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Groundbreaking Congenital Heart Disease Program to be Named for Longtime Cedars-Sinai Benefactors Vera and Paul Guerin

Transformational Gift Establishes Vera and Paul Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program, Endows Academic Chairs in Pulmonary Medicine and Pediatric Neurosurgery and Supports New Pavilion

Los Angeles - Sept. 19, 2013 - In an effort to lengthen the life span and improve the quality of life for those born with heart defects, longtime Cedars-Sinai supporters Vera and Paul Guerin have donated $10 million to establish the Vera and Paul Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. An additional $10 million donation from the Guerins will endow two academic chairs in pulmonary medicine and pediatric neurosurgery and support the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, Cedars-Sinai’s new outpatient services building, which is home to the Heart Institute and the neurosciences programs.

“This visionary gift from Vera and Paul Guerin assures that Cedars-Sinai will continue to lead the quest and discover new treatments that extend vulnerable babies’ life spans well into healthy adulthood,” said Thomas M. Priselac, Cedars-Sinai president and CEO.      

Vera Guerin is vice chair and chair-elect of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Directors and is a longtime board member and former president of the Women's Guild, an independent group that supports Cedars-Sinai. She has been a liaison between the medical center and its support groups as chair of the Coordinating Council. Paul is a member of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors and has served on its executive committee.

At Cedars-Sinai, the Guerins have backed research that is opening new paths to healing for patients with heart disease, lung disease and cancer. Their previous commitments to Cedars-Sinai include funding the pioneering work in the Division of Cardiology and in the field of lung disease. They also took the lead in the campaign to raise $20 million to create the Women's Guild Lung Institute at Cedars-Sinai.  

Now, the Guerins’ support will further the development of new treatments for the smallest heart disease patients. As recently as a decade ago, children born with structural heart defects, such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome and tetralogy of Fallot, were not expected to survive past late adolescence.  But new technology and nonsurgical procedures have greatly extended life expectancy.

“With extraordinary generosity, Vera and Paul Guerin are carrying on their family tradition of repairing the world and inspiring others through their visionary support of groundbreaking patient care and medical research at Cedars-Sinai,” said Arthur J. Ochoa, senior vice president for Community Relations and Development. “Throughout many years of leadership and giving, Vera and Paul have played a vital role in Cedars-Sinai and demonstrate what true philanthropy is.”

Congenital heart disease expert Evan Zahn, MD, a recognized international authority on minimally invasive techniques to repair structural disorders, and Alistair Phillips, MD, a highly respected pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, will co-direct the Vera and Paul Guerin Congenital Heart Program, which will evaluate and treat patients from birth throughout adulthood. Zahn performed the world’s first nonsurgical tricuspid heart valve replacement via catheter on a 9-year-old boy.  

In addition to playing a major role in changing health outcomes for children born with structural heart defects, the Guerins’ new commitment to Cedars-Sinai also supports pediatric neurosurgery by endowing a chair in pediatric neurosurgery that will go to Moise Danielpour, MD, who will use the chair to further his research in pediatric brain tumors, hydrocephalus and other pediatric brain diseases. With an endowment for pulmonary research, the Guerins also are supporting another academic distinguished chair in pulmonary medicine for Paul Noble, MD, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Medicine and director of the Women’s Guild Lung Institute.  

About the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute
The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is internationally recognized for outstanding heart care built on decades of innovation and leading-edge research. From cardiac imaging and advanced diagnostics to surgical repair of complex heart problems to the training of the heart specialists of tomorrow and research that is deepening medical knowledge and practice, the institute is known around the world for excellence and innovations.