$15 million gift from Lawrence Neubauer helps launch center for cardiovascular innovation

Lawrence Neubauer was honored with an award at Columbia’s annual Babies Heart Fund Gala for his support of pediatric cardiology.

At the gala he shared news of his gift to launch the Garrett Isaac Neubauer Center for Cardiovascular Innovation.

Katrina Armstrong and Jordan Orange presented the award.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) announced the launch of a new center for pediatric cardiovascular innovation, made possible through a gift by Lawrence Neubauer. The mission of the new center is to improve outcomes for patients through groundbreaking research and care and to define the next cures for and future practice in congenital heart disease (CHD)-here and across the world.

The center will be named the Garrett Isaac Neubauer Center for Cardiovascular Innovation in memory of Lawrence Neubauer’s son, Garrett, who passed away from CHD in 2001. The $50 million center was launched with a $15 million gift from Lawrence Neubauer, with additional support from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian.

Columbia’s new center seeks to ensure that more children born with heart disease will not only survive to adulthood but also thrive.

“I know I speak for my colleagues-Dr. Christopher Petit, Dr. Emile Bacha, and everyone at Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian-in saying we are extremely grateful to Larry for this gift,” said Jordan S. Orange, MD, PhD, chair and Reuben S. Carpentier Professor of Pediatrics at VP&S and physician in chief of NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “Because of Larry’s generosity, we will be able to make even greater and more rapid progress in transforming care for children born with heart disease.

“The Garrett Isaac Neubauer Center for Cardiovascular Innovation will allow Columbia to expand and improve care for children with heart disease and continue our long history of finding answers to the most complex scientific questions in pediatric cardiology,” said Katrina Armstrong, MD, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences at Columbia University. “Larry’s gift serves as the perfect catalyst to leverage current efforts in basic and translational research at Columbia and to accelerate advances in treating CHD.”

“The Garrett Isaac Neubauer Center for Cardiovascular Innovation will build on a long legacy of providing the highest quality, most compassionate care to children with heart disease and their families,” said Steven J. Corwin, MD, president and chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian. “With Larry’s visionary support, we will continue to advance the treatment for congenital heart disease so our young patients can thrive.”

CHD is present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. Congenital heart defects can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect.

Columbia has some of the foremost faculty expertise in the disciplines that have bearing on congenital heart disease, with world-renowned leaders across pediatric cardiology, pediatric cardiac surgery, and all pediatric subspecialties. The Garrett Isaac Neubauer Center for Cardiovascular Innovation will be led by Orange, Christopher Petit, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, and Emile Bacha, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery.

The new center will leverage the existing resources and strengths of Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian’s pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery programs in addition to accelerating research that will enhance our understanding of CHD and the care of patients and their families.

Specifically, the center will:

Measure outcomes following CHD surgery/interventions to identify the best treatments for specific conditions and establish evidence-based benchmarks for performance.

Conduct research to uncover why CHD develops in some infants as well as how to treat it. The Neubauer Center will harness existing resources at Columbia, including leading programs in genetics and functional genomics, to define the mechanisms underlying CHD; cardiac xenotransplantation to expand the pool of available donor organs; valve development to improve the treatment of pediatric heart valve disease; and 3D printing to guide complex pediatric cardiac surgery while improving outcomes today.

Recruit and train the next generation of experts in CHD and pediatric cardiology.

Lawrence Neubauer shared news of his gift with attendees at Columbia’s annual Babies Heart Fund Gala, where he was honored for his support of pediatric cardiology.

“After we lost Garrett, we wanted to help other families avoid our situation,” Neubauer said. “We know that our work with Columbia will support new research and care that will aid so many other families and patients facing congenital heart disease. His memory is our inspiration.” Garrett would have turned 22 in 2023.

Lawrence Neubauer is a member of Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s board of advisors, chair of the Columbia Children’s Health board, and a longtime supporter of the VP&S pediatrics department.

Photo: Katrina Armstrong, Lawrence Neubauer and Jordan Orange

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