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Jewish Journal: The Jack and Gitta Nagel Foundation Donates $5 Million to Cedars-Sinai

The Jewish Journal recently spoke with Joanna Chikwe, MD, founding chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery in the Smidt Heart Institute, about the creation of a heart surgery fellowship at the institute, funded by a $5 million gift from the Jack and Gitta Nagel Foundation.

Most physicians in training take on enormous debt to graduate medical school and complete residency, Chikwe told the Jewish Journal. "This gift opens Cedars-Sinai to the best and brightest talent in cardiac surgery by removing financial barriers to spending additional time in research and training," she said.

The Jack and Gitta Nagel Family Endowed Cardiac Surgery Fellowship Program will fund specialist training in advanced cardiac surgery for three qualified general surgeons each year. The training will focus on lung and heart transplantations, heart valve repair and improving hybrid cardiac procedures.

Gitta Nagel, a longtime philanthropist, gave birth to all four of her children at Cedars-Sinai. She and her late husband, Jack Nagel, both survived the Holocaust and later helped establish their religious community in Los Angeles. "Jack and I always felt that as grateful patients of care at Cedars-Sinai, our Orthodox Jewish community should support our outstanding local hospital," Nagel told the newspaper.

The Smidt Heart Institute is home to the #1 heart transplant program in the U.S. and has been ranked No. 1 in California for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Chikwe told The Jewish Journal that surgeons at the institute have performed more adult heart transplants than any other U.S. medical center for the past 10 years.

Click here to read the complete article from The Jewish Journal.