Healthcare Philanthropy Supporting Neuroscience

Healthcare Philanthropy Supporting Neuroscience

Topic: Philanthropy

With your support, Barrow is transforming neuroscience research, education, and care.

There is a strong desire to support advances in medical treatment and research. Charitable giving through healthcare philanthropy benefits hospitals and other healthcare institutions nationwide. According to the Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy, in 2021, more than $40 billion was donated to support healthcare in the United States. The more that hospitals and healthcare institutions like Barrow Neurological Institute invest in healthcare philanthropy, the more it pays off.

As an internationally recognized leader in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience research, Barrow Neurological Institute welcomes patients and families from all over the world. Every day, Barrow specialists “accept challenges, reject norms, and push boundaries” to save the lives of patients who have been told there is no hope.

As the philanthropic arm of Barrow Neurological Institute, Barrow Neurological Foundation is dedicated to providing the resources for the Institute to fulfill its mission of saving lives and providing hope to patients and families living with devastating neurological conditions. When you make a donation to Barrow Neurological Foundation, you are directly contributing to groundbreaking research, innovative treatment, and advanced medical education that saves lives. 

In fiscal year 2022, Barrow Neurological Foundation raised a total of $42 million from 3,776 donors. Donations to Barrow Neurological Foundation can be designated to support specialized centers and programs within the Institute, such as the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center, the Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Program, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, and the Lewis Headache Center. The funds also support basic, clinical, and translational neuroscience research, as well as endowments. 

How Philanthropy Impacts Patient Care

Barrow treats patients with a full range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, ALS and neuromuscular diseases, aneurysms and AVMs, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Parkinson’s disease, concussion and traumatic brain injuries, migraine and headache, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and more. Funds from generous Barrow Neurological Foundation donors support programs throughout the Institute that are dedicated to providing the highest level of patient care, which ultimately leads to better outcomes and more lives saved. 

Like Colby Bishop…

It was just like any other day on campus for Colby Bishop, a student at the University of San Diego (USD), when he suddenly suffered a seizure that caused him to lose consciousness. A professor found him lying on the ground and sought immediate medical attention. Colby’s parents, Lysi and Scott Bishop, who were back home in Idaho, were immediately notified. After imaging tests, the Bishops learned that Colby had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of blood vessels, in his brain. Because AVMs are so fragile, the lesion could rupture at any time, causing severe hemorrhaging that could lead to paralysis or death. 

The doctors in California discovered that Colby’s AVM was located in a region that made removing it extremely difficult. For this high-risk surgery, they referred the Bishops to Michael T. Lawton, MD, President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute. A specialist in treating aneurysms and AVMs, he is among the world’s top neurosurgeons. Dr. Lawton performed a nine-hour surgery to remove Colby’s AVM. The operation was successful, and after a few days in the Neuro-ICU, Colby transferred to the Barrow Neuro-Rehabilitation Center to begin physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Six weeks later, Colby went back to Idaho with his parents and then finished his last semester at USD. 

Lysi and Scott were extremely grateful to Dr. Lawton and the entire team at Barrow for helping their son heal and once again be able to focus on his future without fear. To say thank you, they made a donation to the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center.  

By giving to Barrow, we wanted to help others who find themselves in the same shoes, who get the call that their loved one has an AVM and needs high-risk surgery,” Lysi and Scott say. “Having a resource like Barrow and someone like Dr. Lawton, who has such vast experience in how to save them, truly makes all the difference in the world. It is very important to us to do what we can to support the place that saved our son.

Advancing Neuroscience Research Through Philanthropy

Not only is Barrow Neurological Institute renowned for its world-class patient care, but it also is recognized as a place where novel ideas are investigated and discoveries are made that will have an impact on how neurological diseases are treated in the future. In fiscal year 2022, scientists across Barrow submitted 21 new grant applications to outside agencies, generated more than 136 peer-reviewed publications, and conducted 397 clinical trials.

At Barrow, today’s research can lead to tomorrow’s cures. Some of the most exciting research studies currently funded by philanthropy include: 

  • The use of gene therapy to deliver the protein ACMSD to a certain metabolic pathway that is impaired in Parkinson’s disease in order to reduce the production of molecules that kill neurons and facilitate the production of a neuroprotective compound.
  • Two studies focusing on repurposing the FDA-approved drug Revlimid to treat mild cognitive impairment, which often is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, and another study investigating the use of a multiple sclerosis drug to slow down neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s.
  • A medication-based approach to prevent aneurysms and AVMs from rupturing, which could be life-saving for patients whose risks associated with surgical treatment may outweigh the risk of a rupture.
  • Work to identify the overlapping cellular and molecular mechanisms by which diseases like Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia develop in order to discover novel therapeutic treatments that could decrease or prevent symptoms

After announcing positive initial results for its Phase 0 clinical trial of sonodynamic therapy, the Ivy Brain Tumor Center expanded the trial to more patients, with a variety of new device modifications. The Ivy Center is also leading the world’s first clinical trial of sonodynamic therapy in children, treating the brainstem tumor diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an extremely aggressive pediatric tumor with almost no therapeutic options.

Donations made to Barrow Neurological Foundation in support of unrestricted funding help the Institute recruit and retain world-class scientists by providing start-up packages for their laboratories. Start-up packages are indispensable to the advancement of neuroscience research. They enable scientists to conduct high-risk, high-reward studies that otherwise would not be funded by federal agencies. These studies test novel concepts that have the potential to lead to breakthrough treatments and cures for the most debilitating neurological diseases.

Most start-up packages that the Foundation awards are multiplied many times over in terms of the external funding they generate. In fiscal year 2022, the Institute leveraged $5.8 million in unrestricted funding from the Foundation to bring in approximately $14 million in federal research grant support.

The Role of Philanthropy in Neuroscience Education 

With support from philanthropy, Barrow Neurological Institute has been able to establish itself as a leader in educating future generations of neuroscience specialists—from training top residents and fellows to inspiring high school and undergraduate students.

In fiscal year 2022, Barrow had a combined total of 32 neurosurgery residents and fellows, a combined total of 37 neurology residents and fellows, and a combined total of 44 high school and undergraduate summer interns. Barrow Neurological Foundation provides support for fellows in several clinic areas, including behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry, epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular diseases, migraine and headache, traumatic brain injury and sports neurology, vascular neurology, and more. 

Philanthropic funding also allows Barrow to introduce brilliant young minds to career opportunities in neuroscience through its High School Research Program and the Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Program. Both of these summer programs go well beyond lab internships, familiarizing students with different aspects of the neuroscience field, from research and clinical care to marketing and neuroscience publications. Students are paired with mentors in each department who are deeply engaged in the process and express the importance of their specialty to the overall healthcare system. The programs also include special opportunities such as Tuesday seminars, Neuroscience Technology Boot Camps, and end-of-program symposiums, during which students present the research they worked on either orally or as a poster. 
Through a transformational endowment from the Franke family, Barrow established the Franke Global Neuroscience Education Center, which serves as a platform for building clinical education programs in developing countries. Key initiatives include international clinical observerships, international spine and neurosurgery research fellowships, an international endovascular clinical fellowship, and international outreach mission experiences. In fiscal year 2022, Barrow led an acclaimed course on neurosurgical anatomy in Peru, which reached 120 people from seven Latin American countries. Barrow also welcomed its first two students supported through the Franke Global Undergraduate Internship Program. The two students, who were from Brazil and Mexico, had the opportunity to participate in neuroscience research under the mentorship of a Barrow scientist for 12 weeks.

How to Support Healthcare Philanthropy at Barrow

Philanthropy, derived from the Greek word philanthrōpia, means “love of humanity.” Philanthropy is critical to Barrow Neurological Foundation achieving its mission of raising awareness and funds for patient care, medical education, and research offered at Barrow Neurological Institute. Every gift, large or small, is welcomed and makes a difference.

With Your Support, Barrow Is Transforming Neuroscience

Barrow Neurological Foundation serves as the catalyst for our donors’ passion for transforming neuroscience. We ensure that their healthcare philanthropy continues to further the Institute’s mission to save human lives through innovative treatment, groundbreaking research, and education for the next generation of the world’s leading neuroscience specialists.

Anything is possible when inspired generosity is paired with mission and purpose. Join Barrow Neurological Foundation in transforming the future of neuroscience by donating today.