Major Gift Advances Palliative Care

Benefactors Patty and Jay Baker recently donated $10 million to establish The Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center at Mount Sinai to support public policy, education, training, research, and national outreach to improve the quality of care for seriously ill Americans and their families.

The transformational donation was announced by the Care Center’s Co-Directors Diane E. Meier, MD, and R. Sean Morrison, MD, who said the center’s mission was to “ensure that all patients living with serious illness and their families understand the role of palliative care in improving quality of life and request it; that all clinicians have the knowledge and skills to provide palliative care; and that all health care institutions are equipped to deliver it.”

The Mount Sinai Health System’s Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine is a leader in the field, offering clinical, educational, and research programs that serve as national models for major medical centers.

Dr. Meier also serves as Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), and Dr. Morrison, the Hermann Merkin Professor in Palliative Care, is Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, and the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC). The new Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center will serve as a bridge that advances the field and unites the clinical focus of CAPC and the evidence-based research of NPCRC.

While palliative care is an established medical subspecialty that has been shown to improve quality of care and quality of life for patients and families facing serious illness, research conducted in 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., concluded that three out of four Americans had minimal to no knowledge of palliative care and its benefits. Furthermore, the poll revealed that more than 90 percent of Americans would want the added layer of support that palliative care provides for themselves and their loved ones if they were seriously ill.

“Palliative care takes the larger view of caring for patients by looking at their entire spectrum of needs,” says Patty Baker, a noted Broadway theatre producer and philanthropist. “It goes beyond seeing the patient through the prism of illness. One of the many goals of palliative care is to help patients remain safely and securely in their own homes and avoid repeated trips to the hospital, which we wholeheartedly support.”

“We have an ethical obligation to ensure that all aspects of the suffering of patients and families are addressed,” says Jay Baker, former President of the Kohl’s Corporation. “Patty and I have a personal connection to this issue. The care and compassion provided to my sister at Mount Sinai made all the difference in her survival and quality of life and we are so grateful. We strongly believe that everyone should have easy access to palliative care services on the national level.”

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