Berrie grant to help further Englewood Hospital and Medical Center’s commitment to humanistic care
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Berrie grant to help further Englewood Hospital and Medical Center’s commitment to humanistic care

A $1.5 million challenge grant provided by the Russell Berrie Foundation to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center “will be the catalyst for the completion of the community-wide campaign to fund the new emergency care center,” said Douglas A. Duchak, president and CEO of the medical center.

The gift, which requires the institution to raise an equivalent amount, will benefit its $30 million Lifeline to Tomorrow Campaign. With the Berrie Foundation gift, the campaign needs to raise $3.5 million to reach its goal.

Citing the foundation’s continuing commitment to the hospital and its “enduring friendship and inspirational leadership in the area of humanism – a belief system at the very core of the missions of both the foundation and the medical center,” Duchak said Englewood Hospital will raise the required matching funds from a variety of sources, most of which will be from the medical center’s service area.

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Russell and Angelica Berrie, in a photograph taken some years ago.

“This grant marks the beginning of the critical final stage of Lifeline to Tomorrow,” said Todd Brooks, acting executive vice president for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Foundation. “We are very proud that The Kaplen Pavilion has been built completely through the support of the community and with no borrowed funds.”

During the 1990s, the Berrie Foundation awarded the Englewood facility a $5 million challenge grant to build a state-of-the-art outpatient facility modeling the practice of humanistic patient care.

According to Duchak, the medical center not only accepted the challenge and raised more than $5 million, but it initiated an organizational overhaul to embrace the values of such care.

“Humanism is those elements of the healing process that are not really directly related to medicine,” he explained, noting that the medical center believes that “treating people with respect and dignity” is part of the healing process.

“There’s no easy dictionary definition,” he said. “It’s the little things that aren’t always prescribed by doctors or in the ‘cookbooks’ of medicine. It means making patients feel like more than just a number – making them feel like a whole person.”

That commitment, he said, is manifest in the layout of the emergency care center.

“We’ve invested a tremendous amount in a new emergency room with humanism in mind,” said Duchak, noting that the facility includes private rooms and additional staff, including greeters.

“We’ve educated the staff as to how to treat patients,” he said, adding that the rooms have also been designed with family members in mind.

For example, he said, there are separate areas where medical personnel can talk to families, a separate grieving area for those who lose a loved one, and a separate area for rape victims and behavioral health patients.

The late Russ Berrie, who was well-known for his philanthropy to Jewish causes, “cared very much about putting the ‘care’ back in healthcare, in fostering patient-centered relationships, and in ensuring our community’s access to centers of excellence in humanistic medical care,” said Angelica Berrie, president of the foundation’s board and an honorary trustee of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

“Our country’s medical institutions are so financially challenged that it endangers, in every community, the well-being of families who are struggling to survive. We have to do whatever we can to strengthen all our community’s institutions, to contribute our resources as volunteers, donors, doctors, nurses, and caregivers, to rise above our personal interests and to make whatever sacrifices are needed for the common good.”

“The Russell Berrie Foundation has issued a challenge grant to encourage everyone to make a difference right here in our own community,” she said.

“We hope that everyone, when asked to give, will be as generous as possible,” said Brooks. “You can be sure, each donor makes a difference.”

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