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Hoag Endowment Recognizes Work of Institute's Director

An endowment by Ron & Sandi Simon recognized the work of Dr. Michael Brant-Zawadzki in building a world-class neuroscience institute that serves the entire Southern California region. The endowment chair investiture ceremony at the Hoag Neuroscience Institute on Sept. 24 honored the donors and the physician.

Five years ago, Dr. Brant-Zawadzki became the first executive medical director of Hoag Neuroscience Institute. He told PNN that he started building a center based not around individual “celebrity doctors” but based on a systematic approach to treatment of neurological disorders that can be executed by a team of doctors using the programmatic approach, co-developed with physicians themselves.

Hoag now has eight endowed chairs, which is unique for a non-academic, community hospital, said Dr. Brant-Zawadzki. Two of the chairs are at the Hoag Neuroscience Institute. Dr. William R. Shankle was the recipient of the first chair, which was made possible by an endowment from Judy and Richard Voltmer and was established for the purpose of advancing studies and treatment of memory loss and cognitive disorders.

In an interview with PNN, Dr. Brant-Zawadzki said that building the center has been a challenging process, but his goal has always been to work closely with his team to develop a solid strategy that can be executed by anyone who takes on the leadership position in the future. “I do not compete with anyone; I simply facilitate the leadership of the various segments, like the string section and the horn section, and help promote and to some degree conduct the orchestra,” he said.

Dr. Brant-Zawadzki told PNN he credits the programmatic approach that he has helped to implement for the success of the center. He said each of the institute’s eight programs focuses on a specific area, including stroke, brain tumors, memory and cognitive disorders, neck and back pain, addiction medicine and others, and there is a great emphasis on prevention and an integrated, multidisciplinary team approach. “It is about measuring outcomes, aggregating people, technology and facilities, about a patient-centered approach with measurement of financial and health outcomes, and a strong emphasis on prevention.”

Flynn Andrizzi, president of the Hoag Hospital Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hoag, said the generosity of the local community allowed Hoag to attract top talent and build a hospital that can rival any academic center.

Dr. Robert Braithwaite, president and CEO of Hoag hospital, congratulated Dr. Brant-Zawadzki for being awarded the endowed chair and expressed appreciation to the Simons “for the recognition of the great importance of physician leadership in the current development of the Hoag hospital.”