JABSOM gets private funding to study neurodegenerative disordersUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Director of Communications, University of Hawaii Foundation
"JABSOM is developing a growing expertise in the arena of neuroscience research,” said Jerris R. Hedges, dean and professor of medicine, Barry and Virginia Weinman endowed chair. “Initially, this fund will enable us to invest in the neuroscience research of some of our outstanding junior investigators to develop the preliminary data they need to compete for larger, competitively-funded grants. This fund will ultimately allow us to serve Hawai’i, and those in our community affected by these disorders, with better diagnostic tools and treatments.”
Mark & Claire Litchman are part-time Hawai‘i residents and generous supporters of the University of Hawai‘i. In 2009, they created the Claire B. and Mark L. Litchman Endowed Scholarship in Nursing in Honor of the U.S. Nurse Cadet Corps of World War II at the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at UH Mānoa. Claire Litchman served in the U.S. Nurse Cadet Corps. Mark L. Litchman, Jr. is a retired attorney and former Washington State Representative. He served in the Washington State House from 1955-71 and served as the state majority leader as well.
The impact of the Litchmans’ generosity is already being felt through their funding of a new research study entitled "Changes in Independence of Patients with Alzheimer's Disease." This research project, under principal investigator Dr. Christina Bell, MD in the JABSOM Department of Geriatric Medicine, grows out of a larger study currently funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation and will examine nursing home patients with dementia and strokes.
This new study focuses on the care of nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease and explores changes in their level of independence. Nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease gradually lose the ability to walk, participate in activities and communicate, and physicians do not know how to prevent this loss of ability. The effects of hospitalizations on the function of nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease have not been well examined in a study following patients over time. Using information from medical records of 200 nursing home patients cared for at Kuakini Medical Center between 2003 and 2006, the research team will examine the functional changes of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and examine how these changes vary depending on therapy provided, hospitalizations and other diseases. Ultimately the results of this study will help physicians improve their care of nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease, result in improved quality of life for patients, and reduced costs of care.
Contributions to JABSOM can be made at www.uhf.hawaii.edu/GiveToJABSOM or please contact Jeffrie Jones at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation (808) 692--0873 or e-mail Jeffrie.Jones@uhfoundation.org.
The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. www.uhfoundation.org.