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Turner Farm Foundation gives $1.5 million to create endowed chair

Gift supports director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness

A $1.5 million gift from the Turner Farm Foundation — and a $500,000 matching gift from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s Hagins Family Matching Gift Program — has established an endowed chair at the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. The Turner Farm Foundation Endowed Chair will support the director of the center in perpetuity and advance the center’s mission of improving the health of the local and global community through integrative health and wellness programs and efforts.

“This extraordinary gift means that Cincinnati will always have a center dedicated to integrative medicine,” said Sian Cotton, PhD, director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. “It advances our clinical, research, education and community engagement efforts and demonstrates that we have the support of both the college and the greater community. We are so grateful to Turner Farm for its continued support and collaborations for wellness.”

Cotton, who has served as director of the center since 2013, is the first Turner Farm Foundation Endowed Chair. The UC Board of Trustees approved the name of the chair at its April 28 meeting. 

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Sian Cotton, PhD.

“Turner Farm’s leadership and investment in the Cincinnati community is admirable,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “We are proud that such a leader has recognized the difference-making ability of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and grateful to them for helping us drive toward the next innovations in health care.”

Integrative medicine combines traditional medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies that focus on healthy lifestyle addressing stress, nutrition, movement, sleep and environment to reduce suffering and promote overall wellness.

“Turner Farm’s mission statement speaks to our responsibility to be proper stewards of the land, ourselves and the greater community. Our investment in the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness addresses the second and third pillar of that responsibility,” said Robert Edmiston, executive director of Turner Farm. “The endowed chair strengthens the center’s foundation in the community, giving it a permanency and also provides a greater platform for Sian’s important message.”

Cotton’s work at the center is also being supported by the UC College of Medicine through the Hagins Family Matching Gift Program, an estate gift from UC alumna Frances Hagins, MD (Med ’51), and her husband William Hagins, MD.

“The UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness is a vital part of our community, providing research, education, clinical care, and community engagement,” said Andrew Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and dean of the College of Medicine. “We are proud to be able to augment Turner Farm’s generous gift to endow the chair.”

This extraordinary gift means that Cincinnati will always have a center dedicated to integrative medicine. We are so grateful to Turner Farm for its continued support and collaborations for wellness.

Sian Cotton PhD, director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness.

The center brings together UC faculty and UC Health physicians from diverse disciplines, including neurosurgery, oncology, cardiology and primary care, among others, to help the whole person achieve overall wellness.

“One of the critical components to integrative medicine is its focus on preventative care,” said Richard P. Lofgren, MD, president and CEO of UC Health. “The science-based approaches employed by the center — from medical massage to mindfulness to nutrition and health coaching — has made an immeasurable impact on the lives of those in our immediate community and beyond. At UC Health, we are proud to offer patients and families something that surpasses traditional healthcare providers.”

A growing collaboration with Turner Farm

In 2015, the Turner Farm Foundation donated $250,000 to the center, establishing The Bonnie Mitsui Integrative Health and Wellness Fund to support program development. It pays homage to Bonnie Mitsui, who worked tirelessly to develop Turner Farm into the region’s leading organic farm and education center. In 2013, Mitsui passed away after a long battle with cancer.

“It was the first major gift we received and launched our wellness series at Turner Farm and supported the work of the center in messaging wellness to our community,” Cotton said. “In a sense, the gift served as seed funding to see what we could provide for the community via our annual Symposium, mindfulness and teaching programs, and broader efforts focused on prevention and healthy lifestyles. It cannot be understated how much that support allowed us to be where we are today.”

In addition to supporting the work of center faculty, the gift funded the Wellness at Turner Farm Community Education Series — classes in Turner Farm’s Teaching Kitchen that educate attendees on the importance of fresh, organic, properly prepared foods. A recent event featured a cardiologist from UC Health who spoke about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, specifically how it can reduce stress and inflammation.

“We wagered on Sian and, frankly, it was a good wager,” Edmiston said. “She has succeeded in socializing the concept of integrative health and wellness in the community and is deserving of the chair.”

In fundraising for the center and endowed chair, Turner Farm hosted a black-tie gala in September called, “A Night of Celebration in Honor of Dr. John and Susan Tew.” John is a professor of neurosurgery and vice president of community affairs at UC Health. He and his wife, Susan, are leading advocates for integrative health and wellness approaches. The event also celebrated the opening of Meshewa House, a restored manor house on Turner Farm.

This gift is part of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati. This comprehensive campaign for UC and UC Health will focus on raising money for scholarships and graduate student fellowships; research; the health and well-being of our region; and the signature programs and initiatives that are unique to UC and UC Health.

Featured image: Dr. Cotton with former students Manoj Ambalavanan, Emily Moss and Brenna Novak. Photo/Provided.

NEXT, NOW

With its focus on innovation and impact, Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati is where ambition meets action. At the University of Cincinnati and UC Health, we’re driven by next; thinking bolder and dreaming bigger to create the tomorrow we envision, today. Learn more at nextnow.uc.edu