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Hofstra University, Northwell Health announce naming of medical school in honor of Donald and Barbara Zucker

New York Philanthropists Donate $61M to Support the Next Generation of Health Care Providers

Hofstra University and Northwell Health today announced the naming of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in recognition of the couple’s long-time support. Their recent gifts, totaling $61 million, will support the next generation of health care professionals in medicine, research and nursing, and includes:

  • $50 million to create a permanent endowment to be used exclusively to provide scholarship support to students in the Zucker School of Medicine.
  • $10 million to create and endow the Barbara Hrbek Zucker Emerging Scientists Program at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to help prepare postdoctoral fellows for successful careers and to identify, promote and nurture early career faculty to develop highly productive, visible and important research programs.
  • $1 million to provide scholarship support for students at the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.

Over the past three decades, the couple’s generous philanthropy has also supported Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, NY, Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine in Manhasset, NY, and numerous other initiatives across Northwell Health. These most recent gifts make Donald and Barbara Zucker Northwell Health’s leading lifetime donors.

“More so than any other donors in our history, Don and Barbara Zucker have been extraordinary supporters of causes where we have historically struggled to get financial support, including behavioral health programs,” said Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health. “Their latest gifts are a testament to the Zuckers’ leadership as philanthropists who recognize the vital role of medical education and research in transforming the future of medicine.”

Said Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz: “Almost a decade ago, we set out to create a new model of medical education that would improve health care in our region and today we mark another milestone in that journey. The Zuckers’ support solidifies and expands our commitment to train innovative physicians whose backgrounds and experiences are as diverse as the people they treat.”

Launched in 2008, the Zucker School of Medicine was the first allopathic medical school to open in New York State in more than 40 years. Hofstra and Northwell have been equal partners in establishing and operating the School of Medicine, an institution built upon the strong clinical and graduate medical education programs of Northwell Health, and the robust research and academic programs of Hofstra University and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

This dynamic collaboration has transformed medical education through the creation of an innovative curriculum that integrates academic course content with hands-on clinical experiences throughout the four-year program. It is a new approach to learning that combines the biomedical, biopsychosocial and clinical medicine needed to prepare tomorrow’s health care professionals — starting on the first day of medical training. With an enrollment of 400, the Zucker School of Medicine had more than 7,000 applicants vying for 100 slots in 2016.

“From the inception, the medical school has been close to our hearts,” said Donald Zucker. “Barbara and I feel it is incumbent on us to help young people achieve their dreams to be a physician. We, who have been so fortunate together, love doing this.”

Just two years following the graduation of its first class of medical students, the Zucker School of Medicine ranks among the top medical schools in the country for primary care, according to the 2018 US News & World Report Best Graduate Schools. At No. 55, Hofstra Northwell ties with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and Tufts University in Boston, MA.

“The Zuckers recognize that supporting students’ financial needs is a critical part of building a truly great medical school,” said Lawrence G. Smith, MD, MACP, founding dean of the Zucker School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Northwell Health. “Their generosity will ensure that our medical school will continue to be represented by a highly diverse, talented student body that reflects the communities we serve throughout the New York metropolitan area.”

Funding from the Barbara Hrbek Zucker Emerging Scientists Program endowment will allow the Feinstein Institute to improve postdoctoral training and promote the transition of early-career investigators to independence, with the goal of establishing the research organization as a destination for the nation’s top scientific talent. In particular, these funds will permit the development of an institutional mentoring program to help senior faculty become effective mentors and advocates for fellows and junior faculty. The program will expand ongoing training sessions in leadership and team management, provide training in grant writing and oral presentations, and create a culture for all investigators to facilitate collaborations and effectively leverage assets.

“As former chair of the Feinstein Institute, I see the value of this program in supporting young investigators and post-doctoral candidates, making the Feinstein a destination for the nation’s top talent,” said Barbara Zucker.

The Zuckers’ $1 million gift to the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Studies will have an immediate impact on students currently enrolled in the program, many of whom are attending classes while supporting their families. This gift will significantly lessen the financial burden for many deserving students who will ultimately have a positive impact on the lives of countless patients.

Launched in 2015, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies aims to be the global leader in interprofessional education preparing the next generation of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The school incorporates the diverse academic programs and infrastructure of Hofstra University, as well as the significant clinical activities and educational resources of Northwell Health. The program educates nurse practitioners who will be prepared to provide quality, holistic, scientifically sound, and patient-centered care while optimizing the health and well being of diverse populations and communities for the betterment of humanity.

About the author

Adrienne Stoller

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