A new endowment focused on heart disease research was established at last week’s President’s Gala.
Joe Gorder is chairman, president and CEO of Valero Energy Corp. He and Mrs. Gorder are interested in helping children born with heart defects. Honorary chairs of the President’s Gala were Bill and Margie Klesse. Mr. Klesse is the former chairman, president and CEO of Valero Energy Corp. The proceeds from the gala will go to the Lacie and Joe Gorder President’s Endowment in Heart Disease Research.
At the gala, Dr. Henrich announced that the Gorders “have made a personal pledge that essentially matches all the funds raised tonight, so that the new endowment will be, at its inception, over $1 million.”
The Gorder President’s Endowment will help to find new therapies and cures, shape prevention protocols and ensure access to cutting-edge health care that benefits patients across the life span. UT Health San Antonio’s cadre of adult and pediatric cardiovascular disease physicians are experienced experts in treating the most-complex cases, and are a crucial resource for referrals from San Antonio, South Texas and beyond.
Disease affects young and old alike
Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of adults in Texas, and each year nearly 4,000 Texas children are born with a congenital heart defect.
“While the impact of heart disease is staggering, advances in research are improving the prevention, early detection and treatment of heart disease in adults and helping more infants with congenital heart disease, like Evie, to survive to adulthood,” Dr. Henrich said.
Each year the President’s Gala raises more than $500,000 to support clinical, research and education programs of the university. Past galas have established funds to support programs in multiple areas, including trauma care, cancer care and research, and, in 2016, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Not yet a victory lap
“Our goal tonight is met to fund a new research endowment in heart disease at UT Health San Antonio,” Dr. Henrich said. “You may be aware that in the last decade, progress in research has produced new therapies and this has led, for the first time in the modern era, to a reduction in overall mortality and morbidity from heart disease. But this is not the time to do a victory lap.”
Cardiovascular disease accounted for more than 800,000 deaths last year in the U.S. and is still the leading cause of death in Americans, responsible for 1 in every 3 deaths. More than 90 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease, and 2,200 Americans die every day from the disease. The cost of heart disease approached $350 billion in the U.S. last year. By 2030, the costs of global cardiovascular disease will be over $1 trillion.
The Gala also showcased a video featuring Dr. Jean Bopassa and Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student Ngoni Madungwe. Ngoni was also selected as this year’s Voices speaker for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. His research focuses on using tissue engineering and physiology applications to create better treatments for heart attack patients. The event will take place on October 3.
This article was adapted from a UT Health Newsroom Article written by Will Sansom.