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06:01 AM

Cedars-Sinai Receives $5 Million to Launch Heart Surgery Fellowship

Gift From the Jack and Gitta Nagel Foundation Will Advance Training, Research and the Future of Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai announced today a $5 million gift from the Jack and Gitta Nagel Foundation to establish the Jack and Gitta Nagel and Family Endowed Cardiac Surgery Fellowship Program to advance clinical training and research endeavors for the next generation of physicians at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

The newly established endowed fellowship seeks to pioneer a new approach to cardiac training that will focus on improving hybrid cardiac procedures, heart and lung transplantations, and heart valve repair with the goals to reshape patient experience, cultivate transformative research and reduce patient dependence on medications and devices.

The prestigious cardiac fellowship will be awarded to qualified general surgeons seeking specialist training in advanced cardiac surgery, many of whom are accomplished researchers. Three of the most highly competitive candidates will be selected as Nagel Program Fellows each year.

''I am privileged to help build on Cedar-Sinai’s remarkable legacy of cardiac care with this generous gift from the Nagel family,” said Joanna Chikwe, MD, the founding chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery and the Irina and George Schaeffer Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Surgery in honor of Alfredo Trento, MD. “The Nagels have dedicated their lives to building new educational pathways that give future generations the tools they need for a better tomorrow. This new endeavor will improve the lives of patients everywhere with life-threatening heart conditions.”

Gitta Nagel and her family are honored to support Cedars-Sinai. “Supporting education is my family’s credo,” said Gitta Nagel. “Establishing this fellowship fulfills this mission precisely by educating the best of the best in cardiac surgery and research to provide the finest care possible for people in need.”

Endowed fellowships at the Smidt Heart Institute foster vital academic and clinical training for the next generation of physicians and scientists standing on the threshold of high-impact careers. Ongoing donor support is vital to these efforts because it enables Cedars-Sinai to expand learning opportunities that will ultimately help chart the future of cardiac medicine.

Gitta and the late Jack Nagel, both Holocaust survivors, helped establish the Orthodox Jewish community of Los Angeles, which is now more than 60,000 people. Their commitment to education was reflected by each receiving honorary doctorate degrees from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Yeshiva University in New York. “Jack and I always felt that as grateful patients of care at Cedars-Sinai, our Orthodox Jewish community should always support our outstanding local hospital,” said Gitta Nagel.

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Cedars-Sinai #1 in cardiology and heart surgery in L.A. and California and #3 in the nation. For more than 10 years, surgeons at the Smidt Heart Institute have performed more adult heart transplants than any other medical center in the U.S.

With an emphasis on collaborative, multidisciplinary patient care and research,
Cedars-Sinai offers 77 fellowship experiences across an array of programs. Currently, 149 fellows work shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the nation's best physician-educators and have full access to top-of-the-line resources and facilities.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Treatment Options for Heart Valve Disease