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  September 29, 2003

Cardiology Program Named For Calhouns

The Health Center's signature program in cardiology will be named the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, in recognition of the Calhouns' many years of support to cardiology research at the Health Center.

"Pat and Jim Calhoun have made a very personal commitment to strengthen cardiology research at the Health Center," said Dr. Peter J. Deckers, executive vice president of the UConn Health Center, during a news conference at the Health Center Sept. 18. "We are deeply grateful to both of these wonderful individuals and are honored to name our cardiology program after them."

Image: Dr. Bruce Liang, Dr. Peter Deckers, and Coach Jim Calhoun

From left, Dr. Bruce Liang, chief of cardiology, Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president of the UConn Health Center, and Jim Calhoun, men's basketball coach, share a joke during a news conference September 18.

Photo by Peter Morenus

A formal naming ceremony for the center will be held in the spring.

Calhoun visited the Health Center last week to help launch Connecticut' s Cholesterol Countdown, a statewide awareness campaign about cholesterol disorders. Calhoun, who speaks candidly about his own experiences as a cardiology patient, was the first person to have his cholesterol screened, and he was happy with the results.

"People tell their children and their families all the time that they love them," Calhoun said. "Having your cholesterol checked and keeping yourself safe and healthy is one way to prove it, and make sure you are around for the people you love." He said he and his wife have both lost loved ones to heart disease.

Explaining why he supports cardiology research, Calhoun said, "This comes from my heart. We have to try make sure no child comes home to find a parent is no longer with them because they died prematurely of heart disease."

He praised the work of those who are searching for new cures and new treatments in cardiovascular disease.

The Calhouns have actively supported cardiology research at the Health Center since 1998. Their support, both through personal gifts and through money raised through the annual Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic golf tournament, is approaching $1 million. The golf tournament, which began in 1999, now raises more than $200,000 every year for an endowed fund, the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Research Endowment Fund.

Money from this endowment supports critical cardiovascular biology research initiatives at the Health Center, many of which, noted Deckers, have received national attention.

Cardiology is now a "signature program" at the Health Center, actively linking research and education with clinical care. Other signature areas are cancer care, musculoskeletal medicine, and public health.

"As one of the Health Center's signature programs, the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center will become the foundation upon which we bring together our strengths in basic research and medical education to enhance both ambulatory and inpatient care at the Health Center - and beyond," Dr. Deckers said.

Dr. Bruce T. Liang, the Ray Neag Distinguished Chair in Vascular Biology and chair of the Health Center's signature program in cardiology, said the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center will be home to all the Health Center's cardiology research initiatives, all cardiology education programs through the UConn School of Medicine, and all patient care at the John Dempsey Hospital.

"It will be an interdisciplinary center," he added, "that incorporates all of these efforts and fosters a spirit of cooperation among physicians, specialists and researchers."