Connor Gift Expands Integrative Health at UH

Sara and Chris Connor donate $6.5 million to Connor Integrative Health Network

Sara and Chris Connor donated $6.5 million, bringing their total giving to Connor Integrative Health Network at University Hospitals to $8.5 million. The Connors' gifts, emphasizing the increasing importance of evidence-based nonpharmacologic therapies for health and wellness, are among the largest in the nation for integrative health.

"We are exceedingly grateful to Sara and Chris for their longstanding support of University Hospitals and for their generous gift to expand the Connor Integrative Health Network," said Thomas F. Zenty III, CEO of UH. "The Connors recognize the need for approaching health and medicine in a comprehensive and holistic way. We are at a moment of transformation in healthcare and this program is in perfect sync with UH’s overall wellness strategy. We are focused on bringing the highest quality and most comprehensive care to our patients."

Through advocacy, education and research, the Connor Integrative Health Network is a nationally-recognized leader in efforts to transform the provision of and access to additional forms of healthcare. Integrative medicine – combining traditional medicine with evidence-based nonpharmacologic therapies – is the future of healthcare as patients take greater control of their own mental and physical wellness. It goes beyond the disease management model, extending care to overall health and prevention and empowering patients to partner with their healthcare team to take charge of their well-being.

"We are inspired by the commitment of UH to develop this comprehensive program," said Mr. Connor. "We have seen great progress in making integrative health an important part of patients’ journeys at UH, and we hope our new gift continues this advancement."

The Connor Integrative Health Network's model of quality care aligns with UH's mission: To Heal. To Teach. To Discover. The Connors' gift will enable UH to recruit a core team of physician leaders to treat patients, educate physicians throughout UH and beyond about how to effectively incorporate integrative therapies into their patient care plans, and conduct research. To inspire additional donors, a portion of the gift will match future donations.

Currently, Connor Integrative Health Network physicians and therapists offer evidence-based therapies including acupuncture, meditation and mindfulness, massage therapy, music and art therapy, integrative medicine consults, Chinese medicine, recommendations on supplements and nutrition, osteopathic manipulative treatment and yoga to achieve optimal health. With almost 40% of Americans using some form of complementary medicine, UH is leading the movement.

"Integrative medicine continues to rapidly grow in interest for patients seeking to enhance total well-being and improving their overall health," said Francoise Adan, MD, director of the program, who has been the Christopher M. & Sara H. Connor Master Clinician in Integrative Health at University Hospitals and with this gift will hold the newly named Connor Endowed Chair of Integrative Medicine.

"Research shows that patients who incorporate these kinds of therapies into their care have shorter recovery times, less pain and better outcomes overall. This is particularly critical as we face a national opioid epidemic, increased mental health needs and rising costs of care for the management of chronic disease," added Dr. Adan.

"Recognizing its positive impact on patient experiences and outcomes, physicians at UH Seidman Cancer Center, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute and our other institutes and centers are increasingly using integrative therapies with their patients to enhance the effectiveness of traditional medicine," said Daniel I. Simon, MD, President, UH Cleveland Medical Center. "We have also placed an important emphasis on sharing the program's options with our workforce – a healthy staff improves our overall community wellness. This progressive thinking is driving UH to the national forefront of integrative health."

The Connors have longtime connections to UH and to the healthcare field. Mrs. Connor’s background as an occupational therapist coupled with her strong interest in complementary therapies, including Reiki, led to the Connors’ initial support. Mr. Connor, former chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Sherwin-Williams Company, has been a member of UH’s Board of Directors for more than a decade and formerly served as its chair.

"Integrative medicine has been shown to enhance the quality of people’s lives. Our donation to UH is about making the program's services more readily available. We’re confident these methods will play a key role in the overall wellness of people throughout Northeastern Ohio," said Mrs. Connor.

The Connor Integrative Health Network also aims to boost the health and well-being of UH's 27,000 employees and physicians, creating an environment of wellness and ultimately a greater patient experience.

To schedule an appointment or for additional information about Connor Integrative Health Network services, visit our website or call 216-285-4070.


 Sara and Chris Connor

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