“Philanthropy in an academic medical center such as the Mount Sinai Health System helps improve patient care and provides necessary funding for the innovative treatments that answer society’s pressing health care needs,” according to leaders of Mount Sinai, who recently appeared on a special edition of CNBC’s television show Squawk Box to discuss their support.
“This is a very difficult time for academic health centers. Our margins are forever shrinking. So it is essential we have the kind of philanthropy that our board and others make possible, that gives us the margin we need to be innovative,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Mount Sinai Health System. Dr. Davis appeared on the early morning television program with Peter W. May, Chairman of the Boards of Trustees of the Mount Sinai Health System, and four trustees, including Carl Icahn—for whom Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is named—who participated over the telephone.
“All of us in the financial world who spend a lot of time making money have a responsibility to give it back,” said Mr. May. “It’s relatively easy once you’ve gotten to a certain point in your career to write a check. It’s much more difficult to roll up your sleeves and get really involved. In an institution as big as Mount Sinai, with 6,000 doctors and seven individual hospitals, it’s a very competitive business organization, and the skills of our board members are very useful.”
Mr. May said many board members were deeply interested in different areas of science that comprise specialized research institutes at Mount Sinai, and were not only donating money to those institutes, but lending their business skills to strengthen the organizations, as well.
Trustee Carl Icahn, who called Mount Sinai “one of America’s great institutions,” said, “I feel you have to give the money back” to society.
Trustee Glenn Dubin, who with his wife Eva Andersson-Dubin, MD, founded the Dubin Breast Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai Health System, said, “Philanthropy is the difference between standard of care and excellent care.”
Richard Friedman, a trustee who, with his wife, Susan, helped establish The Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai, says philanthropic efforts had raised tens of millions of dollars, money that was “mostly devoted to recruiting researchers to study everything from autism through Alzheimer’s, and everything in between.” Brain disorders are pervasive throughout society, he said, and there was so much left to discover.
Economist Peter Orzsag, former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama, said that as a trustee, an important Mount Sinai cost-saving initiative he was learning about was reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections.