of our communities. Since the campaign’s quiet phase began in 2015, our supporters have already given more than $442 million, bringing us to 88% of our total goal. The campaign focuses on three main impact areas:
- Advancing brain and behavioral health to 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 to address shortages in critical health professions by deepening our commitment to the next generation of practitioners and innovators—and the experts who educate them.
- Improving Houston’s health to enhance efforts to save lives and improve health outcomes by amplifying collaborative research, encouraging a passion for learning, and promoting patient care and public health initiatives.
A commitment to behavioral health
In line with the campaign’s focus on advancing brain and behavioral health, the John S. Dunn Foundation made an extraordinary $25 million commitment to launch behavioral health initiatives at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth—the latest example of the foundation’s longstanding commitment to this critical field of health care.
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 pledge will provide critical new resources for mental health, including research to advance discoveries in our understanding and treatment of these diseases; academic environment enrichment for fellows, residents, and students; a lecture series to bring experts to share their knowledge with faculty and students; and faculty endowments to recruit and retain outstanding talent.
To help facilitate connections between alumni, the university launched UTHealth Alumni Community, a central hub linking graduates throughout the university and within each of our six schools. This online community offers alumni new opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
Graduates can connect with former classmates, find alumni events, post photos, and create or join specialized groups. They can give back by serving as mentors for current students and connecting recent graduates with job opportunities. They can also advance their professional goals by finding mentors, posting or searching for job openings, and adding their business to the community’s online directory.
Our faculty offer a wealth of knowledge about health science topics that affect lives all around us, and we value every opportunity for our friends and supporters to learn from these renowned experts. As we pivoted from in-person events due to COVID-19, we created UTHealth Live, a series of virtual events where attendees can meet our top educators and scientists while gaining in-depth understanding of key health fields.
We held seven events this fiscal year focused on themes including dementia, cancer, COVID-19, and heart health. UTHealth Live has proven highly popular, often drawing more than 100 attendees.
Pandemic research begins to yield results
When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, the generosity of our supporters helped launch a series of research initiatives to better understand and treat the virus. Of particular note, the COVID-19+ Cohort Study—a collaboration with partners in the Texas Medical Center and Greater Houston HealthConnect—examined records from 215,142 patients with COVID-19 throughout Texas, aiming to identify factors such as demographics and comorbidities that lead to worse outcomes and providing knowledge that can help clinicians optimize treatment plans. The study recently began a new phase in which researchers will examine records from both adults and children to examine outcomes across all age ranges.
Another ongoing study explores a potential treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the virus’ deadliest complications. In a clinical trial, we aim to determine whether a drug called vadadustat can help COVID-19 patients with ARDS by reducing inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs. The United States Department of Defense awarded our researchers a $5.1 million grant early this year to expand the study—an example of how philanthropic support of early research can lead to significant outside funding and accelerated progress.
As new challenges and opportunities in health science arise, the many faces of UTHealth have continued to show their commitment to saving and improving lives in every circumstance and season.
“Our faculty, students, and supporters have accomplished great things together over the past year,” says Kevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE, Senior Vice President of Development and Public Affairs. “We look forward to finishing the Many Faces. One Mission. campaign strong as we prepare for a future of limitless possibilities.”