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Knight family donates $25 million to kick off Providence heart center campaign

New services, programs at St. Vincent campus part of $50 million plan


When a health system launches a $50 million fundraising campaign to expand its heart and vascular services, a $25 million donation from the get-go is pretty encouraging.

That's the amount Nike founder Phil Knight and his wife, Peggy, are giving to the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, marking the largest single gift in Providence Health System history.

The gift was announced at a Tuesday morning media event at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

"This is a really exciting, historic day for us," said Dr. Dan Oseran, medical director of the heart institute. "It's clear we are at a transitional time in cardiac care."

The Knight family gift launches the Next Generation campaign, which will focus on advanced treatment innovations and three new facilities at the St. Vincent campus on Northwest Barnes Road. The facilities, which will likely be based in existing campus buildings, include:

• The Center for Cardiovascular Speciality Care — to bring a range of services under one roof at St. Vincent while enhancing heart facilities at Providence Portland Medical Center and Providence Medford Medical Center;

• The Center for Innovation and Research — designed to tap into Providence's extensive clinical trial database that serves five states; and

• The Center for Prevention and Wellness — to focus on primary and secondary prevention strategies by identifying and "aggressively" treating cardiovascular risk factors. Services will include Providence's Play Smart youth heart screening program, customized risk assessments, cardiac rehabilitation and community education.

"One of our ambitions is to create a fairly unique patient experience, with (services) co-located in a single building," Oseran said. "It will be one-stop shopping. We're changing a little bit how we deliver our care by offering bundled care for cardiac surgery patients. We also have unique assets here in our huge (clinical trial) database."

Unlike a matching grant, the donation comes with no provisions or strings attached. Planning and work for the new facilities and programs will begin almost immediately.

"We don't have to raise the $50 million before we get started," noted Lisa Helderop, a spokeswoman for Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Oseran, a 22-year veteran of Providence St. Vincent, has been in contact with the Knights, whom he first met in 2002, for about a year regarding the plans.

"I've kept in touch with them over the years and kept them abreast of what we're doing," he said, calling the Knights "longtime supporters" of Providence. "We've had an opportunity to work with them a couple of times. As they've done in so many areas, they are accelerants to our success.

"They want to continue to help us lead on behalf of the patients we serve," he added.

The Providence system has reached several recent milestones in the realm of heart and vascular care, Oseran noted, including becoming the first West Coast health system to insert a Sapien heart valve for a patient a couple of years ago. Earlier this year a team led by Dr. Scott Brancato implanted the first wireless defibrillator for an Oregon patient. This fall, physicians will implant Oregon's first wireless pacemaker.

While the three centers funded by the donation and ongoing campaign will be based at St. Vincent, the services and research will affect the entire Providence system.

"The work will spread out to our other facilities," Oseran said. "The physical location will be at St. Vincent, but the programs will involve all eight hospitals in the state."

Dave Underriner, chief executive for Providence in Oregon, praised the Knights for seizing an opportunity to make a difference for current and future heart and vascular patients.

“The Knights are longtime supporters of Providence, and they care deeply about the health and wellness of people everywhere,” he said. “We are so grateful for this gift, and we know it will help save lives today and in the future.”



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