First Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Professorships Celebrated at Special Investiture Ceremony

UMass Chan Medical School celebrated at a special investiture ceremony on June 22 the $5 million gift from UMass alumni Lowell Donna and Robert Manning, which established Donna M. and Robert J. Manning chairs in neurosciences, orthopaedics, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing sciences and biomedical sciences.

Speaking of the accomplished scholars honored, UMass President Marty Meehan said, “We are so fortunate to have them in medical school, the accomplishments of innovation leaders who have dedicated themselves to educating others.”

President Meehan said the Mannings’ generous gift inspires others to provide “tangible support for transformation on our five campuses, but especially here at the medical school. They send a strong message that the University of Massachusetts is not only worthy of this support, but that this support is essential.

“Working together, our renowned faculty are committed to transforming the future of science, nursing and medicine. The support, investment, and commitment of our benefactors, exemplified by Donna and Robert Manning, enable our faculty to do this and more,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

Joan M. Vitello-Cicciu, PhD, Professor of Nursing and Dean of Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, was invested as the first Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair in Nursing.

“As the nursing profession rapidly evolves to meet the needs of a transformed health care landscape, you are embracing new ways to train advanced practice clinical nurses, leaders, educators and scientists to meet those needs” , said Chancellor Collins.

Dean Vitello-Cicciu described her professional life as a nurse first, a leader second, and an always learner. She has pledged to use the endowment funds to co-create an interprofessional leadership center or institute.

“I envision this center will engage in targeted education and research to promote leaders in healthcare transformation,” Vitello-Cicciu said. “These team-working leaders will identify evidence-based practice, which will result in optimal contribution to patient care.”

Collins highlighted the distinguished career, “from the lab bench to the boardroom to the executive suite” of Mary Ellen Lane, Ph.D.professor of neurobiology and dean of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, who was invested as the first Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair in Biomedical Sciences.

Upon joining UMass Chan in the Department of Neurobiology in 2011, Collins said Dean Lane “has earned a national reputation for curriculum development, implementation, and innovation in the education and development of next generation of biomedical scientists”.

The endowment is “recognition of the excellence of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the importance of our mission to develop scientific leaders,” Lane said. “As UMass Chan continues to grow, diversify, and transform faculty in existing and new research areas, and a new generation of leaders brings a new vision of leadership, we are poised to take full advantage the range of training opportunities created by this new vision. ”

Collins expressed his gratitude for service to the country and to UMass Chan for Michael P. Stauff, MDAssociate Professor of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation and Vice President of Clinical Practice in the Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation, since he was invested as the first Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair of Orthopedics.

Dr. Stauff, who joined the faculty in 2013, was an active duty orthopedic surgeon with the rank of major at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

“You have been entrusted with the lives and limbs of those like you who have chosen to selflessly serve our country,” Collins said. “Your willingness to serve continued as you began a career in academic medicine at UMass Chan, as co-director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Spine Health, and as associate director of our training program in internationally renowned residency in orthopedics and physical rehabilitation.”

Stauff said the endowment funds will help support the staff needed to develop and maintain a multi-institutional database that future medical students, residents and researchers can tap into to answer important clinical questions about the best options for cervical and lumbar spine surgery, based on perioperative factors and imaging characteristics.

For her role as a champion of maternal and child health and an advocate for the advancement of women in leadership in medicine, Tiffany A. Moore Simas, MD, MPHPresident and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Quantitative and Population Health Sciences, was invested as the first Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Moore Simas is also a proud UMass Boston alumnus and first-generation graduate.

Collins pointed to examples of Moore Simas “extending the hand of the medical profession and expanding access to families in need,” including serving as founder and medical director of Lifeline4Moms and developing the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms, now a national model for increasing the capacity of frontline care providers to address perinatal mental health and addictions disorders.

“This endowment will be used to advance holistic women’s health and women’s leadership in academic medicine and as such will advance the health and well-being of our local, national and global community,” said Moore Simas. . “Some say that women’s health, and maternal health in particular, is a marker of the health of our communities. We have work to do.

Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MDprofessor of neurology and director of the Neurotherapy Institute, was hailed by Collins as a “beacon of hope for ALS patients and families around the world”, as he was the first Donna M. and Robert J. Manning Chair in Neuroscience.

Dr. Brown was a key member of the team that, in 1993, identified the first genetic link to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In 2008, he joined UMass Chan to “harness the power of world-class expertise in RNA biology and gene therapy that exists here,” Collins said. At UMass Chan, Brown launched three first-in-human proof-of-concept trials of gene modulation therapy, the promise of which “supports all who wish to better understand and cure not only the inherited form of ALS, but also the sporadic or non-familial form. cases that account for 90 percent of ALS diagnoses.

Brown’s nomination for this honor reflects “the accomplishments of more clinical and laboratory colleagues than I can name today,” Brown said. “For me, one point is really salient: UMass is an exceptional place to develop breakthrough therapies for many types of diseases, especially those of genetic origin.”

Robert Manning said he and his wife made their donation because of their direct experience with the UMass Chan academic medical system.

“As a leader of an organization, I know that the most powerful thing that determines success is the culture of this institution, and I have to say that Michael Collins, my friend, and (Dean) Terry Flotte, and all the teams have created an extraordinarily unique culture here.

Manning continued, “We fundamentally believe that the only thing that matters in life is what you do to help others. Not trophies, titles, money, all other material things. In the end, the only thing that matters is how you impacted others and you do that every day here.

The five endowed chairs were approved by the UMass Board of Trustees, chaired by Robert Manning, in April. Their creation brings the number of endowed chairs at UMass Chan to 62, 20 of which are held by women.

Current articles related to UMass Chan:
Eric Baehrecke, Jeanne Lawrence and Alan Mullen appointed to endowed chairs
Donna and Robert Manning donate $5 million to UMass Chan to create endowed chairs


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