Bernard Osher Foundation Gives $5.5M to UC center

Gift will allow Center for Integrative Health and Wellness to expand its work

Thanks to a $5.5 million gift from Bernard Osher and The Bernard Osher Foundation, the University of Cincinnati Center for Integrative Health and Wellness will be able to expand its work. The gift will provide permanent, endowed funding for the center’s work, which spans programs at UC, UC Health and Greater Cincinnati to advance integrative health education, clinical care and research, and bring hands-on wellness training to the community.

Integrative Health 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.

As part of the gift, the center will be named the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Cincinnati, pending approval from the UC Board of Trustees. It will also join the Osher Collaborative—a premier, international group of seven academic Centers funded by The Bernard Osher Foundation to study, teach, and practice integrative health care. 

We are delighted to have the excellent UC Center join the Osher Collaborative and contribute to its commitment to the promotion of better health and wellness across the nation and beyond.

Mary Bitterman, President of Bernard Osher Foundation

Founded in 1977 to improve quality of life through higher education and the arts, the Bernard Osher Foundation supports post-secondary scholarships, lifelong learning institutes for seasoned adults, and integrative health centers in the U.S. and Sweden. The foundation also provides funding for arts programs in Mr. Osher’s native state of Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area where he and his wife, Barbro Osher, chairman of the Osher Foundation Board, reside.

“The Foundation has been a committed participant in the emerging field of integrative medicine and health for more than two decades,” noted Mary Bitterman, Osher Foundation president. “We are delighted to have the excellent UC Center join the Osher Collaborative and contribute to its commitment to the promotion of better health and wellness across the nation and beyond.”

“We are honored and excited to become part of the esteemed Osher Collaborative, and so very grateful to the Bernard Osher Foundation for their continued investment in the growth and sustainability of integrative health,” said Sian Cotton, PhD, director of UC’s center and Turner Farm Foundation Chair at the UC College of Medicine.

“This transformational gift will allow our center to expand and deepen our educational, clinical, research and community efforts — all focused on delivering integrative and whole-person care that is accessible to all members of our communities.” 

This is the Osher Foundation’s second gift to UC. Since 2009, it has supported the UC Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, allowing it to expand its reach and services — one of the largest lifelong learning institutes in the country, reaching more than 2,000 students annually.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to deepen our partnership with the Bernard Osher Foundation,” UC President Neville Pinto said. “Through their generosity, we can have an even greater impact on promoting holistic health and wellness for our students, our faculty, and our Greater Cincinnati community — a truly important goal in this time.”

We are honored and excited to become part of the esteemed Osher Collaborative, and so very grateful to the Bernard Osher Foundation for their continued investment in the growth and sustainability of integrative health.

Sian Cotton, Director of UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness

Specifically, the Osher gift will endow key leadership positions and programs within the center’s operations and enhance funding for clinical services for under-resourced patients. Currently, center faculty provide integrative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, mind-body and movement-based therapies as well as lifestyle medicine consultations to UC Health patients through the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, the UC Cancer Center and the Women’s Center in West Chester.

“As we advance healing and reduce suffering at UC Health, integrative health techniques and lifestyle medicine approaches allow us to care for the whole person,” said UC Health President & CEO Richard P. Lofgren, MD. “Led by Dr. Cotton and our medical director Dr. Mladen Golubic, this work has already brought support to so many patients across our health system. Now, thanks to the shared vision of the Osher Foundation, we have a wonderful opportunity to serve more people across our community.”

The gift will also accelerate the center’s programming for future health care providers at the UC College of Medicine. These unique educational models, from annual lectures to longitudinal experiences, train medical students on how to incorporate evidence-based integrative therapies into their future practice, as well as how to apply mind-body techniques to their own self-care.

“We are extraordinarily proud of Dr. Cotton and the center faculty and staff for all that they add to the college—particularly in supporting our students to become well-rounded, compassionate and patient-centric providers,” said Andrew T. Filak, Jr, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and the Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean at the UC College of Medicine. “Thank you to the Osher Foundation for recognizing the incredible work that has been accomplished so far, and we’re excited to see what we do next with their collaboration and support.”

About the UC Osher Center for Integrative Health

Since 2013, the center works across UC, the UC College of Medicine and UC Health to advance integrative health education and techniques for. Its 35 affiliated faculty members come from 12 departments at UC and Cincinnati Children’s.

Co-founded by John Tew, Jr., MD, Vice President and Executive Director of Community Affairs of UC Health and College of Medicine, and chaired by Carrie Hayden, the center’s community advisory council of business and community leaders focuses on connecting the center across the city. Current partnerships include the Turner Farm teaching kitchen, mindfulness-based stress reduction at the Freestore FoodBank with Cincinnati COOKS!, as well as local businesses and schools. 

Featured image at top: Sian Cotton, PhD, 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

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